During the sweltering August weekend, many left the sticky town with their eyes locked on the tipis and champagne tipples promised by the Wilderness Festival.
The four-day affair kicked off smoothly on Thursday night, before an A-lister set rolled in on Friday to make the most of the long weekend.
Banquet meals by top chefs were enjoyed, before some memorable music moments – Sophie Ellis-Bextor covered Madonna’s Like a Prayer, Jungle gave a strong performance and Years & Years Olly Alexander served up looks, hits and steamy choreo.
There were plenty of unexpected appearances too – from disco ball dancers following the festival’s official Audi car to a Saturday morning cricket match which saw upwards of 15 streakers flake across the lawn. And the proceedings rolled into the early hours of each day. Most people went to the huge valley rave stage to dance until 10am. 4am, while a select set less keen on the dust were invited up to the houses on the Cornbury Park Estate for indoor bashes with no time limits.
From sustainable ventures to festival fizz, these were the on-site hotspots…
Bash: Hydration Station is calling! Throughout the weekend, the location for water refills and a pumping DJ was the beach hut Ocean Bottle. Founded in 2018, the brand is on a mission to clean up the ocean, as every bottle sold funds the collection of 1,000 plastic bottles heading to the ocean. Such statistics did well to attract some stars.
The crowd:Jodie Comer turned heads as she strolled up to the booth. With Ocean Bottle in hand, she posed for photos before heading out to party. Also chasing an eco-conscious kick was Poldark actress Eleanor Tomlinson, who enjoyed the festival with new husband Will Owen.
Appearance: Killing Eve actor Comer, fresh off her West End debut in her acclaimed play Prima Facie, went subtle and boho-chic in her loose floral mini dress teamed with black cowboy boots and shades, while Tomlinson paired Levis White. t-shirt with denim jeans and a statement belt. The best look, however, was the Baywatch-style drag queen who conquered the field on platforms and heckled passers-by from the lifeguard’s seat with a megaphone.
The lowdown: They may have been led by celebrities, but the handy water refill station also proved a hit with all attendees. Even better? For each refill during the festival, Ocean Bottle funded the collection of 10 sea-bound bottles. A total of 250,000 were saved from dumping through sales and refills at the weekend, the company reports. We drink to it.
Bash: If you meandered to the back of the blooming Veuve Clicquot tent, you found the door leading to a sun-trapping, VIP champagne garden, where some of Wilderness’ biggest names could be seen lapping up the afternoon rays—orange flutes in hand, of course.
The crowd: Actor James Norton enjoyed the late afternoon with his fiancee Imogen Poots as they took their seats on the sunbeds and picnic tables spread across the fenced grounds. Game of Thrones star Joseph Mawle also indulged, along with DJ Fiona Jane and Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing.
Appearance: Vanessa Kirby wasn’t afraid to get hot as she rocked her black biker girl jacket, with a bralette and shades, while The Witcher actress Anna Shaffer went fluid and free in a spotted dress and black platform sandals.
The lowdown: After a bottle (or two) of champagne, Veuve Clicquot handed out Lakeside Spritz’s to those less keen on another round of the classic soda. The large, ice-filled glasses were a hit, and were quickly polished off by guests who then dispersed for quick changes before rejoining for a banquet meal.