The arena opened this afternoon at one of Oxfordshire most idyllic festivals, Wilderness in Cornbury Park.
Headliners at the four day festival, which runs until Sunday, are electronic dance music act Underworld, actor and musician Olly Alexander’s chart-topping act Years & Years, and Mercury-nominated dance duo Jungle.
Underworld, led by Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, are famed for songs Born Slippy, Cowgirl and King of Snake, and play an exclusive UK festival slot for this summer’s event.
Electro-pop star Olly Alexander had hits with King and Shine, and is also famed for his acting roles – appearing in the Russell T Davies drama It’s a Sin, The Riot Club, Skins, and as Peter Pan in the West End play Peter and Alice alongside Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench.
Also playing the wooded festival site – part of the historic Wychwood Forest – are Carterton singer-songwriter Willie J Healey, former Moloko star Roisin Murphy, Grammy-award winning record producer and DJ David Morales, South Korean DJ and dance music producer Peggy Gou, and actor, comedian and soul and funk aficionado Craig Charles.
The bill also includes multi-instrumentalist and singer Jordan Rakei, soul trio Gabriels, sax and drums duo Binker and Moses, indie-pop act Azure Ryder, Áine Deane, acoustic singer-songwriter Billie Marten, electronic Afro-funk band Ibibio Sound Machine, Thrill Collins, Elles Bailey, and the House Gospel Choir.
Alongside the line-up of musical stars, the festival will feature feasting, with dinners catered by Skye Gyngell, Adam Handling, Niklas Ekstedt, Robin Gill, Will Devlin and Helen Graham.
A line-up of talks and debates features appearances by comic Russell Kane, Michelle De Swarte – star of Netflix series The Duchess, and Deborah Frances-White of award-winning podcast and live show The Guilty Feminist.
The organisers said: “Curated for a generation who understand meaningful pleasure, enlightening participation and luxurious experiences, Wilderness spans music and the arts, exquisite feasting and dining, insightful talks and debates, a wellbeing sanctuary, outdoor pursuits, a family field and beautiful lakes to while away the hours.
“For those looking to get immersed and put their unique mark on a festival, Wilderness is the perfect weekend escape.”
A highlight of the festival is its late night DJ sets, staged in a secluded, illuminated wooded valley. The rave-style events continue this year with DJs David Morales, Irish-born producer Krystal Klear and underground house veteran Derrick Carter.
The festival spokesman said: “As the sun sets, our forest dancefloor comes to life. Under a starlit canopy, late-night revellers can dance until the early hours.
“Those seeking alternative amusement, meanwhile, can lose themselves among Balkan bands and raucous revellers, ceilidh the night away with Cut A Shine and The Wanton String Band or go all out brass, bass and big beats with Continental Drifts & Global-Local. Before dialling it down with sublime acoustic sounds from the finest folk virtuosos around, courtesy of Woodburner Music.”
They added: “Wilderness is as much about the experiences you stumble across as the stellar line-up of acts you plan to see. It’s home to world-class arts and performance and this year’s line-up focuses on the body and movement and storytelling through physical theatre.”
For more information, go to wildernessfestival.com
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