Wildfire Adventure Camp, Kent: festival review
This Kent-based festival and adventure camp featured midnight hot tub parties, a DJ set from Craig Charles and lots of dodgeball
- By Max Williams -
Sometimes two things go together so well that it's a wonder nobody thought of pairing them earlier. Cream cheese and jam, for instance. Or Graham Norton and Eurovision. Or, in the case of Camp Wildfire, the combination of music festival and adventure camp.
Expect dozens of activities on offer throughout the day, and a hedonistic musical vibe in the evenings. And beyond the literal fun and games, it's the spirit of Wildfire that lingers long after you head home. Try and find someone without a smile on their face. It amounted to the most good-natured weekend this writer has enjoyed for many a year.
The big sell is the activities: more than 80 on offer over the weekend. These vary hugely – from rifle shooting or game cooking to wildfire apothecary, nipple tassel-making, tie dye, yoga, axe throwing and, well – you get it.
Although you should book activities in advance, the relaxed nature of the festival means if there's space, you can join in. My friend and I were walking back from breakfast one morning (food is sourced locally), and found ourselves drawn into a game of dodgeball. (I say 'game'... it got competitive). However, for the likes of the midnight hot tub party – as fun as it sounds, and as popular as you'd expect – you definitely want your name on the list.
For those who like their festivals with a dash of hedonism, don't worry: Wildfire takes its music as seriously as the activities. The 2017 Friday Welcome Party was headlined by Craig Charles, a man who knows a thing or two about having fun. The main stage runs until 4am, and if you're still not done, a couple of secret after-parties can be found if you know where to look. (Don't worry: the site is quite small.) However there are plenty of musical treats earlier in the evening – singer-songwriter Jerry Williams charmed an ever-growing crowd in the 7pm slot.
Situated in a Kent Forest, under an hour's drive from London, Wildfire bills itself as "Britain's most unique new festival", and it's certainly a world away from the vast canvas cities of Glastonbury or Reading. Indeed one of the great charms of Wildfire is the camaraderie fostered by the relatively small number of attendees (no more than a couple of thousand), the sense that you're all in on a cracking little secret.
Wildfire Adventure Camp returns next year with new dates, from 31 August - 3 September 2018. campwildfire.co.uk