“I never want to see another f**king hill again,” one BoomTown goer moaned as they left the festival early Sunday evening for the wind-protected respite of home. And so BoomTown came to an end for many in that fashion; drips and drabs of goers relenting after three days of hazardous rain and wind, tired limbs aching from raving up and down the hilliest festival in existence.
But it was certainly not a waste. Boasting one of the finest, most eclectic line-ups this summer, BoomTown Fair offered up a fair distraction from the beating rain.
Thursday and Friday afternoon, before the downpour, the likes of reggae punks Dirty Revolution, The Wailers and the dub-rap stylings of Soom T soothed many underneath the atmospheric awnings of the pop-up city; a veritable testament to themed festival architecture that rivals Glastonbury itself.
In fact, if one pictures BoomTown as Glastonbury’s South East Corner – yet boasting less dystopian anti-capitalist allegories – then one would hold an accurate drawing of the entirety of BoomTown Fair; all stages are a-flow with ornamental arrays and add-ons that belie the fact that they’re stages at all. Certainly it’s a feat Glastonbury could not manage given its size, but BoomTown manages just fine.
Unfortunately for the festival, some of the most coveted acts are outside in the would-be sunshine; halfway through The Skints’ 5.30pm set, the rain begins and seems to never stop. “We’re going to keep playing until they literally force us to stop,” jokes singer and guitarist Josh Rudge, but it appears their equipment may never recover from the storm. Moreover, the heavy rain dampens later sets from Easy Star All Stars, Russkaja, Afro Celt Sound System and Bellowhead; while all take the limited numbers and cheer in their stride as such impeccable musicians do, it begs the question; how bloody amazing would they have been inside, or in better conditions? Perhaps the organisers will find it in their hearts to give them another chance at next year’s BoomTown.
While the continuing rain drives festival goers to their tents, or to the inside late-night venues in hope of better fare, at least Saturday is all sunny sides up; save for the fact that Dunkelbunt were unceremoniously moved earlier, leaving many angry and confused when electro-swing pioneers Tape 5 take to their stage in their later slot. Luckily, Black Star Dub Collective prefaced the disappointment with an inspired set within the woodland retreat, while anarcho-punks Autonomads woke up the masses, as The Filaments with ‘Bastard Coppers’ were to later.
If only it could have lasted; the rain drives down once again during Slamboree’s Soundystem show at the towering Arcadia, carrying on through Dreadnought’s late-night ballsy set and until 11am the next day; many tents that were not flooded Friday, flooded that night.
Moreover, the Town Centre stage the following day proved to be a wash-out, as its cancellation added an extra fist-shake curse to the skies. Despite the day’s better weather, The Urban Folk Quartet’s fantastic triangle solo and Macka B’s ensuing good-vibe guide, Sunday proved too much for many as a chaotic miasma of abandoned tents blew over the site. While BoomTown, which sells out every year, certainly offers up first class entertainment and artwork second to none – accompanied by a scene-focused and professionally-picked line-up – it can’t hold off the weather. Despite this, the festival is one that all should flock to at each once; long may it reign.