Boomtown 2016

Published date: 25 August 2016 |
Published by: Jess Needham
Read more articles by Jess Needham


 

Boomtown to anyone that's unaware of the sheer sybaritic magic it always seems to create year on year, is by far my most favourite festival of the year. This year was the best yet. Chapter 8, which if you follow the story,  was the start of “ The Revolution.” Since 2014, Boomtown has been lead by Comrade Jose, Boomtowns glorious leader who was a symbol of hope and prosperity for everyone. As the divide between rich and poor has become ever greater, discontent and unrest have spread throughout the barrios and districts of Boomtown. Mayor Comrade Jose's allies are dwindling as she introduces new military conscription and her propaganda machine goes into overdrive in a bid to retain control. Meanwhile ever increasing numbers of rebels gather in the shadows beneath the city, ready to make their boldest move yet! This year saw the “ Masked Man” and his revolutionary army take over the brand new stage- Sector 6- a stage that blew my mind!

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, the sun was gleaming down on us as we waited excitedly for our campervan passes, we were lucky to find a spot right behind Sector 6 this year! Even in the daylight this stage was so impressive, as the story goes;  Originally purpose built as Comrade Jose's all singing, all dancing Nuclear Power Facility, reports of an industrial incident have been conflicting with the rumours that the illusive “ Masked Man” and his fellow revolutionaries have taken up residence in the labyrinth of tunnels that run deep undergound.

Our first night at Boomtown was so much fun, fully aquainting ourselves with the festival, which this year seemed so much bigger than the last. For people who haven't been to Boomtown before, the festival is divided into various districts. It is split into 10 totally individual districts across the four areas of the festival HillTop (Mayfair, OldTown, Wild West) DownTown (Barrio Loco, ChinaTown and DSTRKT 5), Temple Valley (TrenchTown & Sector 6) and Whistlers Green Area (Whistlers Green and KidzTown).

All the festival revellers were on great form, as always. Everyone seemed to be united, all at Boomtown for an escapism and total immersion of the magic and wonder Boomtown brings to our lives once a year. Everyone is there for each other too, we were all in the same crazy boat and so naturally we needed to keep a look out for each other.

The Matterley Bowl provides a stunning canvas for the Boomtown artists and architects to work with and they are remarkably sympathetic to nature in how they lay everything out. Especially for the Sector 6 stage, as a vertically challenged person I always struggle to see over heads at festivals and gigs, but due to the nature of the landscape I was able to skank my ass off quite comfortably at the top of the hill, with the greatest view I have ever witnessed during the closing set of DJ Hazzard and DJ Hype on Sunday night- that was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life! My feet are still aching from sheer amount of skanking that took place!

One of my unforgettable highlights of the festival would defintely have to be Beardyman, who played an awesome set at The Town Hall on Saturday afternoon. Beardyman went into a hyperactive sonic journey, beat-boxing elements of songs into the mic, then looping them using his array of samplers and layering extras over the top. What separates Beardyman from other beat-boxers and DJs is his sense of humour. At times, it is hard to tell whether you are experiencing a DJ-set, comedy show, poetry slam, concert, or some sort of performance art. In reality, it is all of the above and more, but the audience is never confused, only enthralled.  Other artists that blew my head right off were Benny Page Vs Ed Solo at The Lion's Den stage, then onto Sector 6 for Dub Phizix & Strategy, Audio and Calyx & Tebee.

Another highlight was Reeps One at the Poco Loco stage. He hit the stage for a monumentally mindblowing performance of sounds created solely by his voice. The atmosphere was convivial, I've only ever seen Harry perform at another festival and only caught the last 20 minutes of his set  so it was a delight to witness a full hour of his beatboxing talent. We all left the show gobsmacked at how much he has developed and would definitely go and see him again.

Also I must mention how deliriously happy I was to finally witness Fat Freddy's Drop live! They played the majestic Lion's Den stage, which I think was the perfect setting for their euphonious, soulful sounds. And wow they did not disappoint! The band have supreme musicianship and performance skills with a great interaction with their audience.  The perfect combination of captivating vocals, sounds from the DJ, brass and bass with a seriously bold horn section- I definitely want to see them again very soon!

That's the beauty of Boomtown, you get to see so many amazing live acts all under one crazy, colourful roof. I don't know how they do it, but every year the line up seems to get even better. I could go on for days about all of the unforgetable experiences I had at Boomtown, I could probably write a book! But for you to fully understand Boomtowns magic, you MUST go and experience it yourself. This years chapter was actually incomparable to all the other years, and actually any other festival I've attended. I'd like to say thank you to all organisers, as without you guys this insanely, astoundingly awesome festival wouldn't exist. So much imagination, passion and hard work goes into it, and it's truly awe-inspring to see it all come together.  A big thank you to all of the Boomtowners too, I personally am already counting down to Chapter 9!

  • See full story in the County Times

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