Amelia’s Magazine | Wilderness Festival 2011: Sunday Review

Laura Marling by Jenny Lloyd
Laura Marling by Jenny Lloyd.

Sunday at Wilderness Festival came somewhat early due to my ill informed decision to put up the tent in the family camping area, health a major no no when you’ve been up late and the little buggers are raring to go at 7am. If only there had been a decent map, or someone to guide us towards the quiet area when we arrived (we did ask, and were told to camp wherever we fancied).

Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

The next issue was locating something decent to eat for breakfast, which proved predictably difficult given the small number of food vendors on site. For a festival that boasted of its culinary stripes I found this aspect sadly lacking, and in many ways inexcusable. Wilderness must have known how many tickets were sold, and how many could be fed at the giant daily banquets (which sold out long before we had a chance to book). Why then were there not enough food stalls to feed everyone else? At all times there were huge queues, and if I’d had small children to feed I would have been frankly fuming. As it was we tried to grab our meals at downtimes when the queues were not so long.

Tom Hodgkinson by Barb Royal.

Then it was time to head straight back to The Idler Academy to take advantage of their eclectic daily line up. Brave Old World saw a conversation between Idler founder Tom Hodgkinson and his friend Matthew de Abaitua, who has just written a book about The Art of Camping.

Wilderness Festival 2011 review tom hodgkinson photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review Matthew de Abaitua photo by Amelia Gregory
Art-of-camping Cover
Particularly entertaining was their mutual disdain for Glamping, and their po-faced conclusion that they could earn more as purveyors of festival yurts than writers.

Wilderness Festival 2011 review theo simon photo by Amelia Gregory
Theo Simon of Seize the Day gave a passionate speech in praise of the Luddites, who stood up for their rights 200 years ago this year. Being a talented musician he easily glided between talking and live performance of traditional folk songs used to promote their ideologies.

zocalo 2011 Poster
David Bramwell spoke amusingly of his year long trip in search of Utopia at a string of intentional communities across the world, including Findhorn, Damanhur, Esalen and Osho Leela. Despite his sometimes cynical commentary it was obvious that he had made many good friends along the way before returning to his home in Brighton where he decided to play his part in creating an urban Utopia – setting up the Zocalo, whereby local residents get their chairs out on the streets and make new friends in the community. He hopes the idea will spread so why not check out his website for more information (also check out the poster above).

Wilderness Festival 2011 review beyond the valley photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review rosita bonita photo by Amelia Gregory
The pink tented Secret Market Emporium area stocked a whole host of small maker designers, including Beyond the Valley (who designed the Wilderness website and programme) and I totally fell for Rosita Bonita‘s printed leather necklaces. Love.

Wilderness Festival 2011 review playsuit parlour photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review vagabond van photo by Amelia Gregory
The Playsuit Parlour stocked wonderful wrap dresses made from upcycled ethnic fabrics, and from a beautiful renovated silver airstream the Vagabond Van sold environmentally conscious clothes and jewellery.

Wilderness Festival 2011 review Daniel Johnston photo by Amelia Gregory
I only caught the end of Daniel Johnston, who looked like he had just climbed out of bed, trackie bottoms tucked into bunched up white socks.

Wilderness Festival 2011 review Guillemots photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review Guillemots photo by Amelia Gregory
The Guillemots at Wilderness Festival
The Guillemots at Wilderness Festival by Dan Lester.

Guillemots followed up with an energetic set, which made me realise just how many of their songs I am familiar with. And I was quite transfixed by the bassist’s shorts playsuit.

Wilderness Festival 2011 review Laura Marling photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review Laura Marling photo by Amelia Gregory
Our last act of the day was Laura Marling, who gave a staggering solo acoustic set, a testament to her incredible talent, ‘I’m conscious of not being a party festival band so I’m going to play… a slow depressing song,’ she said before holding the large crowd in near silence for an hour – something of a feat.

YouTube Preview ImageLaura Marling live at Wilderness Festival

We left Wilderness Festival as the remaining festival goers geared up for one last night of late summer abandonment. I had a wonderful time but there were quite a few aspects of the festival that need tweaking: when people pay a lot of money to go to a festival there is no excuse for shirking on certain basic provisions. Next year there simply have to be more food stalls with more choice of food and there need to be more loos tended to more frequently, especially at hotspots, eg. near the main stage. Given the popularity of the discussions bigger tents for these would be a wise idea. And it turns out that even at a festival that trumpets its other attractions the music remains extremely important: it definitely felt as if there should have been more choice, and a second main stage.

Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory
Wilderness Festival 2011 review photo by Amelia Gregory

Wilderness Festival retained much of the eccentric magic that makes Secret Garden Party so special but it didn’t quite deliver on the added extras: something to work on for 2012.

Don’t forget to check in with my review of Saturday at Wilderness Festival too.

Categories ,2011, ,acoustic, ,Barb Royal, ,Brave Old World, ,Cornbury Park, ,Damanhur, ,Dan Lester, ,Daniel Johnston, ,Esalen, ,Findhorn, ,Glamping, ,guillemots, ,Intentional Communities, ,Jenny Lloyd, ,Laura Marling, ,Luddites, ,Matthew de Abaitua, ,Osho Leela, ,review, ,Secret Garden Party, ,Secret Market Emporium, ,Seize the Day, ,The Art of Camping, ,The Idler Academy, ,Theo Simon, ,Tom Hodgkinson, ,utopia, ,Wilderness Festival

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Amelia’s Magazine | Wood Festival 2011: a special preview interview with founder Robin Bennett

Wood Festival  Relax

Wood Festival is mere weeks away, sale so what better opportunity to catch up with one of the founders? I asked Robin what inspired him to create this fabulous boutique festival, check and why being sustainable is so very important to him.

