Raymond Blanc at Wilderness 2016

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The effervescent and ethereal Wilderness Festival returns to Cornbury Park this summer for a sixth season. Bringing with it an inimitable cocktail of eclectic musical talent, sumptuous communal dining, theatrical performances, thought-provoking debate, the tranquility of the Lakeside Spa and so much more, Wilderness Festival 2016 boasts a programme that continues in their tradition of pushing the boundaries of what you imagined possible at festivals, cementing their reputation as pioneers.

Wilderness Festival’s diverse and eclectic music lineup continues to impress, with legendary musician, singer and songwriter Robert Plant taking to the stage. An awesome talent whose career has spanned more than 40 years, former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant brings The Sensational Space Shifters to Cornbury Park on the only UK stop of his 2016 tour. Robert says: “In recent times The Space Shifters and I have found a natural home for our music in beautiful places that ofter carry their own unique resonance…I know the Wilderness Festival is one of those places and I’m really looking forward to summoning our madness there… “

American rock bank The Flaming Lips need no introduction, their music celebrating a lush, intricate and psychedelic sound that is unmistakably their own. The Flaming Lips, who’ll perform seminal album The Soft Bulletin only at Wilderness, are widely considered one of the most important bands to see play live, their stage shows hailed as some of the most enthralling in history.

Progressive, electronic folk band Crystal Fighters return to Wilderness for the second time, bringing their raucous, uplifting show to inspire and incite a Basque-inspired party. Sebastian from the band comments “Wilderness is the quintessential English countryside music festival, done properly.  Amazing bands, art, food, drink, comedy and so much more.  Crystal Fighters played there in its inaugural year, and you could just tell it was the beginning of something so magical. I have been checking out the poster every year since and the each time the line-up is unquestionably brilliant. Viva Wilderness!“

Drum’n’bass royalty Goldie heads to Cornbury alongside Heritage Orchestra, performing the seminal album Timeless in a stage show that has already enraptured the lucky few who’ve seen it. A full orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley, perform the work from one of electronic music’s pioneering forefathers – expect goosebumps.

Other musical delights include the arresting soulful talent that is Lianne La Havas, a critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated artist whose star will surely shine at Wilderness. Eclectic jazz-house musician Parov Stelar, known as a pioneer of the electro swing sound, also joins. Also heading to Cornbury, are sonic innovators Glass Animals, singer-songwriter Matt Corby, BBC Sound of 2015 shortlisted producer, singer and songwriter Shura, and Grammy-winning dance music producer Tourist, plus emerging raw talents Georgia, Rosie Lowe and Elias.

In The Late Night Valley - a place to discover, where magical late-night parties are never forgotten - Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnstone bring back A Love From Outer Space, their groundbreaking club night whose manifesto was to never knowingly exceed 122bpm.

Legendary Chicago house pioneer Derrick Carter plays a disco set. One of the foremost proponents of the house genre, his name is synonymous with the underground electronic scene.

Also in the Valley, classically trained musician, renowned DJ and producer, and multi-faceted talent of many faces, Tom Middleton will be in attendance, returning after a triumphant set in 2015. Main Stage talent Goldie brings a set that tours his musical influences. Numbers co-founder and talented selector Jackmaster, whose sets range from disco to house to techno and back again. Charismatic DJ duo PBR Streetgang round off the lineup, promising jackin’ beats throughout the night.

And, as always, this is just the tip of a Wilderness Festival iceberg, with more music names soon to be announced.

Wilderness Festival offers a musical journey seldom found elsewhere. But it is the food that is really out of this world.  This year, the long-table banquets are hosted by three incredible chefs, as Virgilio Martinez, Raymond Blanc and Skye Gyngell head to Cornbury Park.

One of the world’s most respected chefs, Raymond Blanc OBE returns to Wilderness following a victorious 2015. Owner and chef at double Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, he is entirely self-taught, and a master of the culinary arts. Of Wilderness.

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Raymond Blanc says: “Last year I presented two bustling banquets at Wilderness. We had over 800 lively guests, with smiles on their faces and costumes at the ready. What a fabulous experience and an awesome way to party! It was a first for me, and I can't wait to come back. Such a fantastic way to bring together music lovers who celebrate food. For me, Wilderness is where you can spend time with family and friends, with so much to see, hear and taste. A brilliant way to spend a weekend in Oxfordshire.”

One of the UK’s most revered female chefs Skye Gyngell joins us on Friday to host two banquets. From her background as food editor for Vogue, Skye went on to win a Michelin star at Petersham Nurseries, write several acclaimed books and has recently launched the stunning Spring at Somerset House. She continues to champion exceptional British produce and we look forward to working with Fern Verrow, the farm that grow produce exclusively for Spring.

