I’m sitting on a trusty tree trunk with ten other festival campers; my feet gently sinking into the soil beneath me. I’m holding a cup of fresh beer in my right hand, whilst my left gently taps on my thigh in time with the flowing rhythm of the guitar. Dum dum dum-dum dum…
The crackling bonfire behind me radiates its warmth and wafts the smell of campfire bread through the smoky air, as the fingertips of the trees and the light of the moon sprinkle their beauty down from above. I take in a deep breath and smell the earth. My god it smells good.
How have I become so disconnected?
Two days at Camp Wildfire and I’m a revitalised woman; wide-eyed and reconnected to Mother Nature herself. I’ve morphed from a fast-paced social media liking-commenting guzzling bear into a tree hugging-loving hippy.
The change isn’t freaky. It’s ace!
One weekend here, and I now know how to throw a spear, shoot a bow and arrow, tell you what that star is in the sky, make medicine from herbs, how to shimmy up a tree, swing dance like a proper maiden and face heights higher than I imagined!
Who knew that a tiny Kent festival, hidden in the deep forest of southern England, could make Harry Potter and Lara Croft so jelly? With Camp Wildfire’s unique ingredients, elements and back-to-basics approach, you’ll unlock qualities within yourself and others that you may have forgotten.
Here’s the 10 secrets Camp Wildfire Sevenoaks Festival will unlock for you!
What is Camp Wildfire? It’s unlike any other adventure festival you’ve been to, with a stunning line up of live music thrown in every evening. All those cool activities that you got to do as a kid at Summer camp, are now completely within your reach as an adult. This is one of the most riveting adventure camps for adults, with no judgement, plenty of encouragement and a solid supportive community atmosphere.
With a simple paper map in your hand, and a curious mind, this is a forest playground waiting to be discovered with plenty of opportunity awaiting you. What you’ll find is something that you’ve probably never thought of to encounter. For reals.
Want to try beekeeping? Go hovercraft racing? Or just go all out and try some nipple tassel making? It’s all on the menu. Asking questions and going that one step further will take you to extraordinary places too. There’s secret places and events going on for the ones who seek! Now that’s cool.
And when the night comes, and the moon takes its presence, the night comes alive within the bedouin tents, with live bands playing, secret parties popping, and camp fires being lit for the adventurers who want to take the quieter approach and snuggle in the trees. It’s camp stories, gentle acoustics and thoughtful discussions galore.
All in all, this experience is about unearthing your child brain and breaking down the barriers between people. Get involved. Make friends. Come out of that forest like a goddamn eco-rocking earth child. Yas!
It’s a simple formula, but one that can get lost in the digital-led lives we are immersed in today. Camp Wildfire takes you back to your tribal routes, by asking you before you’ve even arrived for the weekend: ‘Are you a badger, a fox, a hawk or a squirrel?’
Step outside into your garden and have a think before you turn up – because once you arrive, they’ll ask again and wristband you accordingly. People take their decision seriously. I saw a big group of lads with their badger make-up on from day one, with top hats and bow ties to complement it all.
This is your team. This is your pride. This is your community – where showing ability, curiosity, courage and kindness around camp throughout the weekend wins you points. Like kids doing anything for candy, you’ll find yourself going the extra mile to win points for your team too. The weekend finishes in the ultimate grand finale race, where all 4 teams compete to be the champions. I chose Team Fox…and oh yes did we win!
It’s a no brainer that choosing your loyalty and colours from the start gets people revved up, connected and working together. If you come here alone, you WILL make friends instantly. Guaranteed.
I met so many people by being a fox: in the food queue, grabbing that morning coffee, sitting down to lunch, in the beer tent, running around like a mofo in the woods (sometimes with naked mofos). Being in a tribe was the perfect conversation starter! And if you’re single, they encourage you to shout it from the treetops. There’s plenty of speed dating and club cupid activities to help soulmates meet. Cute!
There are activities that you can pre-book, but plenty that you can just walk-up to during the day, or stumble upon because sometimes trees kinda look the same (and you haven’t mastered your navigation skills yet). I found myself taking part in activities that I never considered myself doing and ended up loving them.
