Every year Boomtown’s immersive weekend of festivities encapsulates a society of revellers, ravers and rockers into a world so enigmatic and enthralling that the reality of normal life seems so abysmal and uninspiring. This year was the first for my mates and me; we turned up with high hopes and plenty of pot noodles, as well as tingles of anticipation pumping through our veins from the minute we climbed off the coach right until Monday morning.
As soon as you step foot into the grounds, the dystopian and extraterrestrial layout is both disorientating and engaging; the willingness to explore and submerge in this alien atmosphere makes you impulsive and imaginative. What sets Boomtown apart from festivals on the UK circuit, is its emphasis on theatrical movements, as well as music scenes that would never get the attention they deserve from mainstream weekend adventures. From transvestites wrapped in a coil of human organs to the thumping trance of the psy woods and the ragga reggae in tangled roots; it is all of these little extra experiences that makes Boomtown the ultimate festival.
Developing their storyline for 10 years, and continuously reinventing itself as one of the most unique weekends on the British calendar, the standard of acts this year shows the inevitability of it’s rise to dominance. Truthfully, Boomtown feels like the Glastonbury of my generation - the eclectic mix of just about everything entices anyone and everyone. Gorillaz was the standout act for me over the weekend - Damon Albarn proved his prevalence and modern-day relevance amidst a sea of 60,000 youngsters. He is one of the only remaining brit-pop spearheads who can safely say has been adopted by 21st-century teens in the same way his generation did so; the crowd were rapturous and roared out classics like Dare, and boogied to new tunes like Saturnz Barz and Hollywood.
The standard of DJs was incredible too, nowhere else could make one man behind a pair of decks seem so magical; the likes of Sector 6 and Bang Hai towers were an elusive haven of zipping lasers, trippy graphics and visually stunning staging. They were undoubtedly the main attractions among the illuminating walkways and industrial zones of activities that only helped to amplify the wackiness of Boomtown and the story behind it. Andy C’s secret set, which closed Sector 6, was breathtaking, whilst Shy FX’s opening show on the Lion’s Den stage set the standard incredibly high for the rest of the weekend. The journey Andre Williams takes you on, switching between classics from ska specialists and jungle connoisseurs, is so succinct and energetic - making you feel as if you are watching an underground music alternative to the Jungle Book. The appearance of UK Apache articulated what it means to these DJs to play Boomtown; the Night Bass takeover felt like a career-defining moment for Chris Lorenzo and Co too.
The rain slamming down on Sunday afternoon proved even God was sad about the penultimate day of Boomtown. Wrapped in classic festival fodder, a strangers poncho and neon pink flamingo flares, I was determined to seize the day and make it the best out of the three… despite the weather. The uplifting energy and family vibe the festival summons upon you made the rain almost unnoticeable, the severely steep hills made drunken mudslides all the easier as naked nutters ran riot caked in mud.
Normal life is proving to be severely boring, however, you cannot help but wonder what the organisers will have in store for us next year. I sense drastic changes are on the horizon as we progress into Chapter 11. Next year will be unmissable.