Inspired by old-school scouting adventures, musician and graphic designer Julia Lowe, 30, went about crafting a festival to reignite the spirit of adventure. Now in its third year, Camp Wildfire in the lush Kent countryside has been pegged as one of Britain’s top weekenders. This year’s event will consist of three days packed with outdoor activities, from beekeeping to extreme watersliding to hemp ice cream making and yoga on the grass. Just as much emphasis is put on partying too, and the live stage will be rocking until the early hours. Think scouting meets Alice in Wonderland, with a bit of clubland euphoria mixed in for good measure. So don your head torch and headdress and prepare for the unexpected. We certainly will be and can’t wait!
How did the idea for Camp Wildfire come about?
It was a combination of a few things, all happening at the same time. Lee Denny (Camp Wildfire co-founder) and I recognised that adults were finding it increasingly hard to adventure like they did when they were children, and we wanted to make a place where they could do this, unabashedly for a weekend.
What’s your background career / life wise?
I am a trained graphic designer, but have worked for years in music, film and art direction. I love doing creative things!
What’s special about the festival?
It’s very unique – because the music and nighttime is programmed by the brains behind LeeFest, you get to spend your day doing adventure, then your evenings discovering wonderful music, letting your hair down and having a ball.
How did you choose the location?
Lee found the forest a few years ago – he is always on a hunt to discover new places, and when he showed me how beautiful it is, the lake, the historic trees (it is based in a heritage pineutum) and is stunning!
What do people have to look forward to this year?
We have added some exciting new activities this year, including Zorbing, Archery Battles, Hammer Horror Run and Hemp ice Cream Making. But the one thing I am really looking forward to, is the secret Officers Mess party… Only the curious will find!
How have locals received the festival?
Wildfire has a very intimate feel, so has been very well recieved by local residents who may have been hesitant about a festival being nearby. We try to work as much with local businesses too, so have a good releationship with people around Sevenoaks.
What’s your favourite activity this year?
I can’t wait for the Zombie Mud Run. New for this year, it is going to be a very immersive experience.
What makes a true Scout?
Well, what makes a Wildfire Scout is a curious, intrepid adult, looking for their next challenge… But also likes to party!
What’s the last thing that made you stop and stare?
I recently went to a festival where Bon Iver played… I stopped and stared for two hours. He was wonderful!
CAMP WILDFIRE – READ ALL ABOUT IT…
New for 2017
Archery Battles: Archery Battles: paintball, but with bows and arrows. Yes, you’ll shoot someone. And yes, you’ll get shot. In this intense and exciting combat sport you’ll use foam-tipped arrows to shoot at your opponents, ducking behind obstacles and trying to avoid being eliminated. Our expert instructors will teach you some tricks and skills to get you through your battles, preparing you to duck and dodge, and even catch arrows as they whizz past your head.
Extreme Zorbing: Ever wondered what it’s like to be trapped inside a ball and flung at 30 miles an hour downhill? Well, now’s the time to find out. This is old fashioned rolling on a hill.. taken to the extreme. Try to steer your sphere into the point-winning targets and avoid the obstacles, whilst making it down the wildfire slopes in a winning time.
Hemp Ice Cream Making: Forget Mr Whippy, it’s all about making your own ice cream from raw natural ingredients. You’ll be taken through the whole process in this hour and a half workshop, walking away with your very own, hand whipped, home (well, woodland) made ice cream. Just make sure you find the Camp Chiefs and offer them a lick.
Camp Chief Favourites:
Bee Keeping: Interested in keeping bees, but don’t know what’s involved or how to get started? This workshop will give you an overview of the craft of beekeeping. Our experienced beekeeper will cover the fundamental requirements for bee & hive management and will give you a real feel for the art of beekeeping. You will learn about the honey bee colony and beekeeping year, bee behaviour and the role of the beekeeper, have an exploration inside a hive and handle bees.
Fire Lighting: Ever wondered how you’ll survive on desert island? Fire! Wildfire’s survival experts will teach you the lost art of firelighting without modern matches and lighters. You’ll learn about the properties of different woods and their uses and practice building successful fires, using a bow-drill and lighting fires by friction.