Wood Festival tent

What initially inspired you to start Wood Festival and what were your goals in putting it together?
I have a life-long interest in environmental issues, and the relationship of these to festivals was brought home when freak floods caused the postponement of Truck Festival in July 2007, flooding the village of Steventon and my parents’ house too. While these floods may or may not be to do with global warming, it did make us think. We also thought that if we ran some more events we’d be less susceptible to such ‘acts of God’, and for our first new event, Wood, we thought it would be good to make it an example, even the greenest event in the country (though there are some other very fine contenders for that crown).

Woodfest Portable+Solar+Generators

It has been awarded Gold standard by A Greener Festival and Industry Green 2*, and we’re shortlisted for the Music Week Green Business award, so we are getting there. I also had a newborn son and wanted to create an event that was suitable for small children and families, which certainly has become the case, as children nearly outnumber adults at Wood! Our new company which has run the events since 2007, Truck Enterprises, has a mission: “to build community through music and the arts”, and that’s what we try to do.

YouTube Preview Image
2007: Year of the Flood.

How do you manage to run so many events, and your own shop?
I’m not sure if manage is the word, it’s more like juggling hot potatoes, even on-fire potatoes… the idea is they form part of a greater whole, and make out lives more balanced. They certainly make a lot of work! we have some quite efficient methods and systems, but then we try to work individually with the community around each event, which means there are no short cuts. For example, Wood is held at a community living experiment/eco-village called Braziers Park. The shop – Truck Store – is run day-to-day by our friends from Rapture, an independent record store in Witney, a Cotswold market town. My brother works in there to keep things family. There are many Bennetts involved in the Truck Enterprises team… maybe that explains it!

A documentary about Wood Festival made in 2009.

Can you tell us more about the Truck shop – what is special about it and what can people find there? if people don’t live in Oxford where can they tap into your offerings?
Truck Store is a shop, and also a hub for the Oxford music community – it has great big windows, tables and chairs for those who just want to read a magazine, and a stage for live music events such as Record Store Day. It sells loads of vinyl, the best new CD releases, comics, DVDs, festival tickets, and even cuddly Truck monsters. It’s also an all-year base for all things Truck and a chance to say hello. You can always find interesting, helpful and unusual music advice from the staff that is more personalised than you might get on the internet. It’s close to the Oxford Tube (St Clements) stop so no excuse not to visit from London. It has a facebook page and twitter but not yet a website. The events have websites – and

Wood festival Street

What was your highlight of Wood last year?
Seeing the Make Your Own DIY Wormeries workshop sell out – if that’s the term. Who knew so many people wanted to make their own wormery? In fact, the children’s Sunday morning fancy dress parade is always a highlight and taps into some strange pagan instinct…

Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou playing The Allotment Song at Wood Festival 2009 in a pedal-powered tent from Magnificent Revolution.

Why is sustainability so important to you? is it something you’ve grown up with, or that you have found over the years?
I was aware of the issue from the age of 5 or 6… picketed Macdonald’s at age 10, etc, so it goes back a way. I was lucky as a child to be able to roam freely in the woods and see farming conditions first hand, an opportunity many children now don’t have. I became aware of the importance of education on the subject after being a trustee of a charity called Siren which worked on conservation education, hence there is a great emphasis on that at Wood. Really, sustainability is important for all of us – it’s hard to actually be opposed to it! Having child(ren) certainly reminds you that the world must be left in as good a state as it can be. As a dominant species, it’s our responsibility.

Wood Festival child

What are your current hot tips for the festival season?
Bell tents, at least, I’d like one. Dreaming Spires, my band, will be at some festivals. We will try to be hot. Gaggle are appearing at Truck and sound quite novel, a choir of indie opera singers. Mama Rosin, at Wood, are a Swiss Cajun band. What is that? Come find out.

Cat Martino dancing to Dreaming Spires in Truck America
Cat Martino dancing to Dreaming Spires in Truck America.

Just Can’t Keep This Feeling In by Dreaming Spires.

Why should people come to Wood this year?
It’s a special experience – where else can you make your own musical instrument from vegetables, or go foraging in the woods for food? *NB, we have normal food too.

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get to Wood. Here’s my full listing here.

Categories ,2011, ,A Greener Festival, ,Award, ,Brazier’s Park, ,Cat Martino, ,charity, ,Dreaming Spires, ,gaggle, ,Green Business, ,Just Can’t Keep This Feeling In, ,Macdonald’s, ,Magnificent Revolution, ,Mama Rosin, ,Music Week, ,MusicWeek, ,Rapture, ,Record Store Day, ,Robin Bennett, ,Siren, ,Steventon, ,sustainable, ,Swiss Cajun, ,The Allotment Song, ,Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou, ,Truck America, ,Truck Enterprises, ,Truck Festival, ,Truck Store, ,Vinyl, ,Witney, ,Wood Festival, ,Wormeries

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