It is now less than a week until the utopian world of Boomtown graces Winchester for It’s 11th Chapter. As cheap tents and wavy shades get brought, we are collectively finding it very difficult to contain our excitement; Britain’s wonky weekender is our favourite of the calendar year, and by the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll find it easy to see why. Somehow, 2019 has managed to top the eclecticism Boom achieved last August, so to pack in everyone we think you should be seeing, we’ve devised a day by day run down of who we will be dashing across the site to see.
If you’ve fancied yourself to survive an extra day of relentless skanking, then Boomtown has rewarded you through some fine DJs and sound systems, our favourite of the bunch being Mungo’s HiFi, who have frequent collaborator Eva Lazarus performing with them. The Scottish group will also be playing at the Lion’s Den on Sunday, but seeing them in the more intimate Psy Forest could end up being one of the best sets the festival showcases this year.
Tears are shed and soldiers fall on the Thursday, when 60,000 people descend onto the City looking for a camping spot. With a large group of people, the experience can be brutal. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a few mates making the hike to Winchester on the Wednesday, you may just avoid the Persian war-esque carnage that prevails at any festival, not just Boomtown. Think, "THIS IS SPARTA", but 10 times worse. If you’re worried about being apart of this, then cop your early bird as soon as possible.
Now everyone’s secured a spot, and instinctively cracked open a cold one, the music properly commences in some of the smaller areas of each district. Tangled Roots, the ragga, dub, reggae and jungle haven, has an especially strong line up for the Thursday; Danny Rankin will show he’s way more than the ‘quiet one’ off People Just Do Nothing, whilst the Dubtendo stage has everyone from Phibes to Benny Page spinning the finest of Drum and Bass & Jungle.
Watching DJs all weekend is a test of anyone’s endurance, even if you are a DnB head, or a Techno nut; there are so many under-appreciated areas that home the world’s most unique voices in hip hop and alternative music. One venue we missed out on last year was the lighthouse, but Thursday’s line up for this stage is completely irresistible. Lava La Rue, in particular, we would label unmissable, 2019 has seen some ruthless releases for herself and the Nine8 collective she formed years ago. Her blend of old school hiphop and scintillating R&B has mesmerised the streets of South London, and now, real name, Ava Laurel, is on her way to conquer the whole country.
The Poco Loco is also looking live on the Thursday, as it is for the whole weekend, with DJ sets from Tiffany Calver and Jamz Supernova. The Radio 1 Extra takevoer's highlight though, has to be the multitalented producer, rapper and singer Che Lingo. His 2019 EP 'Sensitive', which features Mick Jenkins, is an illustrious, psychedelic project, that warps genres like UK Rap, soul and R&B to form a sound completely intrinsic to Che.
Last year, Shy FX opened the Lion’s Den, Boomtown’s main stage, with his nationally lauded ‘Cult.ure’ set from his XOYO residency. Not only did the opening ceremony welcome one of Britain’s most celebrated DJs, they elevated the carnival atmosphere, despite the quintessential down pour of rain, with choreographed dancing and poetic passages of spoken word. Gentleman’s Dub Club and Ms Dynamite have a huge job on their hands trying to top last year’s preliminary theatrics, but they are definitely worth getting up for, being kings and queens of their respective scenes.
Shy FX is back, headlining the first night of new stage ‘relic’ with Dynamite MC, and thankfully they aren’t clashing with Four Tet, which we were anticipating to be one of the most catastrophic overlaps in Festival history. Kieran Hebden, real name, will be topping the bill for the equally NEW ‘nucleus’ stage, which really is the place to rave on the Friday night. Housing the best of industrial techno, breakbeat and garage, the likes of Joy Orbison, Ben UFO, Mall Grab, and of course Four Tet, will be selecting tunes that will have you vibing into the early hours of Saturday morning.
Elsewhere, grime legends D Double and Plastician will be crowning the Barrio Loco, taking you through a historical journey of one of Britain’s biggest cultural exports. And if you want drum and bass, but aim to get away from the chaos of crowds, then get yourself to the slightly more intimate ‘wrong side of the tracks’ for AC13 B2B Ben Snow’, who will both undoubtedly be on the Relic in a couple years time.
If you’re still at the festival on Saturday, and haven’t found yourself motionless in the mud scrambling for your slowly submerging zooty, then the weekend is still yours for the taking. You have only really had one full day of experiencing the unpredictable shenanigans Boomtown forces you to participate in. Jungle wise, you have old school sonics, and new wave sounds pulsating from the lion’s den and hidden forests: General Levy will be on the former, proving his status as a serious mic controller, but in the depths of the woods lies 6 Figure Gang member L U C Y who will no doubt justify the hype around her and the DJ
collective she’s apart of. Her set will, lowkey, be one of the greatest this year.
When the initial line up was released, never in all our days did we think that The Streets, Slaves and Chase and Status would all be on at the same time. Unfortunately, this situation has prevailed. It is damning to think we have to decide between three of Britain’s best musical exports, in their respective scenes, although this does show just how strong the standard of acts are for 2019. We are going to the Streets. Mike Skinner and his entourage rarely go on tour, and who could possibly pass up the thought of Skinner spraying a bottle of champers onto you with the same effervescent energy as the liquid coming out of it? Boomtown will, quite literally, be shut down once the 2000s era definers have their say as headliners.
If you still have energy, and want a legal outer body experience, then get yourself to the Psy Forest for Pieman’s set, or hop off to the relic for Benny L going back to back with with Shimon and T>I from 1:30. Oh, and how could anyone forget about the combination of Little Simz and Ocean Wisdom over at the Poco Loco - both Grey Area and Wizville have stomped on the saturated UK hiphop market, bringing innovation to the scene through collaboration with international artists like Chronixx and Method Man. Get yourself there, you really wouldn't want to miss out on either of them.
By now, you and your mates may be feeling rough; the fatigue is dawning on you, but hopefully one of your companions will have the audacity to suggest leaving your cosy sleeping bags and venturing into the city. When they do, once the bass of the ragga whirs around the site it will be impossible not to, get yourself to the Murder Capital, who are performing in Disorder Valley at the Earache Factory. The Dublin 5 piece are yet to even release an album, but have built a following through relentless touring and visceral live sets ,which have grabbed the attention of legendary post-punk producer Mark Ellis, A.K.A Flood.
In all honesty, the Poco Loco is the place to be on Sunday night, with High Focus records taking over the stage for a showcase of their finest rappers. Dirty Dike, Jam Baxter, Dabbla and many more will bring their unorthodox bars which, with lyrical pristine, manufacture views on broken Britain in a gritty and humorous way. Created by Fliptrix, the label has been going since 2010, and deserve every right to take over the Poco Loco. Joining them, and closing off the stage, will be Slowthai, who now needs little introduction. The Northamptoner’s debut LP ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ is by far and large one of our albums of the year, and his riotous live sets have summoned cult-like chaos to England's muddy fields in 2019. Expect Kwes Darko, his loyal DJ and Producer, in the moshes; expect Thai vomiting on stage; expect nudity; but more than anything, expect the unexpected.
Monday is horrible. Nursing the most severe of headaches and body fatigues, you’ll be arguing with your mates over who’s baccy pouch is who’s, wondering where your gazebo has blown off to, and questioning what on earth happened to the expensive designer shades you purchased off depop - don’t worry, they are 99.99999% likely to be in the side pocket of your tent, where you strategically placed them after piercing open a warm dark fruits you stole off your mate. Speaking of which, you will absolutely stink of split beer on the last day.
The undulating coach journey home will make your stomach churn all the acid It’s consumed over the past 4 days, and it is equally horrible to sit there, submerged in the subtle smells of your B.O, piss, and if you’ve been even more unfortunate, poo. No one will care though, you've just had the weekend of your life.