As powerful as words can be, on occasion they don’t quite do an emotion, an experience or a feeling justice, this goes for trying to explain the extravaganza that was last weekend’s BoomTown Fair!! The 38,000 attendees at the fully independent event held at the Matterley Estate, Winchester, saw a cacophony of eccentric characters roaming the exquisitely crafted street sets to the rich soundtrack of some of the world’s greatest musicians. In short, BoomTown is a fantasy land where exploration and wonderment are at the forefront of all attendee’s minds for four whole days and nights and must be seen to be believed! The best way to get a feel for the ultimate in immersive entertainment on offer is by way of the official video from 2014:
BoomTown Fair 2014 saw the unique event enter Chapter Six: A New Twist! Where the underlying theatrical storyline took centre stage with time travel, carnival’s, outlaws and dastardly plotting all taking place within the overarching message of community, unity and kinship. Free from the shackles of commercialisation or investment dictators BoomTown’s creative founders are able to push the boundaries of the festival blueprint in such a ground-breaking way, where many other festivals are held back by the people that hold the purse strings. Since BoomTown is purely funded on ticket sales alone, this means the people that call the shots are the ticket buyers which gives the freedom for creativity to flourish! Such a set up allows for the introduction of many quirky interactive elements such as the BoomTown Citizenship ‘No Boarders passport’ which saw the festival attendees set on a mission to fulfil a series of tasks, collecting stamps along the way and to fill the entire passport, thus gaining the coveted status of Official BoomTown Citizen!
Alongside the immersive and theatrical elements of the festival that aim to promote a sense of community among the festival audience, there was also an impressive selection of new stages; the beautiful and rickety Old Mine stage with a moveable waterwheel hosting the finest Folk and World musicians nestled deep into the trees; the 100ft Pirate Ship stage with its fire spinning aerialists and swash buckling tightrope walkers; the treetop walk way of the Hidden Woods beach party haven and the new Sandcastles stage for the mini boomers in KidzTown all went down an absolute treat!
The acts that brought all stages to life over the four days are so bountiful only a small selection can be highlighted… Legendary reggae band The Wailers kick started proceedings in the early afternoon sunshine on Friday at the 40ft Aztec temple stage, The Lion’s Den; The hauntingly beautiful sounds of Mali’s desert men, Tinariwen filled the Old Mine area with soulful and spine-tingling music, ChinaTown Courtyard welcomed a plethora of jump-up ska bands such as Jaya the Cat, Will and the People and Original High Five, Town Centre was pumping on Sunday evening with the band in residence, Babyhead smashing out their anthemic tunes along with closing show act The Cat Empire making the ground shake and the walls shudder with the sheer energy and atmosphere they created!
BoomTown Fair worked closely with the local authorities to produce a safe and secure event. According to the Hampshire Police statistics, in comparison to previous years, reports of theft, criminal damage and possession of drugs were significantly reduced.
We are all left in total bewilderment…did that ju st happen?? Wow!! The creativity, unity and energy from so many like-minded people at this year’s Fair was simply mind blowing!! What we created between us exceeded all expectations and took the world of interactive festivals to a completely different level!! A huge, massive thank you to the 1000's that helped bring this crazy story to life, bring on Chapter Seven!
Lak Mitchell – Creative Director & Co-Founder – BoomTown Fair