Boomtown 2016 Review

· Boomtown Fair

The festival of Boomtown is set deep in the Wiltshire hills. On a baking, sunny day, we arrived, tents and bags in tow, we clambered up the hills taking in the sheer magnitude of the scene. There were tents stretching as far as the eye could see, and with each corner past, new sounds, sights and colours. After the epic journey to our campsite was completed, we had to rest and find shade to cool down in after the sweaty and hilly walk up what seemed like miles of steep hill. Having settled down, refreshed, we browsed a festival guide and made a plan for the evening. 

Heading out to see our first act of the evening, Congo Natty, we soon became distracted by the endless array of shops, mini-bars, clubs hidden in make-shift buildings and the many bars and stages with hugely varied musical and entertainment performances. There were costumes and make-up, armed guards, wenches, booming music in every direction and the smell of a hundred different cuisines being prepared. Separated from the group, happily eating a great falafel wrap, I wandered into a small, open doorway. Inside, there was a band performing with all the enthusiasm of a packed out gig in Wembley stadium. About thirty excited fans jumping away in front of the stage, were joined by those, like myself, who had wandered in to check out what the fuss was about. I stayed for a couple of tunes, had a dance and moved on to the next adventure. No matter which direction I turned, there was a path leading to something new and exciting. Forest raves with sandy beach style dancefloors, 3D projections, pirate ships with acrobats performing and more and more unique and great musicians playing the most beautiful and enchanting music.

The majority of the attendees were dressed up and painted in one way or another and there was a very open and social atmosphere throughout. Finding a spot to sit in a huge field in front of a giant stage, with fire blowing out of the rigging like a dragon’s breath, I was quickly befriended by the neighbouring bunch of revellers. They insisted I join them on a journey to a far part of the festival where some gypsydelica band were due to perform. Naturally, I was intrigued, so we set off in the direction of some distant lights, past a small woodland. After walking for about half an hour, we arrived at a twisting forest path which took us through complete darkness for about five minutes. The darkness and increasing thud of the music beckoned us forward towards our goal, which, after stopping to meet some more friendly faces and make new friends, we arrived at. The dark path opened up into a kind of fairground village, with yet more stages, stalls and playgrounds.The gypsydelica band had the crowd jumping and I stayed as long as my legs would allow, slinking off before the end to find a cup of tea and something a bit more relaxing to wind down the evening with. Of course, it didn’t take long to find what I was looking for. Down a different path, (I chose the nearest downhill one I could find this time) and through another forest, I found myself in a clearing with hammocks, hot drinks and some lovely reggae music. I clambered into a hammock, drank a hot chocolate and soon drifted off to sleep.