Apothecary and learning about trees blew my mind. I walked out of these woods having made my own grapefruit wake-me-up oil potion, beeswax lip balm and three explosive healing bath bombs. I can also tell what each tree is now, and how to cure a nettle sting with (wait for a it), a nettle. I’m a white witch in the making.
All of this was happening whilst my mate Gemma was over on the other side of the woods learning how to butcher a deer. It was probably the worst thing for her to be doing on a Sunday morning with a hangover, but I know that if the zombie apocalypse happens, she can handle hunting the things that move, and I can handle the plants that umm…stay put.
Just to give you a taste of what else is on offer (and I’m literally only scratching the surface with activities available here) there’s extreme water sliding, the opportunity to make a giant catapult, experience free fall jumping, do bushcraft games, shelter building, fire lighting, leather tanning, raft building, spear making, tribal drumming, lino cutting and printing and make an orchestra out of vegetables. There’s probably dick drawing in there too if you’re (un)lucky.
I’m adventurous. I’ve been round the adrenaline block. I’ve driven a whacked-out car across the world, hung off the most dangerous hiking trail in China, survived the craziest biking trails in Vietnam and abseiled all the way down a building in Birmingham. Yet, there are always things that I come across that I *think* are going to be no problem and then *boom*, suddenly the fear and worry starts to set in.
As a special event, the awesome adventure shoe company Keen set up their very own Assault Course for the weekend, complete with very ‘motivational’ ex-military with massive arms to shout at you. Complimentary mud, sweat and tears is there for the taking, whether you want it or not. And how the hell I thought it was a good idea to wear fishnet tights whilst doing all of this makes me laugh hysterically. What a mug.
The assault course was a go-go! I was leap frogging onto logs, crawling through mud tunnels on my belly, hanging off ropes horizontally whilst my teammate cradled my legs and going up, over, left, right and under some challenging hurdles. But the biggest one of all: THE WALL. Oh yes, that wall that they always put at the end when you’re panting and then you look up and you’re like ‘Oh sweet Mother…’
THAT WALL was all going well, until I had to swing my legs and torso over to the other side. I froze for a moment and did a little whimper, but the army man below me was having none of it. Through the encouragement of my team and my determination not to look any worse with the massacred fishnet tights hanging off of me, I flung myself over and lived to type this tale. Phew! Thanks for that Keen! If you don’t think you can do it, you can.
In fact, if you do do any of these activities drunk, you’re a) crazy and b) likely to chop someone’s leg off (or something untoward). Camp Wildfire don’t specifically tell you to not turn up drunk to these activities but if you do, you’re an idiot. It’s adventure weekends like this that remind you that not every activity has to be done with a drink in your hand. A lot of people forget that.
Go out and get some fresh air bro. Get high on oxygen for a change. And then when night falls, well…drink and be merry as much as you want. There’s a ton of cool bands booked to play so wahey!
Physics sucked when I went to school. I was always the kind of girl who had a paintbrush in one hand and a pen in the other – not a bunch of magnets and a solar cell. Screw Boyle’s Law, I was the one cracking up at Murphy’s Law.
I’m gonna brag here and say that I was a straight A student in everything else, but the perfectionist within me always got peeved with Science and Mathematics. I just about scraped a B in both (thanks lower level easier test).
Yet, 15 years later at Camp Wildfire, I thought I’d give science another bash, and I loved every second of it. If you really want to geek out, you can join sessions in solar astronomy and space science. We got to try on space suits, ask endless questions about the sun and get to hold crazy ass meteorites. I loved it and it rocked! (get it?)
I left that forest enlightened, refreshed and with a strong desire to become a farmer or tree warrior. I’m gonna stick to travel blogging for now, but if anyone wants to teach me more about plants, herbs, trees and how to live off the land like a true natural nomad with my caveman spear, give me a bell will ya?
Feeling compelled to escape to the forest next year? Here’s everything you need to know.
Heritage Pine Forest, Knock Mill Lane, Sevenoaks, West Kingsdown, Kent TN15 6AH, UK
29th August – 2nd September
Early bird 2019 tickets are currently on sale for £144.00
Book early with Go Euro to get the cheapest bus, train and flight prices or
My complimentary experience at Camp Wildfire 2018 adventure camp music festival was made possible by Keen footwear. Opinions as always, totally remain my own = honest and to the point.