Wilderness /ˈwɪldənɪs/ – an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
Wilderness Festival is an award winning music festival held on the grounds of Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire. Although to describe the weekend of activity, education, fun & frolicking as solely a ‘music’ festival is to do it an injustice.
I can’t think of a better or more appropriate gathering of people for Canada Goose to showcase and discuss their line of outerwear and brand alignments with. Including presentations from adventurer Ed Stafford, BAFTA award winning wildlife camerawomen and producer-director Sophie Darlington, and Director of Conservation Outreach and Staff Scientist at Polar Bears International, Alysa McCall, the Canada Goose basecamp was far more than just a display of exceptional outerwear.
Back to the festival…. Myself and Tommy Brady arrived late Thursday afternoon to a warm welcome from the team in the Boutique Camping area. Our accommodation for the weekend was to be one of the festival’s Deluxe Yurts. The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out around a warm camp fire getting to know the team and other guests.
Fast forward to Friday morning after one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had for ages we took stroll through the festival to check it out and get our bearings for the weekend ahead. After a couple of laps of the festival grounds we head to the Canada Goose basecamp to meet and listen to Sophie Darlington. Sophie was actually one of the lead videographers on one of my favourite nature documentaries ‘The Hunt’ so this was something I didn’t want to miss. Talking about her experiences shooting for 24 hours straight 30ft up a tree in the jungle, being charged at by a wounded buffalo and shooting within touching distance of a brown bear, you could really sense Sophie’s passion and admiration for the environment and animals she works with. A true inspiration.
Following the presentation from Sophie. I head out into the wilderness within the ‘Wilderness’ to grab a couple of shots with Will Fox, photographer extraordinaire and branding expert wearing the Hybridge Light and Brookvale Jacket.
Friday evening was action packed, watching Matt Corby, pictured below in Canada Goose, absolutely nail it on stage playing some of my favourite tunes, followed by a lovely walk through the woods into a small enclave where Canada Goose hosted a secret picnic for their guests prepared by Petersham Nurseries. That lemon drizzle cake though…. My mouth still waters thinking back to that!
We made it back to the main stage just in time to see one of my musical idols, Robert Plant, hit the stage with his band The Shapeshifters. A couple of beers and a pretty strange yet absolutely awesome version of Whole Lotta Love later we were well into the swing of the night! The rest of the night was pretty much a blur dancing into the early hours of the morning in the Hidden Valley.
Regardless of how comfortable the bed was, I won’t lie, Saturday morning wasn’t the most pleasant of times… Hangover from hell springs to mind! We didn’t have much planned for the day so decided to head down to the lake and swim it off! It was FREEZING, but none the less one of the best hangover cures I think I’ve ever come across. I’m not exactly sure what it was but the bed of the lake was some kind of clay but the swim left my skin feeling silky smooth.
3pm and it was time to hear Ed Stafford chat about all things adventure and survival. I had actually read Ed’s book ‘Walking the Amazon’ a few years ago so it was a real highlight to hear him talk about his experience in the first hand. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a book to add to your reading list.
At this point I had completely forgotten that the lovely people at Canada Goose had booked a hot stone massage in “The Sanctuary” area of the festival. To be honest, the massage was somewhat of a blur, feeling completely relaxed and at peace I’m not entirely sure if I fell asleep or if I entered some kind of Wilderness inspired alternative realm. Either way I felt like a new man afterwards! The night was spent with a few quiet drinks around the campfire again, this time wearing my Timbershell jacket Who’d have thought orange on orange could look so smart! Even though we got lucky with the weather the temperature plummeted at night making the Canada Goose jackets a festival essential. After a few drinks we eagerly made tracks back back to the Tequila Bar and Hidden Valley for another night of music, light shows and crazy costumes.
Sunday morning was pretty much written off sleeping again but we were up and at’em in time for brunch (or rather lunch) for our banquet prepared by none other than lauded chef Mark Hix. With our bellies full we head back to the Canada Goose basecamp to listen to yet another thoroughly inspiring individual Alysa McCall of Polar Bears International. Alysa is the director of conservation outreach and a staff scientist at the charity. She gave an in depth but accessible presentation on the animals themselves, the current state of affairs and what is being done and needs to be done to help conserve these wonderful creatures.
Canada Goose, according to PBI, are one of their most generous sponsors and provide expedition Parka’s to the charity’s scientists and other team members each year. In addition to this, in 2012 they developed the PBI collection and donate a percentage of all sales to PBI.
It was soon time to leave with my car arriving at 5pm to pick me up and take me back to reality. All weekend I’d had my eye on the new Camo “Wyndham” Parka. I took one last opportunity to style this piece how I would wear it and grab a few more snaps from Will Fox with the boys Tommy and Anthony. Pitched up in the boutique camping area were a few classic Air Stream caravans, the perfect backdrop.
I genuinely had one of the best experiences of my summer so far. Aside from all of the above I finally got to meet my buddy Anthony Bodgan in person, who I’ve known in the social media world for years, his lovely wife Caroline and the gorgeous and possibly best behaved baby I’ve ever met, little Molly May! Along with hanging out with the Canada Goose team and Will Fox, it was great to see Raphael again and an absolute pleasure to meet Gwen and Laurianne. I like to think I’ve made some real friends who I’ll stay in contact with and hopefully see again soon!!
Don’t forget to sign up to the newly launched Canada Goose Basecamp, which promises access to new experiences, such as a trip to Wilderness Festival with myself and Tommy 😉 as well as news about the brand, its collections and latest collaborations.