Wilderness festival is great, you should go, honestly it's; picturesque, there’s great bands, beautiful people and gorgeous food. Set in Oxford and from the makers of Secret Garden Party, you just need to mix that in with a healthy dose of Latitude and you are basically there. However, I went for an entirely different reason, I went to fall in love with Olive Green (obviously not her real name) and have her repay the favour. Not to ruin it for you but it didn't work, in fact it failed miserably. There are many reasons why this happened, here's the best seven:
Slag off her best mate’s favourite band
I fucking hate Stornoway, wispy beards, I just can't abide them. Five minutes into a rant, similar to this, Olive and her friends fell quiet. I could only assume the monologue was working so chucked in a 'bed wetting virgins.' The further I went the more enraptured they became; it was only on 'failed abortion' that Olive touched my arm.
'Chris, Katie actually really likes Stornoway.'
Katie then continued with:'In fact Chris, they're my favourite band.'
Katie then pulled up a sleeve to revel a tattoo saying 'I saw you blink.' which as it turns out is one of their songs.
Katie didn't talk to me for the rest of the weekend.
Pick a fight with Fat Sam
Friday night was the night of the Bugsy Malone Secret Cinema, and it was above and beyond what I have ever seen at a festival. There were Speakeasies, Splurge Stalls, Gin Joints and Dance Halls. After the film a mass splurge fight erupted across the field, it was all a little too much, so when I saw Fat Sam splurge Olive I leapt to her defence, running across the field and unloading an entire can of shaving foam on a 12 year olds face, shouting ‘Get to fuck you little bollocks.' Word reached me via the her-friend-to-my-friend grapevine that this was considered a little weird and intense (Olive's words).
Take the hint
Walking back on the first night I offered to walk Olive back to her tent (I know, I know). She agreed and all seemed rosy; we chitted and chatted and I even walked her to the toilets (I know, believe me, I know). Back at the tent we laid back and carried on the conversation, things were going well, she left the tent to brush her teeth and I seized the opportunity to make my move, stripping off and jumping into her sleeping bag. Olive entered the tent
'I’m really tired I might go to sleep.’
I thought I would strengthen my position, set out my stall, if you will.
‘Is it alright if I stay?
Pulling my jeans on that night wasn’t a particular highlight and nor was the slow walk back to my tent as the sun threatened to rise. Never mind there would be worse to come.
Turning up to wood carving class on E
In my defence my timing was atrocious; the class was due to start at 5 on Saturday, not in fact 5 on Sunday, which had I presumed. This only became apparent when my companion Matthews jabbed a finger at the programme and mumbled the word 'late.' We turned up 5 minutes later- not to worry I thought, I can handle this. Olive greeted me with a smile and asked if I had done it before. 'Here and there,' I replied. Ten minutes into the class I was sweating profusely, rubbing sand paper against check and demanding the teacher (in what I thought was a witty role reversal) refer to me as Mr Barrett. 'Are you drunk?' It was the hope in Olive's voice I remember most. I spouted something about the lethal local cider. The lesson continued and so did my decline as motor skills became a long-cherised memory. All was not lost; I decided I knew what could save this situation- 80s rom coms. Girls love 80s rom coms. 10 minutes later the chap running the class asked me to step outside- it turns out trying to recreate the scene from Ghost with (her holding, terrified) a block of wood and (me wildly hammering) a chisel is not the one.
On the Saturday Wilderness attempted the world record for the largest skinny dip. Now this is okay, nudity is not a problem. Okay, it’s a huge problem, so to spare my blushes I disrobed behind a bush. Once I was in there it was kind of okay, a few fatties, a couple of thinnies, a healthy mix really, but then I realised that Olive was also in the lake (she hadn’t mentioned she was going to do it). Given my current state I thought that it might be best to leave before a conversation started so I swam to the bank where my clothes were, clawed my naked and damp body onto the side and pushed myself out. Over the worst I reached for my towel; what I hadn’t noticed was Kate, Olive's friend, amongst a small group of people all looking at me and laughing as she used thumb and forefinger to make the universal signal for "penis as big as a thimble."
SKINNY DIPPING WITHOUT A SEMI IS NOT THE ONE
Overdo the costume
On Saturday Wilderness has a masked ball. Everyone goes decked out in finery and expectation, it's one of the highlights and even by my own calculations, at this point I needed to pull something out the bag to get this back on course. It was this thought that led me to the costume tent. We were due to meet Olive and friends at 10 by the cocktail bar. Sure enough 10 came round and her group duly arrived all bouncy and expectant. The problem now being, I had spent £80 on a replica David Bowie Labyrinth costume, an all-in-one leather number with appropriate wig, waistcoat and ruffles.
Walking across the site before meeting them I'll admit had me feeling slightly self-concious, what with the rattle and clank of chains accompanying each step, although I was not completely on my own as taking effort in ones costume seemed to be held in high regard at Wilderness- apart from, unfortunately, Olive and her friends who had opted for eye masks and tattoo transfers.
Things only worsened when I spent an hour in the portaloo queue, to then spend a further 20 minutes getting out the bloody thing. Ladies in jumpsuits you have my deepest sympathy and respect.
You know what it's like at festivals- you get separated and as the masked ball went on that’s exactly what happened. I stumbled left and Olive ran right (that old chestnut). An hour later and across what seemed to be a 1940s dancehall (in hindsight I have found out it was called the Torch Club, amazing place, you should go) there she was, on the opposite of a crowded dance floor. Given what had happened over the previous 24 hours I opted for the strong silent type, I went for the stoic smoulder, not flinching from her gaze and hoping the intensity of the situation would see her overcome with lust and emotion. I even mouthed the chorus of the song that was playing.
'Chris, are you alright?'
Realising where I was, it dawned on me that my condition had led me to believe Olive was still on the other side of the room; in actuality she was stood inches from my face as I breathed stale cider and fag ash over her. Incredibly, she still seemed to offer genuine concern for my wellbeing.
‘Maybe it’s time you went home’
That was Wilderness for me, a brilliant festival made up of everything you could want and more, I’d go back in a heartbeat, and I wouldn't change a thing. Other than the skinny dip.
If you liked this, check out these other articles by Chris
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