Home » Travel » Enjoy half festival, half Scout camp fun at the adults-only Camp Wildfire in Sevenoaks, Kent

Enjoy half festival, half Scout camp fun at the adults-only Camp Wildfire in Sevenoaks, Kent

The Badgers keep it simple with “Badger! Badger! Badger!”. And the Foxes, well they “Don’t give a fox”.

Welcome to Camp Wildfire, a three-day, adult-only festival in garden-like woods near Sevenoaks, Kent.

Part music, part activities, part Cupids club, it is like Scout camp for grown-ups, complete with neckerchiefs, dodgeball, DJ sets, spectator-viewed speed-dating and singles yoga.

There is an ironic throwback to the Hi-de-Hi holiday camps of the Fifties, with tannoy announcements waking up hungover campers and compères with the speaking style of olden-day BBC radio broadcasters.

A lot of the “organised fun” is based around joining one of the Patrols with their animal names and winning team points.

Most people tend to join the Foxes as they have a history of winning the coveted Wildfire Cup. I offered my expertise to underdogs the Hawks — and proceeded to amass zero points for my efforts.

But the camaraderie and friendly competition of the daytime is a great way of breaking the ice and getting to know your fellow festival-goers before partying into the small hours.

And the heart of the festival is a small clearing where the Patrol games take place. Each Patrol has their own corner, with their team banner above terracing to sit on.

The Badgers’ banner was stolen twice as some competitors perhaps felt the cult-like appeal of “them and us” more strongly than others. Throughout the day, you can laze around watching the games, jumping up to get involved whenever you feel like it.

Competitions range from press-up wrestling to peeling a banana and feeding it to your partner without using your hands. Some are just made up by the Patrol leaders as they go along. But all are eagerly contested while cheers and chants ring out.

Then there are the proper activities dotted around the site. These can be high- octane or simply educational — and lots in between.

My highlights included a 20ft free-fall jump on to a giant inflatable pillow. It doesn’t look that high . . . until you get to the top.

Then there was the morning Afro beats dance exercise class. As my body wouldn’t move like the class leaders, I avoided the following day’s swing dance version. And of course, capturing the flag (and losing it again) in an hour-long session of capture the flag through the brambles and thickets of the woods.

It is worth noting that these are outdoor activities in the wild. Injuries happen. But that makes it more fun, for me. I drew blood on thorns ducking and diving for my life on the zombie run among the trees.

But that’s tame compared to the casualties claimed by the extreme waterslide, and the hen[ party member’s fractured wrist in an overzealous Patrol game.

On the gentler side was silent disco yoga where you pair up and get into some intimate poses. And the board games cabin retreat. There are more than 60 activities to choose from. Some need booking in advance, some you just turn up to.

I didn’t have time for the spear throwing, nipple tassel making, apothecary classes, vegetable orchestra or campfire bread- making. But I did learn how to make a zipwire with a block and tackle and see a globular cluster of ancient stars through a telescope. Once the activities are done by the evening, the music takes over.

The first Camp Wildfire was born four years ago with 200 people as part of a music video for a band called the Keston Cobblers Club. The group return each year to play and were among just a handful of acts, the biggest of which being DJ Luck and MC Neat.

But arguably, if your main interest is the music, then this is wrong festival for you. On the other hand, if you want to play games, learn new skills and exercise in peaceful, fairy-lighted woods — and still party by night — then you’re at the right place.

And if you want to know which Patrol to join next year, go Squirrels. It turns out they really were the nuts.


EARLY Bird Tickets for Camp Wildfire 2019 are on sale now, at a reduced price of £139pp for the weekend.

The festival will take place from August 30 to September 2, 2019. See campwildfire.co.uk.

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