It’s difficult to describe the diversity and individuality of Boomtown. At its eco friendly heart it revels in freedom and transcends divisions with a celebration of expression and unity. Despite this sweet and cutesy mantra it is nonetheless bizarre, raucous, and surreal. Like a rave down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass, all glow sticks and Jabberwocky’s. Taking place in our neighbourly Winchester, the Matterly Estate’s dreamy labyrinth makes for a particularly intrepid weekend of discovery and fantasy.
BoomTown is split into nine totally individual districts across the three areas of the festival, thankfully there’s no dystopian Panem business going on, just fancy dress themes and eclectic music. 22 main stages and 100s of acts tick every musical fancy you could possibly have and if not the Glastonbury scale scenery and alternative entertainment will tide you over. Barrio Loco is the ruling fiesta district for this seventh chapter in BoomTown’s short history. Here you will find house, drum and bass and garage. You’ll have help from the likes of DJ EZ, Paleman and Toddla T to fiesta until dawn.
Chinatown will be infused with ska and punk from the likes of Less than Jake and Streetlight manifesto to tempt you into the orient. Mayfair Avenue revives the roaring twenties with all its swanky decadent glory. Caravan Palace and Deluxe provide the electro swing from all and sundry in the Ballroom and Roller disco giving Gatsby a neon glow.
Whistlers Green offers a welcome change of pace with its crossroads of activities, serene relaxation and creativity. The Healing Place features a healing garden, daily morning Yoga class with a range of therapies including Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Massage. There’s many a tent, Tipi and Dome for creative activities too. Not to mention The Cock Inn Cider Bar…comedy genius. Similarly away from the hustle and bustle, but unfortunately following on from the aforementioned bar, is KidzTown. Children’s entertainment and carnival workshops that help produce next generation of BoomTown citizens.
OldTown is where you’ll find pirates, because what’s fancy dress without pirates? Swashbuckling buccaneers can take in the Jolly Dodger Pirate Ship and the Invisible Circus Pirate Show. All of this whilst listening to gypsy punk (whatever that is). TrenchTown hosts the best in dub, reggae, dancehall and jungle across three venues: The Lion’s Den, Hidden Woods and Tangle Roots, boasting the likes of Stephen ‘Ragga’ Marley and Soju. The Wild West see’s thigh slapping straw chewing cowboys and buxom wenches ride off into the sunset to the sounds of folk, bluegrass and hillbilly. DSTRKT 5 (clearly from the SBTRKT School of spelling) boasts the 9-story Bang-Hai Palace, smoke filled alleyways and a red light district vibe. Drum ‘n’ Bass, jungle and garage are the soundtracks for the debauched late night haven with live sets from Squarepusher, Noisa and Spor.
To keep Boomtown free of litter, tickets involve ‘eco-bonds’, a ten-pound deposit. To get your money back festival attendees will be given a ‘boomtown eco bag’. Organisers ask everyone to fill this bag with all their rubbish and hand it back into one of the drop off points for recycling, and have their £10 deposit returned. How lovely! You’re encouraged to camp inside your favourite district and embrace its unique theme. Alternatively there’s Boomtique Village and Deluxe that offers hot showers, hot tubs and cabins and all number of luxury amenities but that’s cheating. Who needs a shower? It’s not the same without the feeble attempts of wet wipes, deodorant and dry shampoo to remain hygienic.
It’s unique, eccentric and unforgettable and it’s only round the corner!