David Cameron’s cousin has thrown an alcohol-free eco-weekender featuring ‘breathwork sessions’, songs ‘around a fire-circle’ and even ‘a traditional cacao ceremony.’
Joshua Dugdale, who is the cousin of the former Prime Minister, co-founded the Medicine festival with Ben Christie at his home of Wasing Estate and threw the first weekender in Berkshire in August.
The festival promised to provide ‘medicine for attenders’ with a ‘deep dive into nature and culture’, complete with a theme of ‘interbeing’.
Activities at the five day event, for which tickets cost £210, included artivism and a ‘healing field’ to practice flow states and laughing yoga, as well as talks on foraging and ‘soil health.’
The festival was founded by old Etonian and self-proclaimed treehugger Joshua, who studied Economics at university before taking-up a career in filmmaking and journalism.
Speaking to The Guardian about the weekender, of which profits will go to supporting indigenous tribes, Josh said: ‘Everyone’s been through such a lot…People need this – being outside, connecting, having fun but in a gentler way than some festivals.’
David Cameron’s cousin Joshua Dugdale has thrown an alcohol-free eco-weekender featuring ‘breathwork sessions’, songs ‘around a fire-circle’ and even ‘a traditional cacao ceremony’
The festival promised to provide ‘medicine for attenders’ with a ‘deep dive into nature and culture’, complete with a theme of ‘interbeing’ (pictured left, the fire circle, and right, a sacred space in the festival)
Activities at the five day event, for which tickets cost £210, included artivism and a ‘healing field’ to practice flow states and laughing yoga, as well as talks on foraging and ‘soil health’
Guests at the festival were invited to take part in a host of activities, including storytelling and song sessions around a fire circle, yoga and breathwork.
Meanwhile the alcohol-free festival also promises the opportunity to experience ‘medicine’ in different ways, including a traditional sweat lodge, Cacao, Tobacco, and Water ceremonies and Women and Mens’ circles.
According to the website, ‘by engaging with these timeless practices we can reconnect and regenerate our reverence for all life. With this energy we are able to bring discernment and conviction to our insights and actions.’
A description continues: ‘Indigenous and wise elders generously offer this sacred work, not so that we might appropriate it as our own, but rather so we can resonate and learn from it.
The festival was founded by old Etonian, self-proclaimed treehugger and David Cameron’s cousin, Joshua, who studied Economics at university before taking-up a career in filmmaking and journalism
The self-proclaimed tree hugger who organised ‘the wokest festival in the world’
Joshua Dugdale attended Eton, and studied economics at the University of Manchester, before studying law at City, University of London.
After university he began working as a filmmaker and journalist.
In 2005–2008, he made a three-year biopic of the fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, The Unwinking Gaze.
In this film he recorded the Dalai Lama as a leader of the Tibetan people, rather than portraying him as spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism as is done customarily.
Notable awards given Dugdale were the Mammoth Best Documentary award in 2008 as well as the runner up in the Best Documentary section for the Foreign Press Association in 2008.
The Guardian suggested that ‘it could force China into a more civil and humanitarian stance towards Tibet.
Meanwhile Josh described the experience as life-changing, and it prompted him to begin pursuing a ‘more spiritual’ existence.
In 2008, he took over management of Wasing Place, Wasing Park, and the Wasing estate in Berkshire from his grandparents.
Its manor is centred on a manor house which was purchased in 1759 by the London nautical publisher John Mount, a maternal ancestor of Dugdale’s. Mount built the mansion Wasing Place, completed in 1770, which became the home of his descendants the MPs, William Mount, William George Mount and Sir William Mount. The house was rebuilt after a fire in 1945.
His prolific father Sir William died in 2014.
In 2015 he concluded a £3 million restoration project, and opened the estate up to alternative events.
Later that year, the estate was the site of an extreme animal attack, when sixty pheasants were killed with catapults and beheaded.
He has two children, Lily and Salvador, with author Sasha Norris, and two further children, Ferdinand and Francis, with Diana Redvers, who he married in 2009.
In 2016 he signed an open letter to the Times against Brexit on behalf of British business leaders, and in 2018 he became patron of the West Berkshire Mencap.
On the death of Dugdale’s mother, Lady Cecilia Dugdale, in 2019 Dugdale inherited the estate in full after many years of managing and farming it. He is the 7th generation of his maternal family (the Mount baronets) to do so
‘Within the curated Sacred Spaces, some of which have already been in existence on the land for some years, there will be time to enact our own personal acts of ceremony.’
