Booooom! Town Fair

Art & Culture

It has taken a while to finally touch back down to reality from Boomtown, but alas here we are and ready to tell the tale…

It was of course a sheer delight upon arrival to be met by no end of hippy looking tipis, the usual Ferris wheel and for the first time ever at a festival, a fully staged town. From Downtown up to the ASBO disco and back round to the Gentlemens club, the streets meandered through hidden stages behind fake walls and around giant sculptures that signalled crossroads. It was easy to be left feeling like a lost character in a childrens game of toy-town. Escapism is what was promised… and that is what we got!

Whether it was the nature of the surroundings or just the crazy lunatics in attendance, every single person was in full fancy dress and fully immersed in whatever character they portrayed be that a Gorilla, a scarecrow  or a group of policemen pulling a jailbird on a chain – the principle of story-telling had filtered  throughout and everybody was enjoying it. 

The streets were roamed by the likes of Mad Max characters and stripping Chimps, all so captivating in their roles, the realism lead to either genuine fear or outright hysterics in either case you were certainly left entranced. The street performance didnt end there, all the stops were pulled out on this front from flame throwing daredevils to cycling pianist duos, there was a surprise round ever corner of particular fascination to watch was contortionist Rosie Cheeks, performing her mind-boggling body twisting from within a window high in one of the towns buildings.

Although sometimes hard to find, hidden behind their mdf facade there were all in all 25 stages with a hugely broad range of pleasing music, from dub and reggae to ska and rockabilly and of course drum and bass and dubstep for all those bass junkies. Headliners Gogol Bordellos main stage performance was certainly as colourful and energetic as the group themselves, while Only Joe got the crowd bouncing and Zincs flamboyant basslines got people crowding for hundreds of metres beyond the bassline circus.   

The Lions Den, reeking of reggae root vibes and a chilled atmosphere was adorned by many a festivalite during the day times and into the night – the perfect jam to enjoy a beer, and absorb the heavy basslines of the dub and reggae from the impeccable Funktion 1 sound system whilst engrossing your eyes in the ribbon dancers . Congo Natty, Gentlemans Dub Club and Laid Blak, as expected all performed to the highest degree providing an aural pleasure that was complimented largely by the jungle themed decor and the intricate lighting.

The Bad apple bar, undoubtedly with the most important job in town kept the festival very well juiced and a shot of the 10 year old cider brandy was an absolute steal at only 6. In fact this was the case throughout the festival, where pints could be found for 3.10 and tea a generous 1 putting Boomtown right up there as one of the most reasonably priced festivals in the UK. 

Boomtown was certainly a new festival experience and one not to be forgotten, taking us back to the grassroots of festivalism and leaving us… well, a little mind-spun to say the least. When talking to fellow festivalites about their impressions of Boomtown one word cropped up that although at first was incomprehensible soon began to make a whole world of sense… ‘Bookee’, although its true meaning remains an enigma, can be good or it can be bad (make note of the facial expression) but it definitely means ‘weird’… ‘out there’… ‘next’ – and thus ‘Bookee’ perhaps remains the best word attributed to Boomtown 2011.  

The team have announced they are already planning for next year, and (thankfully) in search of a new venue Matterley Bowl just wasnt cutting the mustard with its 45degree camping surfaces, so Boomtown’s going to need somewhere to put its exponentially increasing fan base next year… theyve risen the bar of crazy this year and we imagine theres much more to come…