Review BoomTown Fair 2014

Aug 28, 2014 by

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BoomTown Fair

Winchester, UK

7-10th August

Early in August we packed a tent, our wellies, and a few outrageous costumes, and headed to Boomtown Fair 2014. Based in Winchester, this mid-sized UK festival is an entire town built from the ground-up, designed to house a diverse selection of stages, artists and festivalgoers. Here’s our review:

One feature which sets Boomtown apart from other festivals is that you can choose to pitch your tent pretty much anywhere, whether it be right in the thick of things surrounded by festivalgoers and the constant thumping of bass lines, or perhaps on a hill overlooking the spectacle of Arcadia ( a giant mechanical spider, also known from Glastonbury).Those who’d rather have a quieter sleep at the expense of a slightly longer walk home are also well accommodated for, with plenty of room on the outskirts of this thoughtfully constructed festival. This included us, who settled on a great spot on the quiet edge of Trenchtown, one of several themed ‘districts’ the festival is divided into.

With impeccable timing the moment we had set up one of our tents the heavens opened and the rain came. Despite the downpours on Friday afternoon and most of Sunday everyone remained in good spirits throughout. It goes without saying that if you go to any summer festival in the UK you should prepare to get a little wet – wellies and waterproofs are essential! And not to worry if you’re caught short as there were plenty of stalls selling emergency ponchos and footwear at a fairly reasonable price. Saturday brought some sunshine which allowed for a spectacular view from the hill where we were camped, filling us with a sense of adventure as we set out to explore every little corner of the festival.

Much care has gone into ensuring Boomtown really is a festival with something for everyone. It’s safe to say none of the group we explored with would declare themselves huge ska, reggae or dub-step fans (the three genres most associated with this festival), and yet I’m hard-pressed to think of a moment we weren’t all dancing, exploring, or generally just having a great time. In one afternoon we’d go from dancing to a great ska band in a Wild-West themed venue, complete with costumed dancers and entertainers, to having a fiercely competitive space hopper race just a short walk away. And a short while later we observed as a man rode around atop a giant robot dog which shot flames out of it’s rear. Nope, I’m not making this up!

As for the music – there was a fantastic range of acts and genres. One of our highlights was the reggae talents on display in the ‘Hidden Forest’, a stage nestled in the woods, and a nice contrast to the ‘urban’ feeling of the rest of the festival. The epic dub tunes which roared around the giant mechanical spider of Arcadia were also great, and worked to lure bigger and bigger crowds towards it as the evenings went by, culminating in spectacular fire shows. Sound quality was on the whole fantastic throughout the festival, with only a few exceptions which I’ll put down to the pouring rain!

We at LondonSwedes would thoroughly recommend Boomtown Fair to anyone wishing to experience just how special a UK festival can be. It’s not just a set of stages and a campsite – it’s an experience which has to be seen (and heard) to be believed.

Visit their Facebook page BoomTown Fair 

Website for tickets for 2015 BoomTown Fair

Pictures from 2013 BoomTown Fair 2013

Photo credit: Howard Hill Photography, Carys Lavin, Scott Salt Photography, Daisy B Photography, Ben Davre Grape Productions, Adrian Jönsson