It’s been a couple of weeks since we left Boomtown and I’m still not 100% on how to describe the Festival, I will say it’s the most immersive and entertaining festival I have visited. I think the most common term I heard all weekend was “This place is West” in the best possible way! And I know we didn’t get a chance to see everything but we also know we will be back! Boomtown is just too big and has so much to offer everyone to be able to take everything in, in one chapter.
So for everyone who can only manage to read a few lines of a post looking for a review, ours for Boomtown fair would be 10 out of 10! Every festival goer must go, really! I will expand on why below for those who don’t mind a little reading.
Pro’s & Con’s
- Well staffed with friendly security, helpful support staff.
- Well planned out 10am – 4am always something going on.
- Spoilt for choice with food, all priced reasonably. (some 24 hours)
- Once through the main gates no more security checks. (Take your own drinks to stages)
- 25 main stages and over 80 street venues. (check out grandma’s living room)
- The festival motto Respect Yourself, Respect Each Other, Respect Your City which was seen throughout the site,always felt safe and trouble free.
- Music till 4am how it should be, none of this music ending at 11pm rubbish.
- Its so big you can’t see everything, in one go. (Not sure that’s a problem but we had to try to think of some)
- Bad signal – More mobile mast’s needed – 3/4g was very patchy.
- The car park passes need to be vinyl or something that actually peels off!
- Not the organiser’s fault at all, but something needs to be done with the amount of tents left behind, maybe have some form of deposit system if you bring a tent you have leave a £50 deposit that you get back when leaving if you still have the tent.
Set in the stunning Matterley bowl in Hampshire it is a perfect location. A couple of valleys and hills help separate the mainstages, with woods in between all filled with smaller stages, chill out areas and workshops had been planned to perfection. We didn’t arrive until the Friday morning unfortunately but we probably missed any queues as we literally drove into the car park, got our gear and had a 5-minute walk to the gates with only a few people in front of us.
Security at the gates were polite and not at all aggressive as we have found at other festivals over the last couple of years. Then another 5 minute walk to our campsite in Boomtown Springs which made a change not having a 2 mile hike across muddy fields, where we were greeted by tongue in cheek barbie and kens sporting American accents, offering help and guidance, (although they wouldn’t put our tents up for us maybe that was a bit much to ask). After getting our tents up we went for a look around Boomtown Springs we had a lovely marquee set up for a reception area with loungers and carpeted floor and sockets for charging (do bring your own 3 pin USB sockets as its just extension leads with plug sockets) we had a few food vendors and our own bar none ever had much of a queue and the mansion with its swimming pool looked fantastic.
The toilet blocks were amazing for a festival, with proper cubicles and actual flushing toilets, carpeted floors, sinks with mirrors and even hand wash! The shower block was also a well thought out big marquee, carpeted with private cubicles. I had previously always looked at the people going VIP as missing out on the whole festival vibe, but to wake up the next morning and use a clean toilet, then go for a nice hot shower was an eye-opener for me! They even had an area for hairdryers/straighteners makeup! Then all clean and fresh to pick up a coffee and stroll back to my tent before the stages opened was the icing on the cake. When I arrived back there were two of the welcome crew pushing a bike around offering everyone yesterday’s news (Friday’s paper) sporting massive smiles wishing everyone a great day! It could be that I’m getting older now but I think its VIP all the way for me now, for the non vip campers there was plenty of compost toilets around the site it was rare to see huge ques for them and all seemed well looked after with huge pallets of fresh wood chips to put down before you go. And free water taps were abundant and i did notice a lot of people using recyclable bottles.
Boomtown spings is set on the other side of a small hill to the main festival so stays fairly quiet compared to the campsites like in sector 6 where you’re literally camping on both sides of a hill with the main stage at the bottom. You could even stay at your tent and see it all when camping in the main campsites around the stages. However for those of us fortunate enough to be in Boomtown Springs it was just a short walk up and you are in paradise heights, copper county, town center or the psy forest, and from there the whole site is just a shortish walk away.
Musically, there is literally something for everyone, The diversity of music is the great thing about Boomtown, we should all try opening our minds to new music now and then. And Boomtown is the perfect place to move out of your comfort zone and to try something a little different. I couldn’t tell you half the acts we watched now, as we spent a lot of time going through the smaller stages like grandma’s living room, the job center (great Christmas party on the Sunday!) or dubtendo, where acts and Dj’s seemed to be banging out the tunes, over self-promoting. You could go into one and its hardcore banging out, nip out of there and end up listening to folk music while marrying a gypsy in the gypsy disco, and quickly running away from that to a room with comfy sofas and loungers to chill out to some jazz music. Basically, it’s just an amazing, weird and wonderful world where you can be anything you want to be, listen to anything you want to, as long as you treat yourself and others with respect you will have an amazing time.
Food and drinks again really well thought out i think they had everyone covered from meat eaters to the most devout vegan, and even fussy children, every where we ate was great food and all for fair prices even the bars didn’t have bad prices, the food areas could really be classed as there own food festival with such abundant choices really top notch.
Having The Loop involved i think is a must for all festivals, the zero tolerance policy on the door is great but drugs always get in and it is clear that a lot of people at Boomtown are using them, I’m not saying we condone drug use but being at a festival the size of Boomtown and seeing no trouble at all, compared to some other festivals with a lot stricter and in some cases aggressive security forcing people to drink copious amounts of alcohol and seeing a lot of fights breaking out, i personally think Boomtown have the right attitude, with the Loop testing drugs,and educating and supporting people must take a huge burden off untrained security staff, and keep the festival running so much smoother without as much worry, Boomtown really leads the way in promoting its Respect campaign of respect yourself, respect each other, respect your town, with how they respected there guests.
Oh and stay out of the inconvenience store if you don’t like a bit of abuse, as we walked past a lad was being shouted at for shoplifting had his hand duct taped to his head and had been thrown out of the store (all in a safe fun way of course) I wish we had, had time to see everything over the weekend, but the huge array of choice means you have to plan it out if you want to make the most of it. However it’s worth just wandering about and taking it all in if you’re thinking of going next year.
I think Die Antwoord said it best in the closing of the Lions Den.
Boomtown “I fink U freeky, and i like you a lot“
Unfortunately our cameras memory card has been damaged and most of our photo’s were lost, we did put a fair few on Instagram with our phone cameras though, hopefully we will be back next year and be able to take our 360 cameras for some amazing photos, videos and if the internet is a bit better then maybe a livestream or 2.