Boomtown festival opened its doors once again on 10th-13th August. In the lead up to the festival each year, the city and the story behind it is added to from previous years. The citizens have previously gone through alien presences and even a revolution, whereas this year the new CEO of fictitious multinational Bang Hai Industries presented the unfolding narrative of what really was going on in Chapter 9: Behind the Mask.
After entering the city gates, the magnitude of effort that is put into creating this festival is clear. It feels more than just returning to a festival each year, it feels like returning home. Walking from wherever you chose to camp to the first stage is never as hard as most festivals. The camping and stages are closely entwined, meaning you can most probably stumble from your favourite stage to your tent in less than five minutes if you plan your camping spot well.
This year, there was outrage in the news as some attendees who entered the camp on Thursday waited up to eight hours to enter the festival. Boomtown organisers have since apologised to those it effected saying “Despite receiving almost four weeks of solid rain before the festival, we managed to get the event up and running, which, for a moment, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to. We’re so proud of all the team pulling together in the conditions we were under, however there were some obvious issues and delays which caused knock on effects throughout the duration of the event.”
The gun fingers littering the air early Friday evening at Sector 6 for Ed Solo b2b Deekline’s jungle set made it clear, along with hazy eyes, that the audience had far since forgotten their eight hour wait.
I then walked through the psy-forest, with its neon colours and seemingly endless psytrance rhythmic beats oozing out of the trees to make my way through to the Town Centre to see ska legends Reel Big Fish, who, despite making a late appearance, did not disappoint and had the crowds jumping around to brass basslines, finishing on ‘Take On Me’ which was the audience’s favourite.
Returning to Sector 6, The Prototypes set began with a video from Bang Hai productions, keeping the city in check and following on the storyline. The drum and bass duo from Brighton played most of their popular tunes, including ‘Electric’ and ‘The Lights’ to which the seemingly endless crowd covering Sector 6 and father back into the hills were all bopping along.
Come Saturday daytime, the sun was shining on the different sectors of Boomtown and made for a great time to wander the towns. This year there was an interactive app that you could download, called Bang Hai People, in which you could trail the cities scanning QR codes and real life townspeople acted out a story that unfolded as you explored.
Early evening, Newton Faulkner played at the Old Mines to a happy crowd who all sang along to his classic, ‘Dream Catch Me’. A little later and one of the headline acts, The Specials, played at the Lions Den to a packed audience who eagerly anticipated their renowned ‘A Message to you Rudy’ to which everyone sang along with arms waving.
Fabio and Grooverider played a selection of unreleased music from the likes of Guv, Turno and Ed Solo in what proved to be one of the most well received sets of the weekend.
In the heart of the Wild West, the stage Wrong Side of the Tracks, located in a saloon style building in the cityscape is fully equipped with its own train and banging sets throughout the weekend from the likes of Uncle Dugs’s four hour set on Sunday.
Once again, Boomtown provided an incredible journey to all who went, not only from a musical perspective but the general ambience too. They also had additional drug awareness campaigns before the festival and provided free drug testing kits in partnership with charity, The Loop.
Boomtown is looking to return to Matterley Estate over the 16th – 19th August 2018 for Chapter 10: ‘The Machine Cannot be Stopped’ and you can keep up to date with all the Boomtown news via Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube.