25 Aug Boomtown 2018 – The Machine Cannot Be Stopped
Ohana Magazine returned to Boomtown for a 4th consecutive year in what is rapidly becoming the favourite annual festival for us.
This year had an immediately noticeable difference – as the gates opened on the Wednesday for some ticket holders. Naturally – this had to be part of the plan! We headed down to multiple Downtown venues with special events on – Gardna did a crowd gathering Hidden Woods which left many in the crows wanting more – fortunately as a veteran Boomtown artist he still had 4 more sets over the weekend with the likes of Boomsound and Born On Road. Electrikal Sound System had a pop up venue too as a wall to Downtown for the Wednesday bringing in all the early birds out– a good extra days party I can vouch for that!
I was lucky enough to be given a Boomtown springs wristband – I headed up there after to see what this new feature of the festival had in store. Boomtown springs ticket holders received a warm welcome to their own private camping and reception field. I was greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne upon entry, which I sipped in glee as I walked around beautiful tepees and scenery – the infamous Boomtown theatrics and set build were extended here in style. An enthusiastic set of actors, and large palace-like backdrop on top of the hill came complete with its own outdoor swimming pool and sun lounger deck, adding a touch of class to the usual festival style, something that one Boomtown springs ticket holder explained was the reason he decided to come to Boomtown.
This year Boomtown had an impressive 100+ stages, 25 main and 80 smaller – it was always going to be a hard task to view them all – so I will keep it Ohana style.
Tangled roots seems to get better every year – this is the dub-styles forest area with punchy sound system line up under a treetop canopy for when you want to get out of the sun. Lots of skanking on sand and sweet smells to reenergise any raver. Dubtendo was another stand out stage this year – a Thursday evening was spent there, which now that all ticket holders were set up and partying, meant for a first night atmosphere to rival any other festival. Themed like a Games console, brightly coloured and lit, it added a quirky 90s effect to amuse. A special mention must be given to the incredible mash up set by Bish, which certainly got me in the mood for an eclectic mash up of styles that would set me up perfectly for the array of different music styles I would hear over the next few days. As longer term Ohana readers will know – I have always enjoyed the Wrong Side Of the Tracks stage – a giant recycled metal train – made by Gorilla Tactics productions with sound by the mighty Sinai Sound System. They certainly did not disappoint – this year their floorspace had doubled, and the DJ line up reflected this – with a UK debut performance from Russian jungle legend HOT. Fiery on stage dancers and captivating lighting and décor make this a go to every year for people who know how to party hard.
We left Gorillaz and headed down the track to the Boomtown psychedelic underworld, the Psy Forest – where Shpongle put on a headlining performance that seemed to energise every inch of the visually captivating forest surroundings. The performance was a unique highlight for that stage this week. Previous years have seen similar performances, making the Psy Forest headliner something worth checking out each year.
For myself, and I am sure many of you reading this, there was another must see performance on the line-up that I thought I would never get the chance to see. But thanks to the fascinatingly unpredictable line ups Boomtown churns out… Limp Bizkit was my Sunday choice over Die Antwoord. A nervous 20 min wait at the Town Hall stage built up the tension, before a full scale riot level of energy came through the speakers with the unforgettable words… my G G Generation! The next hour of music was to be one of the most vivid, nostalgic and unforgettable experiences as I shouted myself mute to banger after banger of indefatigable, rebellious metal. Only the biggest and loudest of his tunes were squeezed into the hour with impressive covers of Nirvanas Smells Like teen Spirit and Rage against the Machine’s Killing In The Name of. The crowd were brought together for a final headbanging fury for Break Stuff – and as the Sunday night’s music came to a close I was left with an uncontrollable grin and peace that that was the last thing I saw.
Of course naturally as Ohana family, the night went on for me… and Boomtown will continue to hold a special place with me. I urge all readers to look into going, it is worth travelling for – every year I meet groups of people from all over Europe and the word who make the annual mecca to Winchester, England, for this stunningly creative mind boggling masterpiece of a festival.
Thank you once again to Sammy, Ohana’s main man, and the press team at Boomtown who gave me this opportunity. Once again Boomtown has outdone itself, and the future of this festival looks to have a firm footing with an enthusiastic, creative attendee following combined with an ever upgrading set build and music range. Boomtown is worth the trip from wherever you are reading this, trust me. One love Ohana family.
Word by: Steve Brand
Photos by: Alec Taylor, George Harrison, Charlie Raven