Wilderness Festival announces new stage The Riddle

The crowd at Wilderness Festival (Press)
The crowd at Wilderness Festival (Press)

Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire will introduce a brand new stage for guests this August, it has been announced.

The Riddle is a space where music fans can see acts they wouldn’t typically see on other festival lineups, such as Colombian star Julio Victoria, who will perform an exclusive showcase of his live show, which has never before been witnessed in the UK.

Victoria, a renowned name in South America, is known for his blend of traditional indigenous Colombian sounds, such as marimba and harp players, with Detroit and Chicago-inspired house beats.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Kristin Velvet, who will appear on the Saturday, has been described as “one of the modern house scene’s most treasured adherents” and will offer a set of “gleefully maximal, unashamedly nostalgic house”.

The stage also has a no-phone policy as part of an effort to “bring back human connection” and encourage people to “really live in the moment”.

The Riddle is the brainchild of curators Jemima Howden and Will Kayll, who met when Kayll, a DJ, played the festival when he was just 17 years old. Since then, the duo have thrown parties around the UK, but are now keen to unveil the project they have been working on for the better part of a year.

Will and Jemima, the curators behind Wilderness’s new stage The Riddle (Press)
Will and Jemima, the curators behind Wilderness’s new stage The Riddle (Press)

What’s the ethos of The Riddle to you?

“The ethos of the Riddle is to create a space for young creatives to showcase their talents within a safe environment that encourages genuine human connection.”

What’s the feeling you’re aiming to create?

“At the Riddle stage we want to create a feeling of mystery and curiosity. We want you to dance like nobody’s watching, explore like there is no tomorrow and embrace every wild and wonderful moment. Express yourself, hug, laugh, smile and just go for it!”

Why do you want to enlist a no-phone policy?

“We both recognise that we are living and growing up in a world that is monopolized by technology. Festivals and nightclubs are one of the few spaces that people can switch off and lose themselves in music and art. Eliminating mobile phones from the dancefloor will bring back genuine human connection and will force people to dance together, hug each other, and really live in the moment.

“We also believe that filming on the dancefloor is a massive issue in the club and festival scene. Firstly, it is an invasion of other people’s privacy. The Riddle is a space where you can be who you want, you can dance how you like without the worry of being filmed and posted on social media without consent.”

Tell us about the programming, why is it exciting?

“The programming is really exciting for the Riddle as we have gone for a lot of acts that you do not see on the typical festival lineups. On Friday night we have Julio Victoria all the way from Colombia who will be performing a live act with a live Drummer and Bass player.”


Finish the sentence: The Riddle is a...

“The Riddle is a kaleidoscopic journey – your experience will be dynamic, vibrant, and ever-changing. There are many layers, surprises, and delights to be discovered should you embark upon this immersive odyssey.”

The Independent is the exclusive news partner of Wilderness 2024, a collaboration that will provide fans with live coverage, exclusive content, and special events.

Guests enjoy a tipple in the sun at Wilderness (Press)
Guests enjoy a tipple in the sun at Wilderness (Press)

The music and arts festival takes place in Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, between 1 to 4 August, with the lineup this year including headliners Michael Kiwanuka, Faithless (Live), BICEP presents CHROMA (AV DJ set), and Jessie Ware.

In addition to music, the event hosts a range of talks and conversation panels, this year featuring Claudia Winkleman and comedians Joel Dommett and Rosie Jones. Guests can seek relaxation and wellness at the lakeside spa, while other leisure activities include a Yoga Supperclub and Sacred Sound Healing.