Boom Town festival
- By Adam Holden -
- Aug 20, 2012
Sat at the corner of Mayfair Avenue, opposite the Park Hotel, thousands of revellers wonder dazed and confused passed the Bank and on towards the Town Centre popping in and out of the pubs and clubs on their way.
Anyone could be forgiven for thinking this is a festival, but that’s exactly what Boom Town Fair is; a festival like no other, where rationale thinking is nowhere to be seen. There is nothing vanilla about Boom Town and only a curmudgeon could be pessimistic about it.
Every inch of the festival is thought about carefully, with an incredible make shift town in the centre of Boom that includes bars, clubs, casinos and restaurants; even the town centre has a memorial where the line-up for the Town Centre stage is engraved upon the back of.
As the sun sets and the night time dawns upon Boom Town, you really begin to feel that inner city town centre vibe – especially with the rowdy-drunken people walking the streets, but then you retire to you humble abode which is a tent on a hillside.
Every club and pub is themed to precision that keeps in with the post-apocalyptic outer-space fantasy theme that Boom Town decided upon this year. On entry to Charlie Brown’s Casino, you must answer questions on Mr Brown before entering. The pubs and clubs appear scarily realistic from the outside and everyone is unique with different genres of music, including ska, dub step, electro, techno, punk, hip hop, reggae and rhythm and blues, which is where some of the best fun can be found.
Enter the casino outside opening hours and the black jack and roulettes table have now become dance floors and a full on rave is in effect. In the streets, cars are reminiscent of war zones and mechanical aliens walk the streets breathing fire. The entire town has that rustic dirty feel to it, even though the sun shined all weekend.
However, the main attraction is yet to be spoken about. With Glastonbury’s Arcadia Spectacular being brought in to design the stages and town, the artistic wizards have been given their own stage – creatively called Arcadia. Despite its mundane name, there is nothing mundane about the stage; in fact, it’s one of the most unique and just outright craziest stages you will ever witness – if you can even call it a stage.
Keeping in touch with the space theme, the Arcadia stage is a four-legged arachnid-like creature that stands two or three stories high. On the Friday and Sunday night, epic shows were displayed from this industrial-robotic like monster that completely dazzled the revellers and was easily the talk of the town. The DJ booth is suspended below the spider-like creature, and above the crowd, allowing the fans to create a 360 degree dance floor that got destroyed by the likes of the Ratpack and the Stanton Warriors. As the creature comes to life, acrobatics hang two and fro whilst lasers penetrate the night sky and enormous blasts of fire light up the festival with the crowd feeling the intense heat. It really is something that has to be seen to believe, but full credit goes to the organisers and Arcadia Spectacular for creating something so distinctive and incomparable.
Elsewhere, Jimmy Cliff was the surprise announcement on Sunday, whilst headliner Beenie Man cancelled at the last minute, although that seemed to have no effect on the party atmosphere that was pervaded throughout Boom Town.
If the hustle and bustle of the street life is too much for you, as like any good major city, the nightlife can become very hectic and lively towards midnight, there are plenty of escapes situated outside the town. The Hidden Woods provide this sanctuary. Located a short walk from town, the woods contain a make-shift beach where one can chill, relax, have a cocktail or keep on skanking. There is a lot of skanking going on in Boom Town, especially with the likes of Reel Big Fish and Sonic Boom Six performing.
The festival itself is situated outside Winchester in the Matterley Bowl and over 25,000 thousand punters pitch tents and set themselves for a three day rave that is not for the faint hearted.
From the top of the hill, the festival draws many comparisons to a miniaturised Glastonbury. However, it is not just the aesthetics and geology of the area that do this, it is the atmosphere created by the organisers, festival-goers and artists; as well as the fact that you can ferry your alcohol around the arena’s and campsite without the worry of covertly sneaking in them pass security on your way to see the headliners like most other festivals.
With a crowd that is rarely seen at any other, this festival truly is for the real traveller and true hippie and is easy to see why Boom Town has sold out the last two years, so just make sure you are prepared to get your ticket for next year’s festival early, as they will no doubt sell out!
By Adam Holden.
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