When: 10th-13th August
Who: The Specials, M.I.A., Cypress Hill, Ziggy Marley, Frank Turner
Price: £202 (incl. camping)
Across its extravagant nine-year history, Boomtown Fair has comfortably and undoubtedly cemented itself as one of the most innovative events in the UK. Continually blurring the lines between art forms, across music, arts, theatre, drama and cinema, in the past Boomtown has boasted musical talents from the likes of Madness, Gorgol Bordelo, most of the Marley sons, and at this year’s event- Cypress Hill, M.I.A., and The Specials. Normally taking place towards the beginning of August, the four-day festival takes place in rural Hampshire, with tickets available from around £200 including camping.
Boomtown Fair is an indescribable event, a inexpressible place, and simply an unfathomable experience. And what strikes you most about the magnitude of Boomtown is the depth and scale, which is simply beyond words, with each stage or district even more elaborate than the last. Split up into 12 different districts, each with its individual theme and charm, musical offerings depend on where you find yourself within the event. From the metallic, futuristic, and cutting edge Dstrkt 5, offering the very finest in drum and bass, hardcore and rave, to the dystopian dust-bowl Wild West, home to extensive world, folk and and hillbilly stylings.
One of Boomtown’s most celebrated and most apparent themes, particularly in 2017, is its concentration on discovery. This is no better reflected in a lineup teeming with underground DJ talent, crossed with far-out genre-crossing world music, and sprinkled with international artists of legendary status. Partnered with an incentivising new app based on discovery, a scattered-yet-fluid site map, as well as limited signage, maps and directions; it’s all part of the experience. And while the latter most notably can be frustrating, particularly with the absence of signs indicating the name of the stage, or indeed signs on how to get to them, there is at least reason behind it.
Besides the depth and the extravagance, Boomtown still manages to put together a notably well organised event as well, with countless rows of toilets, more food and drink than you’d know what to do with, plenty of helpful staff and security, and incredible production values across the board. In truth it would be disrespectful to even limit Boomtown to the label of ‘music festival’; more a complete celebration of community and creativity. Boomtown is a shoe-in for festival of the year- an event simply incomparable, and like nothing else on offer in the UK.
+ Indescribable experience
– No way of finding out lineup until arrival
– Entry obviously ran into issues
– Clearer or more obvious signage/directions