BoomTown Fair, which takes place in the rolling Chiltern hills of rural Winchester, is the kind of festival you walk away from saying “What even happened this weekend? Was any of that real?” It combines the artistic flair of the likes of Bestival and the impeccable sound systems of Creamfields to create a truly unique weekend, quite possibly the most mind-bogglingly immersive experience I’ve ever had at a festival. The team behind it somehow turn a cluster of fields into an expansive living and breathing city like no other via clever set design and inventive use of space.
Styled as a ‘city’ with different districts, BoomTown has an attention to detail matched by none which helps create a fully immersive experience for the festival goers. Different zones include a traditional (ish) Wild West at one end of the city and the futuristic Distrikt 5 in the Downtown area. All these distinct zones act as suburbs to the Central Palace which towers above the whole of Downtown; on Friday evening, the Palace came alive, fire and everything. With the DJ booth perched high above the crowd, it felt more like we were watching a sermon than a disc jockey.
possibly the most mind-bogglingly immersive experience i’ve ever had
A highlight of the festival is its open set up, with camping and music intertwined throughout instead of the conventional separation of the camp site and main arena. You could take your own drink to go and watch the music instead of having to hide a lukewarm can of lager in your wellies (or nether region) to get it past security.
Of course, it’s one thing to have an amazing looking festival, but one of the main reasons people attend BoomTown is its quality lineup, which has a distinct dub, ska and drum and bass focus. Although I will be the first to admit that when I first looked at the lineup I certainly didn’t recognise as many acts as I usually would, entering into the unknown allowed for a very refreshing festival experience. Instead of being a slave to my own carefully planned timetable of bands, I was able to simply wander around the site and see what I could find. One act I certainly recognised and was incredibly excited for was the legendary Sir David Rodigan who is arguably the most famous and influential reggae DJ the UK has to offer. His set did not disappoint and was perfect for the BoomTown crowd who clearly appreciated his selection of both old and new music which fitted the wide age range the festival attracts.
With music on continuously from Wednesday to sunrise on Monday morning and constant scatterings of performers of a distinctly adult nature (including pole dancing robots), BoomTown is certainly not for the faint hearted. However, if you think you’re up for it, you are in for a mind-bending weekend of hedonism and organised anarchy.