Boomtown Fair was a mesmerizing spectacle this summer, they really pulled out the stops at Matterley Estate (Winchester). There was something for everyone to enjoy and it was the largest scale of production that the festival had ever achieved. The vibe was pretty excitable, despite the rain people had no shame in exploring the city, having fun and letting their hair down.
The attention to detail was incredible –the sets and different themed locations within the camp have developed stylistically, with entertainers and dancers everywhere you looked. The main acts were huge this year, the Gorillaz performed their new album, the eccentric duo from South Africa, Die Antwoord were epic, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff made a come back, Mali world music super stars Amadou and Mariam played as well as 2-Tone Ska icons the Selector and the legend that is Goldie.
On top of the huge line up that featured over 500 acts, across the 80 street venues, 27 main stages, interwoven between the 14 different districts, the festival also brought their immersive storyline to life with interactive maze games and clues. Furthermore, it was really refreshing that the festival supported independent musicians and encouraged public improvisation. One of the highlights was catching my friend Ayesha Tan Jones jam with someone that I had just met called Nathan Blindt who turned out to be the keyboard player for The Bad Manners.
The festival was incredibly outspoken about climate justice, well-being and the importance of minimizing its environmental impact in terms of waste. They launched The Respect Campaign – which was split into three components: Respect Yourself, Respect Each Other, Respect Your City. The Loop returned with their drug testing service, where people can also receive one to one counselling. Lastly, they invested in sustainability and recycling processes and highlighted that they had a zero tolerance to harassment of any kind.
“We really want everyone in attendance to fully understand the impact we collectively and individually have on this planet and to try to raise awareness and consciousness of this within the wider festival environment, this will form the foundations of what we want the Radical City chapter to explore… “
– Boomtown organisers
The machine may not have been stopped, but will it have to adapt to survive.
Boomtown CH11: A Radical City – 7th – 11th August 2019