The Foodist: Wilderness festival brings a host of food traders to Oxfordshire
If you need further confirmation that chefs are the new rock stars, check out Wilderness, says Mike Gibson
I remember it clearly. It was 11 in the morning, the Oxfordshire sun was beating down, heatwaves shimmering just above the turf around Cornbury Park.
To put it lightly, I did not feel good. A night of partying in a massive, magical, neon-drenched forest had left me hazy and a little drained.
But salvation was waiting: I stumbled to a cabin whose awning was emblazoned with the Lavazza logo and ordered a flat white from three guys who looked like they shared my pain. I felt its healing power as I stood in the queue at the side of a big yellow campervan and ordered a grilled cheese. And, a couple of minutes later, I bit into The Cheese Truck's bacon, stilton and pear toastie, and I felt human again.View on Instagram
Wilderness returns again this year with a roster of chefs and food traders the festival is so proud of that, on the line-up, they share pretty much equal billing with the artists. In fact, if you didn't know the names, Angela Hartnett's Cafe Murano could be a washed-out dream pop band; Patty & Bun a male-female folk duo from Arkansas; Bubbledogs a revitalised indie band who never quite followed up the promise of their 2005 debut.
Food is so high up on Wilderness's priority list that if you look at the line-up of chefs and traders, you wonder if there'll be anyone in London left to cook for you in early August. But that's because it's one of those festivals that's not just about the music. Last year, I had a farm-to-table banquet from Skye Gyngell that started with 'cosmic' purple carrots; I had weekend-long access to great coffee; I drank great (and cold) beers and superb cocktails. Before seeing Derrick Carter play The Valley, I lined my stomach with three tacos from Breddos.
Good food and drink is restorative. Summer festival food is now some of the best you'll find anywhere. And when you're walking around Cornbury Park at a low ebb and you find salvation in a sandwich? Well, you'll thank the Lord for that line-up.
Wilderness runs from 3-6 August. For the full line-up and to buy tickets, go to wildernessfestival.com