Wilderness 2012 is truly a feast for the senses

Wilderness 2012 review

published: Tue 14th Aug 2012

around the festival site (1)

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

around the festival site (1)
Sunday starts for me with a swim in the lake (What better way could there be to start a day at a festival?) Followed by a bacon bap (locally sourced and delicious, of course) followed by some perfect pop in the sun courtesy of Sheppard. A new Australian band with more sing-along choruses than you can shake a stick at and a frontman with bags of energy, they’re a huge hit. 6 Music favourites To Kill A King, and Field Music both draw big main stage crowds, but I decide to take the opportunity to check out the Idler Academy. Where QI editor John Mitchinson is delivering a witty, illuminating lecture on the life and work of poet, author, wallpaper designer and radical socialist William Morris.

Giant Sand
Having long been a fan of Giant Sand's unique brand of dusty Americana I couldn’t wait to see them live. Taking to the stage with a huge band featuring strings, brass, accordion and pedal steel, Howe Gelb and his cohorts play a stunning set of Mariachi tinged Alt Country, bringing to mind Ennio Morricone's legendary western scores. Beautifully played and sung, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a sun baked afternoon.

Next up are Jason Pierce's Spiritualized, who play a cracking set veering from gospel tinged epics to full throttle garage punk. When the beautiful title track from their '90s classic 'Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space' segues into Elvis Presley's 'Can't help Falling in Love', it’s a really special moment.

Wilco
This being their only UK festival performance of the year (a big scoop for the organisers), Headliners and Americana legends Wilco have drawn a big crowd. Taking to the stage in near darkness, their set starts quietly but soon cranks up a gear with a feedback drenched 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart'. The set draws heavily from their breakthrough album, the experimental 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' with very few nods to their earlier country rock records. Underneath all the space rock wig-outs and feedback though, there's still a bunch of brilliantly written songs which would sound just as good played on acoustic guitar and mandolin. It's a cracking performance and frontman Jeff Tweedy seems visibly moved by the audience reaction. Finishing with a mighty version of 'Shot In The Arm', Wilco leave the stage to massive applause.

Although the main stage music has finished, the festival isn't over yet and I head for the outdoor cinema, where the brilliant Asian Dub Foundation are providing a live soundtrack to the French cult classic 'La Haine'. It's a great film and ADF's music is perfectly judged, from brooding dubby soundscapes to full on jungle beats.

Monster Ceilidh Band
As the film draws to a close I resolve to get some sleep, but there’s a party in full swing at the Folk Guild Stage with the magnificent Monster Ceilidh Band, and although I haven't got the energy to dance I can't resist sticking around for a while to listen to the superb music and to reflect on what has been a fantastic weekend. Family friendly, visually wonderful, and featuring some of the best food you'll ever eat topped off with an inspired line-up of bands, Wilderness is truly a feast for the senses.
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


latest on this festival

Wilderness 2020
festival details
last updated: Tue 11th Feb 2020
Wilderness 2020
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Tue 11th Feb 2020
Wilderness 2019
festival details
last updated: Mon 12th Aug 2019