Wild and Free, by Wendy Holden, is an enjoyable romp through the modern phenomenon that is the upmarket, artistic festival scene. Resplendent with irony the author gently mocks the occupants of the yurts and designer tents, the artistic types who perform, the nostalgic middle aged trying to recapture their youth, and the expensively educated youths who have not yet learned the shallowness of celebrity.
The protagonists are a varied group of characters with an interlinked past. The author introduces each with their backstory leading up to why they choose to attend Wild and Free, a well known fictional summer festival held in the West Country. The cast is large containing amongst others: a city money man, his controlling wife, their cosseted son; a headteacher, a member of his staff, her lawyer friend; a writer and his girlfriend who is keeping an eye on two ambitious teenagers; a trio of criminals intent on relieving the wealthy of their baubles.
The plot and the language are overdone, reminiscent of Shakespearean humour. This is a fun story that, in gently ridiculing the habits of stereotypes, gets to the heart of why these people act as they do. I laughed at the accuracy of the observations yet felt sympathy for each of the characters attempts to be something they could not quite attain.
The satire may be sharp in places, the humour slapstick, but the story is light and enjoyable. If you have ever attended a festival or considered going to one then this could be the book for you.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.