Nobody can deny the attention to detail that organisers of Boomtown Fair put into creating this crazy town was nothing short of incredible. This is a festival that has to be explored- there are so many things happening, but 4 days is probably not enough time to get around every nook and cranny. But I gave it a good crack!
A week ago, I was scared:
I’d done a bit of research and seen pictures of the largest collection of freaks and weirdo’s that I’d ever seen (yes, even more than you’d normally find at Endorse It In Dorset). So, without my normal bunch of friends to care for each other, I was sceptical about this new town that would be my home for the next few days. Luckily, a great crowd of friends were at the festival, so a camp was found and we were off.
I needn’t have been scared. Every single person I met was so friendly. Ultra friendly. It was like living in a neighbourhood where everybody loved each other. And my immediate next door neighbours turned out to be a troupe of burlesque dancers who insisted on sitting around topless all weekend. (But, trust me, that part wasn’t as necessarily as good as it might sound – especially as they all started partying at 6am in the morning).
With the exception of a few of the acts, the music on offer was not normally what I’d call my cup of tea. Primarily reggae, ska, gypsy, dub with an added dose of hardcore techno thrown in would not normally attract me to a festival. But I think I fell in love with every genre I heard at least one time over the weekend (even if by Sunday I was starting to hate some of it – purely because I’d heard it so much and my feet hurt from dancing).
For many (most?) the ultimate highlight of Boomtown was the Arcadia stage. Anybody who has been to Glastonbury should be familiar with Arcadia and it’s giant ‘spider-stage’, with acrobats and the most spectacular fire show. The Arcadia people have taken the stage (in smaller versions) to other festivals but they bought the full spider to Boomtown and its location in the centre of the Matterley Bowl made it even more spectacular than ever. The added bonus of being able to watch the show from up on the hill (and away from the 5,000 or so punters dancing like crazy below) made it even more special. The only downpoint for Arcadia (for me) was some of the repetitive music and MCs that seemed to be on loop. It’s unfair to criticise it for that though, that’s my personal taste and thousands of people were having the time of their life.
The Dub Pistols showed that they’re really on top of their game (again) pulling one of the biggest main stage crowds on the opening day with a high energy set that refused to let you sit down for more than 30 seconds. They also played a couple of DJ sets later in the day which were equally well received. They’re putting in a good claim for more headline slots, so festival organisers take note – you could do a lot worse than put these boys on top of the bill.
So many other acts left a big impression on me, but it was the appearance of Special Guest Jimmy Cliff that was the icing on the cake. Having seen him just two weeks earlier, I wasn’t looking forward to his set as he never impressed at all. But the sound at Boomtown (unlike at Lulworth) was 100% spot on, and he played I Can See Clearly Now this time too!