My festival experience started with a wander down in to a bottomless pit of a field, which, upon my arrival, had the most incredible ancient Aztec looking stage – the perfect acoustics for Stephen Marley to start the festival off with reggae classics for all crowds. The atmosphere swelled as the slope side reverberated the sound of what was to come out of the booming temple for the next 3 days, and it did not fail to impress when Shy FX, the ultimate festival pleaser, had the field full with energy, style and unique flare.
Traverse the forest paths with consciousness-questioning installations until you reach the Psychedelic Forest, whose headline act was Infected Mushroom – owning every inch of smoke and mirror as the Israelian live vocal trance had every fire poi master and tribe of frog veteran totally immersed in the visual insanity and detail in the forest. Over the weekend the Forest played host to a number of acts that drew in an eclectic mix of neon and circus skills. This was to prove more popular then I could have imagined, the sand on the ground adding that soft touch for the more awkward of movers.
No minute detail was spared in the Wild West, straw was strewn, barrels became benches, and pistol toting outlaws hung from the rafters making each reveller feel like they were on a Hollywood film set. The mix of rooms, or ‘saloons’ had artists spanning all underground genres with BPM ranges from door to door that would guarantee listening pleasure for each reveller – depending on how far they wanted to go into the weird and wonderful world to find out! Months of work had clearly been given to the installations, with a special mention to the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ – a saloon that opened up to reveal a time-snatched train looming forward as the DJs took control of the dance floor that flanked the metal beast from the ‘drivers seat’.
The Boombox needs more than just a special mention, the improved look and lighting made it feel like it had been brought up into the DAB spec of technology, whilst the DJ’s remained trapped in time in a cassette style DJ booth. DJ’s from lower BPM ranges and mixed up styles dominated the Boombox, with Scratch Perverts proving to be one of the highlights of my weekend as the container-enclosed dance area was comfortably cosy with energy from front to back. Who knew the cold solid steel of MAERSK could contain such a party!
Banghai Palace – proving how a festival should be ended. The final night saw Ratpack draw in the crowds with a set of rave classics for all, until Goldie went back to back with Dillinga to thunder through the heart of every dancer with an energy inducing set that culminated in the most amazing audio visual finale I have ever seen at a festival! Tying in with the Boomtown ‘news’ reports that had been surfacing to build the festival excitement, a group of fist clenching, masked and draped-in-black ‘unknowns’ had everyone buzzing at the prospect that the ‘revolution is here’… and that the next Boomtown will undoubtedly be bigger and better with another story to captivate the audience.
My overall review of Boomtown would be that this festival hits the spot with the mix of underground artists, whilst balancing out the acts with bands a plenty and venues even more so. The line up may not look like it rolls with the big names in UK festivals, but when combined with the detail in the setting, there is far more interesting and captivating fun to be had at Boomtown that no other festival can rival. This is for someone who wants a truly different and special festival experience.
A playground for adults… which I will certainly be returning to!
Words by : Steve Brand