Meanwhile groups from the Brazilian Amazon taking to the stage at the festival to discuss indigenous culture.
The leader of the Huni Kuin tribe Ninawa Pai Da Mata told a crowd at the event: ‘We had to move to escape many things the westerners brought – alcohol, foreign music – and to embrace our own culture and spirituality again, to listen to the wisdom of nature.’
There was also music at the festival, which was played on a stage decorated to appear like a woodland.
Performers ranged from Mercury-prize nominated Nick Mulvey and folk singer Sam Lee to dub/electronica sets by DJ Gaudi and a traditional cacao ceremony (a sacred drink for South American tribes) for 500 people.
Meanwhile, according to the festival’s website, the theme for the 2021 festival was ‘interbeing’, with a description reading: ‘When we perceive interbeing, and recognise the interdependence of all phenomena, we see that not only is everything interconnected; we see that all is one and one is all.
‘We are ourselves, but at the same time we are all each other.’
The festival was founded by old Etonian and David Cameron’s cousin, Joshua, whose father was Sir William Dugdale, 2nd Baronet of Blyth Hall.
Sir William, who was the Eton-educated son of a baronet, was considered a roistering, womanising hellraiser.
But he was also a man to be trusted, as Margaret Thatcher was to discover when he helped her to defeat the unions.
He was a household name in the Seventies, as chairman of Aston Villa when the club won the First Division and the European Cup.
He famously banned Scottish supporters from the club’s terraces, after a riot during a friendly match against Rangers.
Sir William was best known now as the incorrigible uncle who helped mould the character of the Prime Minister — teaching a young David Cameron how to shoot rabbits in the Warwickshire fields on a misty Saturday morning and then wolf down a meat pie watching Villa play in the afternoon.
After Dugdale married their aunt Cylla in 1967, the future PM and his older brother, Alexander, began to spend weekends at the family seat, the 350-year-old Blyth Hall, east of Birmingham.
Sir William died in November 2014 and upon the death of Joshua’s mother, Lady Cecilia, in 2019, he inherited the estate in full.
Joshua had also attended Eton, and studied economics at the University of Manchester, before studying law at City, University of London.
He worked as a journalist and filmmaker before inheriting the estate from his family in 2019.
In an interview posted on YouTube in 2021, Josh was described as an ‘epic nature guardian’, and said he himself is a ‘big treehugger.’
He explained he had felt motivated to set up the festival after ‘an experience meeting an amazing tribe of people in the Amazon.’
Sir William died in November 2014 and upon the death of Joshua’s mother, Lady Cecilia, in 2019, he inherited the estate in full (pictured, Sir William and Lady Cylia)
Sir William was best known now as the incorrigible uncle who helped mould the character of the Prime Minister — teaching a young David Cameron how to shoot rabbits in the Warwickshire fields on a misty Saturday morning and then wolf down a meat pie watching Villa play in the afternoon
He said: ‘Through meeting them, I came to the view that we should be putting on an event which my friend Ben Christie had proposed.
‘I saw the way they interreacted with nature – it’s a whole other level to what we and the West interact with nature and it was very inspiring.
‘I had the sense, if we could bring a small part of that culture, it would be a new and interesting thing.’
He said the festival was ‘very family orientated’, saying: ‘It’s a very conscious event, with a very clear opening and closing.
Activities and performances at the festival took place surrounding a wooden stage designed to look like a forest
The festival space was full of ‘forest altars’ where holistic workshops took place for attendees (pictured left and right)
Profits from the weekender will go to supporting indigenous tribes (pictured, a group of performers at the event)
Meanwhile the alcohol-free festival also promises the opportunity to experience ‘medicine’ in different ways, including a traditional sweat lodge, Cacao, Tobacco, and Water ceremonies and Women and Mens’ circles
Snaps shared online from the festival included attendees dancing below huge light sculptures (left) and in colourful tents (right)
‘There’s an element of ceremony all the way through.
‘It’s like a portal – stepping into a space where one is able to connect to each other and the environment around us, developing and learning skills that enable us to do that.
‘It might be the start of a journey for people who are interested in connecting to nature.’
According to the website, ‘b y engaging with these timeless practices’ guests could ‘reconnect and regenerate our reverence for all life’ (pictured, singing at the festival)
Other guests attending the August festival took part in vibration workshops (left) and storytelling sessions (right)