In the morning, we woke to the site of a 13 metre high wire rig, an air-rifle shooting range, a crossbow ranges and a large wooden stump destined for axe throwing. All going on in front of our van. “Welcome to Wildfire Camp.”
In its second year, Wildfire Camp describes itself as a ‘Questival’ with the tag line ‘Only the Curious’. It’s set in a secret location known only to those who have tickets, no gatecrashers here. Wildfire is an adventure camp by day and party with live music and DJs at night. The day is divided into five sessions of activities roughly lasting one hour and 20 mins each with a two hour break for lunch. There’s a choice of 60 activities covering all disciplines from bush craft and adventure to arts & crafts and wellbeing. Even naked knitting made it on to the list.
We entered the wood via a long leafy tunnel lit up with lights and bunting, we were running late and the woods were alive with an eclectic mix of birdsong, drums, whistles, shouts, cheering and what sounded like small arms fire, panic over it later turned out to be bullwhips. In small sunny clearings we passed yoga, hula-hooping, circus aerial acrobatics and the drum circle. We had arrived in the ‘hub’ of Wildfire Camp with food stalls, picnic tables, a circus tent which housed the bar, pool tables, trestle tables covered with people busily making masks, nipple tassels and jewellery and a swing-dance class in full flow.
This is where the all-important activities office is housed and they get booked up fast. Activity sign-up opens the week before and I’d advise booking early if you have a particular activity in mind. It is possible to sign up to those with availability at the activities office between 8am and 10am on each day, but any other time you’ll find yourself at the mercy of the activity leader and their resources. Groups are limited to around 20 people and there are various meeting points all across the wood for each activity. Remember to check, if you miss the initial safety talk you won’t get on the activity and as they all start at the same time, you’ll miss out on a lot of fun.
Fear not, get yourself an enamel mug (Wildfire tries to be as plastic free as possible) from the bar for a fiver and get drunk. If you’re a tight ass hand your mug back at the end of the weekend and get your £5 back.
Wildfire attracts a mix of people from all ages – most are young and up for anything with a sprinkling of older people who are equally up for anything. The group camping next to us were in their forties and were more than happy to throw themselves down the extreme water slide and jump off a thirteen-foot platform into thin air. Everyone is there for the same thing regardless – to have a laugh, try something new, meet new people and learn something new along the way.