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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Wilderness Festival 2011: Sunday Review

I spent most of Sunday listening to fascinating lectures at The Idler Academy and perusing the wonderful hand made treasures in The Secret Market Emporium. By evening time there was fab music from the likes of Guillemots and Laura Marling.

Written by Amelia Gregory

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, 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
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.

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