Michelin Chefs to make festival debuts this August at Wilderness Festival

There will be quite a few making their debuts on this year’s food and drink festival circuit. Skye Gyngell, the Michelin starred chef, Petersham Nurseries café and Sam and Sam Clark with their Moro Restaurant are all appearing at the new and pioneering festival, Wilderness, at the Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, between the 12th and 14th of August.

Wilderness has been curated by the organisers of the MAMA festivals and the Secret Garden Party, and brings together music, food, literature, learning and rejuvenation, and could redefine the festival experiences of 2011. It will be held amongst the forests, lakes and parklands of the beautiful Cornbury Estate and is set to be a truly inspirational experience.

Sam and Sam and Skye will be acting as both culinary maestros and hosts for the two flagship outdoor dining experiences that the festival will include. Sam and Sam have masterminded an evening banquet on the Saturday night, which is inspired by the likes of Toots and the Maytals and Gogal Bordello. Skye and her team are hosting the feast on Sunday afternoon, along with the blissful sounds of Laura Marling.

It will be the first festival appearance for all three chefs, and although the menus won’t be released until mid-May, both teams are now working hard at designing the most sumptuous of spreads.

It’s a rare opportunity to catch some of the cooking from both restaurateurs and we’re absolutely delighted to have them as our inaugural food and cooking headliners this summer.

But the festival’s gastronomical offerings won’t just be long-table dining and fireside feasts.

Over the next few months, we’ll be announcing a whole range of different field-to-fork feats, expedition eateries and culinary encounters all of which will be designed and hosted by some of the country’s most celebrated food impressarios. Bring an empty belly…

Skye says “For me, cooking is not about being the best or most perfect cook, but rather it is about sharing the table with family and friends. I’ve always wanted to cook a magnificent summertime feast and the Wilderness festival is the perfect opportunity to do that. Myself and the Petersham Nurseries Cafe team are going to design every aspect – from the menu and ingredients through to the outdoor setting and decor. See you in August!”

Tim Harvey, Wilderness Festival organiser says: “Wilderness is a festival concept we’ve been planning for nearly six years now – it’s as much a weekend retreat as it is an outdoor arts festival and it is our team’s curatorial approach to creating experiences well beyond just live music shows which has generated so much interest so far.”

“As a nation, cooking fascinates us more than ever before. It’s this renaissance and new found appreciation of it’s artisanship that hasn’t really been explored in a festival environment. We’re delighted to announce Skye Gyngell and Sam & Sam Clark as this year’s headliners – their own restaurants and approach to food is emblematic of what Wilderness is all about.

“Sam and Sam have earned huge plaudits from the industry. Moro was honoured with the ‘Best Restaurant Award’ in 2009 from The Observer Food Monthly Awards. And their fans also include some of the most celebrated chefs from Nigel Slater, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to Nigella Lawson.

“Wilderness festival-goers will have an extraordinary chance to enjoy two of the finest dining experiences around.”

Fireside banquets, performances and theatrical spectaculars set among the stunning lakes and meadows of the ancient Wychwood Forest will set the standard for the new festival. Cornbury has always been a destination for exemplary shows and, for many years in the late 18th century, it hosted the Wychwood Fair, one of the largest and oldest gatherings in England. The fair grew to become a vast pleasure park of entertainments and frivolity but it was the introduction of artisan foods and fine beverages, which established it as an almost national success. Over two centuries later, the Wilderness festival launches on the very same site and with the same emphasis on traditional culinary experiences with communal banqueting at the very heart of the weekend experience.

One of the world’s best-known and best-loved theatres, The Old Vic, is also set to make its first appearance on the festival scene at Wilderness. The people behind The Old Vic will be taking their spin-off The Old Vic Tunnels to the festival to curate a full program of theatre, performance and arts activities. The Tax Deductable Theatre Company will also put on a range of shows for people to enjoy.

The finest names in musicianship will also perform, including Antony and the Johnsons, Gogol Bordello, Laura Marling, Toots & The Maytals, Guillemots and Hayseed Dixie, among many others.

There will also be an unprecedented line-up of talks and debates – from intellectual argument to educational workshops, humorous discourse to poetic declamation. Wilderness will come alive with stimulating debate, innovative visions and shared thinking from such organisations as Intelligence Squared the world’s leading forum for live debate, The Idler, British magazine, devoted to the ethos of ‘idling’ and Headspace the ‘meditation project’ that aims to demystify the concept of meditation and make it accessible to the mainstream.

Restorative healing treatments and yoga workshops will also be on offer in the Well Being area. Festival-goers can enjoy adventurous escapades on the enchanting 800-acre estate, including nature walks and talks from the Bristol Institute of Natural History, lake swimming, boating, fly-fishing, hot tubs, saunas and a magical children’s area with babysitting from Boutique Babysitting.

Early bird adult weekend camping tickets cost £99.50, Early Bird family ticket (two adults, two children) £250.00, 10 years and younger go free.

Tickets can be purchased from the following outlets or visit www.wildernessfestival.com for further information.



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