BoomTown Fair 2014 Review

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.

Check out the official Boomtown Fair 2014 video right here!

Boomtown Fair 2014 SOLD OUT

BoomTown Fair has sold out for the sixth year in a row! Even after increasing the capacity by over 20% to 38,000, this ever popular event has shifted all of the tickets to the annual Fair and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down! With an astonishing array of musical genres covered by the headliners alone; The Cat Empire, NOFX, Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Shaggy, The Skatalites, Tinariwen, Bellowhead, New Model Army, Alabama 3, Lady Saw, Raggasonic, Afro Celt Sound System alongside 400 more artists, this juggernaut of a festival truly does deliver across the board!

BoomTown Fair isn’t your average UK festival, offering its attendees or ‘residents’ a fully interactive pop-up city with boulevards of buildings to explore and various venues to get thoroughly stuck into. The fair has a hugely theatrical feel and delves into the attendee’s psyche to unlock the feelings of childlike wonderment and fantasy, and with the increased revenue from ticket sales being directly reinvested into the artistic and theatrical elements, BoomTown has further built upon its boundary pushing creative environment!! With hundreds of walkabout and sideshow performers, intricate and engaging sets as well as an ethical ethos and a disregard for the norm, over the past six years BoomTown Fair has established itself as one the UKs most spectacular events and unlike any other on the scene at the moment!

With the Fair a few days away it’s time to sum up what to expect at this year’s event, all the new areas, the old favourites and the stealthy shenanigans! New areas to keep an eye open for this year include the Wild West Street, which comes fully stocked with two watering holes, the Crazy Calamities and the Rusty Spur, a rogue Sherriff and some Hill-Billy Bluegrass bands on hand to provide the perfect soundtrack! Across the way in the OldTown district, the ginormous Pirate Ship, The Jolly Dodger has landed and will be the host of many a Pirate band including a full on Pirate Takeover on the Sunday of the festival. The Old Mines will be presiding over the wholesome Whistlers Green District with world class folk artists such as Bellowhead, Tinariwen and Afro Celt Sound System. As you might expect from BoomTown, nothing is totally traditional, much like the festival itself, the acts picked are known for pushing the boundaries and adding their own twist on things!!

BoomTown Fair will return to Matterley Estate from 7th – 10th August with a theme of Outrageous Carnival connecting the nine individual districts, the streets of BoomTown are once again going to be awash with amazing sets, colourful characters and creative communities!

Shaggy, The Skatalites and Alabama 3 join Boomtown Fair lineup

Chapter six of BoomTown’s annual Fair is set to surpass anything they’ve done before, and that is no mean feat for the UKs most boundary pushing festival! New additions to its already immense line-up include one of the biggest crossover successes in dancehall reggae, the one and only Shaggy! As well as blues, country, electro fusion outfit Alabama 3 and the final edition to the bill is legendary Jamaican ska institution The Skatalites, if any one band could be attributed to brining the genre out of its homeland and to the masses, it’s this ever evolving line-up of ska stalwarts! These newly announced acts will be joining the hundreds of artists already announced including headliners The Cat Empire, NOFX, Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Tinariwen and Bellowhead.