Peruvian chef and restaurateur Virgilio Martinez will host his first long-table banquets this summer. Co-owner of Michelin-starred LIMA Fitzrovia and LIMA Floral in London, Virgilio’s Central, in his home town of Lima, is ranked as the fourth best restaurant in the world. An inspired addition to the Wilderness culinary lineup, he is a passionate and creative chef whose fresh and authentic skew on Peruvian classics has made him a household name.

A quartet of first appearances at the Chef’s Table this year, where one can experience the ultimate in bespoke fine dining: Copenhagen’s finest Christian Puglisi – of Michelin-starred Relae and the more rustic Manfred’s – brings his innovative and visionary cooking style; Robin Gill brings a firebrand philosophy for produce and seasonality to the Table, having won a string of accolades for The Dairy and The Manor in recent years; fast-rising young chef Tomos Parry has won awards for his unique take on wood-grilled food at the small but beautifully formed Kitty Fisher’s, and now heads to Wilderness; and Lee Westcott of Typing Room, known for his imaginative and intricate dishes, makes four.

As in 2015, the Feasts in the field restaurants at Wilderness Festival 2016 are presented once again by HIX, Moro, and Petersham Nurseries, while a brand new food project comes from the ever in demand Patty & Bun, who will be showcasing their BBQ skills from their bespoke smokehouse created for the festival. Tom Adams from Pitt Cue Co joins the Patty & Pit team on Sunday to present some nose to fail Feasts, not to be missed!

Already, a thriving arts community, new for 2016, Wilderness introduces two new focused arts venues for 2016. Introducing The Atrium, supported by Time Out, an assembly of sensational music and dance from the UK and around the world, which will combine high arts with participation. Jazz impresarios Ronnie Scott’s host an evening, The now infamous Wilderness Orchestra perform the songs of David Bowie, dance institutions Rambert and The Place each present programmes of exciting work and pianist James Rhodes performs. There’s also a chance to be a star for a song and join in with the Hip Hop Karaoke and Karaorkestra. 

Also new this year is 'The Wilderness Playhouse' - showcasing the finest theatre, with a focus on brand new writing and hosting a celebration of new work, devised performance, comedy and cabaret, this dedicated theatre venue will be another Wilderness destination will be bursting at the seams with talent. See the exciting 'Superbolt Theatre’s' Edinburgh Fringe Smash Hit ‘Dinosaur Park (The Jurassic Parody)’ or the premier of new work from 'C-12 Dance Theatre', 'Pop Up Opera’s' revival of a classic, mesmerising Performance Art from 'Artful Badger’s Company of Animals', or workshop your script with the exceptional 'Old Vic New Voices'. As well as an array of evening comedy & cabaret entertainment from the likes of comic duo, Robin & Partridge, and stand-up comedians such as ex-police sergeant Alfie Moore (Radio 4, ITV, BBC3…) emerging comic talent Fred Ferenczi, “Be a Great Stand-Up” writer, Logan Murray (performing as Ronnie Rigsby), and New Comedian of the Year runner up; Athena Kugblenu, and much, much more still to be revealed… 

And as always, surprises fill the forests, with Outdoor Theatre, set deep in the woods where those who search can find Rogue Theatre’s ‘Wild Wychwood Ball’ and Oxford Shakespeare Company, bringing the bard to life under the trees.

With eight dedicated venues, Wilderness is the “most cerebral festival” The New Scientist has ever been to. Catch Charlotte Church in discussion with Zoe Williams, Martin Rees astronomer to the Queen, see Sunday Papers Live, and look out for podcasts from Little, Atoms, Philosophy Bites and Level Up Human.

Arguably the highlight of Wilderness Festival, a tradition held in the highest regard, and the pinnacle of the weekend’s festivities is the Saturday Night Spectacle. Last year’s Spectacle was a breathtaking extravaganza choreographed and conceptualised by internationally renowned theatrical pioneers La Fura dels Baus, the Spanish collective who performed at the Beijing Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony, in collaboration with the Wilderness Orchestra. A giant glowing puppet strode through a spellbound main stage crowd, a singer nestled in its chest, as it conducted the ‘Human Net’ – 52 acrobats, suspended from a 40m crane in the night sky.

This year’s Saturday Night Spectacle will be announced later, but expect something never before witnessed at a festival.

Wilderness Festival, a place itself that promotes escapism, life fulfillment and succumbing to life’s little pleasures , is a haven for wellbeing and back-to-nature simplicity. The beautiful Lakeside Spa provides tranquil respite, the ultimate place to relax or indulge. Meditate, partake in some yoga with friends old and new, or attend a Mindfulness session in the stunning surroundings of the Oxfordshire countryside. Jump straight in to the crystal clear swimming lakes, take a dip in one of the wood-fire hot tubs, or enjoy a sauna.

With so much more to offer, Wilderness Festival is the most indescribable and incredible experience, offering numerous hidden treasures, delights and special events for all the family. Get your tickets now.