Wilderness, one of Oxfordshire’s most colourful festivals, will get under way at Cornbury Park on Thursday, following an enforced break last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival, held among the woods and lawns of the Cornbury Estate near Charlbury, will be headlined by DJ Jamie XX, rapper Loyle Carner and live drum & bass act Rudimental.

Oxford Mail:

The line-up announcement for the event, which runs until Sunday, followed a decision by other popular festivals to again postpone their events due to the ongoing pandemic.

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Also booked to play the festival are reggae selector David Rodigan and his Outlook Orchestra, Irish dance music stars Bicep, London disco-funk duo Franc Moody, multi-instrumentalist Georgia, jazz talent  Alfa Mist, Irish rockers Picture This, Americana artist Katy J Pearson, Holly Humberstone CMAT,Weird Milk and singer-songwriters Charlie Cunningham, Jodie Nicholson, Joseph Reuben and Lyra.

Oxford Mail:

Famed for its DJ sets, this year’s parties will be presided over by funk and soul lover Craig Charles, Grammy-nominated house and techno DJ Nic Fanciulli, and Portuguese tropical jazz and soul DJ Mafalda.

Dressing up is also a big part of the celebrations.

Oxford Mail:

There will also be sets by Worldwide FM DJ Luke Unabomber, London’s Dom Chung, The Blessed Madonna, Jayda G and Eats Everything who will perform in the festival’s Hidden Valley – an elaborately illuminated ravine surrounded by trees and lit with lasers.

The festival’s programme of spoken word performances will continue, including a repeat of its popular Letters Live shows, which have previously hosted A-list stars Olivia Coleman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley and Russell Brand. As previously, the line-up is kept a tightly kept secret.

Also returning will be its gastronomic line-up, with long table banquets, which this year go fully vegetarian and vegan with feasts cooked by Helen Graham, Robin Gill, Lee Westcott and wild food restaurant Native.

Oxford Mail:

A smaller Chef’s Table restaurant will cater for just 26 diners at a time in a venue overlooking one of Cornbury’s lakes. Chefs include Michelin-starred Mei Mei founder and ex-Masterchef Elizabeth Haigh, Osip founder Merlin Labron-Johnson, and Brad Carter of Michelin-starred Carter’s of Moseley.

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There will also be shows by the 47-piece Wilderness Orchestra, cabaret, comedy, an unusual Miss Wilderness event and talks and debates – with a line-up including His Dark Materials creator Philip Pullman in conversation with BBC producer John Lloyd.

Oxford Mail:

A festival spokesman said earlier: “This is a return to a celebration of classic Wilderness traditions. A nod to old school origins. The programme is inspired by the landscape and the natural world and as such is a true celebration of the wild, of adventure and of the wilderness itself.

“Dive in the lakes, roll in the grass, ride a bike or a horse through the forests, take a wild medicine walk or foraging class and build a den.

"Camp under the stars and then dance like there’s no tomorrow to some of the mightiest sounds on the planet. After all, that is what Wilderness is all about.”

The festival runs from Thursday to Sunday with some final release tickets still on sale according to the website wildernessfestival.com.