Rodrigo Y Gabriela with C.U.B.A provide an up-tempo end to a cracking day at Wilderness

Wilderness 2012 review

published: Tue 14th Aug 2012

around the festival site (2)

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August 2012
Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH, England MAP
£129 adult weekend camping
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Fri 29th Jun 2012

Arriving at Wilderness in blazing sunshine on Saturday morning, I'm immediately taken aback by the beauty of the site. Surrounded by ancient oak trees, Cornbury Park is a truly wonderful setting for what promises to be a fine weekend.

around the festival site (1)
Leafing through the programme, it becomes apparent that Wilderness is a festival with a difference. While music lovers are superbly catered for with a carefully chosen mixture of the best in established names and up and coming hopefuls, equal importance is given to the other arts, and to the food on offer. In sharp contrast to the dodgy burger vans of many a fest, everything looks delicious and lovingly prepared, and all of a sudden the tins of beans I've brought with me to heat up at the campsite lose their appeal.

Wandering down to the festival to hear some music, I catch Franky And The Jacks at the London Folk Guild Stage. Their bluesy stomps topped off with Django style guitars and dark lyrics have drawn a small but very appreciative crowd. Grabbing a pint of locally brewed ale I head for the bandstand, where Hot Fingers Trio are playing show tunes, blues and even a little classical music.

The Staves
Next up, The Staves are playing on the main stage. Three sisters from Watford singing beautifully sad songs adorned only by an acoustic guitar and some of the best harmonies I've ever heard. It's quiet, understated stuff but it works wonderfully.

Having heard lots of gushing praise dished out in the direction of Nottingham's Jake Bugg, I was keen to have a listen for myself. Armed with a tough charisma and a bunch of songs that already sound like classics, Jake and his band take to the stage and spend the next 40 minutes or so conjuring up a sound that's midway between The Arctic Monkeys and Sun Studio era Johnny Cash. His songs are wonderful, well-crafted things too; from the rockabilly stomp of 'Taste It' to the spare, country tinged 'Love Me The Way You Do'. Finishing a red hot set with a rocking version of 'Lightning Bolt', Jake and Co leave the crowd roaring their approval. Quite right too.

around the festival site (1)
Next on the main stage, local boys Stornoway are given a heroes welcome. They don't really do it for me though, and a few songs into their set I find myself heading off for a wander round Wayne Hemingway's Vintage Festival, which this year finds a temporary home at Wilderness. Amongst its many treasures are an indoor market selling all manner of hipster accessories, The Soul Casino, modelled on the legendary northern venues of the 60's and 70's and playing great music to match. And a fantastic Art area celebrating the work of legendary Punk era, designers like Jamie Reid and Vivienne Westwood and providing the opportunity to create as well as admire.

Back on the main stage, The Temper Trap have pulled a huge crowd, and it's hard not to be seduced by their anthemic sound and the soaring voice and undeniable charisma of their frontman, who bears an uncanny visual resemblance to Little Richard. Vocally though he has more in common with Jeff Buckley, A winning combination judging by the rapturous response they receive from the audience.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela with C.U.B.A
Headlining the main stage are the magnificent Rodrigo Y Gabriela with C.U.B.A, and their virtuoso playing combined with an energy that would put many a 20 something punk band to shame gets the whole field rocking. A brilliant, up-tempo end to a cracking day.
review by: Rob Matheson

photos by: Rob Matheson

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August 2012
Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH, England MAP
£129 adult weekend camping
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Fri 29th Jun 2012


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