We are well and truly into the thick of the UK’s festival season. So far we have seen Muse play a confused set to the Download metal heads, Belle & Sebastian successfully step up at Liverpool’s Sound City, an unnamed US rapper boldly claim he is the world’s greatest rock star on hallowed ground despite never releasing a rock track and Florence Welch shine as a worthy replacement to the unfortunately injured Dave Grohl. It has been an expectedly mixed bag as ever yet there is still so much to look forward to. We cast our eyes to Wilderness Festival, an unassuming Oxfordshire event that has a truly astonishing performer lurking within its woodlands. The Icelandic siren known as Björk will be performing a fortnight tomorrow and her alerting voice and encapsulating performance style may be the headline slot of the season.
The new album is Björk’s most complete and consistent piece of work in a number of years with a solid theme running throughout and appropriate visual accompaniments. The hypnotising monotony of ‘Stonemilker’ is likely to give the artist opportunity to perform around the sonar structure whilst ‘Black Lake’ is likely to include intersections of her video collaboration with Andrew Huang.
Björk could easily be considered as iconic as the likes of other season headliners such as The Who although what differentiates the artist from her former contemporaries is her ability to interact and develop with the musical world around her. Whilst Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey seemed content to stand motionless reciting ‘My Generation’ over at Worthy Farm, Björk promises constant motion and captivation throughout her show. Theatrics is something festival headliner achingly miss far too frequently and Ms. Guðmundsdóttir is the perfect artist to address this imbalance.
There are far too many esteemed artists, videographers, cinematographers and directors who Björk has collaborated with since her first album ‘Debut’ was released back in 1992 to name yet art has always run through parallel lay lines with the music. She recently explained to BBC 6Music that the characters on her album covers are seen as tarot cards within her cerebral so expect numerous costumes, exterior film, impressive stage design and props. ‘Vulnicura’ is possibly Björk’s most visual album to date as she marks the opening of a career exhibition at the New York MoMA so expect an even more emphasised approach.
Björk does not have countless hits and it has been a number of years since she broke out ‘Big Time Sensuality’ or ‘Crying’ yet she still regularly performs a variety of tracks from albums including ‘Post’ ‘Homogenic’ and the flawless ‘Vespertine’. The fans will revel in the opportunity of hearing ‘Army Of Me’ and ‘5 Years’ in a live setting whilst there is also an element of surprise as the elusive performer often decides before the performance to dust off rare trinkets such as ‘Venus As a Boy’ and ‘Hidden Place’.
The Icelandic creative has always been incredibly in touch with nature and believes in correlated spirituality between human beings and all over things living things. As she takes to the stage cocooned deeply within the forest and entwined with branches, the atmosphere will be suitably idyllic as the lights and performer come to life. Wilderness prides itself on offering a real sense of magic and enchantment and I dare you to find anything more marvellous and mystical that Björk’s vocal wafting through the forest evening.
If the stars align this will be Björk’s setlist for this truly unforgettable performance:
2. Hidden Place
3. History of Touches
5. Army of Me
6. Possibly Maybe
7. Venus as A Boy
8. 5 Years
9. Atom Dance
11. It’s Not Up to You
15. Pagan Poetry
Wilderness Festival takes place in Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire between 6 – 9 August. A limited number of tickets are available here.