Since It’s beginnings 11 years ago, Boomtown has become one of the most immersive weekends on the British calendar; the festival not only applauds a range of arts, from theatre to music, It’s green initiatives and embracing of the odd has constituted a community feel that can’t be flaunted by many other events. As we lead up to our second venture to the city, we investigated just how much more this world is than the music.
We all know we can do a bit more for the environment. Whether you’ve tossed a plastic bag in the sea and killed a turtle, or persist on driving to work with a train station around the corner, everyone has been a culprit of harming the planet.
Boomtown’s ethos is driven to make the world a better place; you could argue that putting a festival on is still incredibly unhealthy for the environment, but for every reveller visiting the city, the organisers plant a tree with the charity 'TreeSisters'. They also offer portable cigarette trays, so you have no excuse for dropping your fag ends when you're skanking away to Shy FX. No hyper-environmentalist could possibly complain to the organisers with this going on.
Every festival we’ve been to is an apocalypse of abandoned tents by the Monday, everyone knows a culprit of such perjury. At just £6 a night, you can have yourself a pre-pitched tenting option at Boom; if you know your £20 Argos tent won’t make it home, then this is a class option. You don’t always need to bring anarchy to the fields on the last day.
The inevitable congestion of cars and coaches that arises on the Thursday of any festival is an absolute nightmare. If you fancy yourself as a Chris Froome type, and want to get some cardio in before a solid 4 days of seshing, then the ‘Big Boomtown Bike Ride’ could be an adventurous option of travel; the variation of initiatives this year is pretty astounding for only a weekend of festivities.
The theatrical displays that you become apart of feel unnervingly real for a fictional event; you genuinely become part of the story, embracing the characters that face you over the 4 days. Before the festival has even begun, the trailers and stories create a level of anticipation and intrigue that expands the gathering way beyond the music.
Hidden in the Hangar 161 stage this year will be Captain Ruin - a man known for performing death defying stunts, but where Boom excels is putting their trust in loyal fans and actors who put on their own storylines inside the districts. From card games with drunken cowboys, to transvestites dancing with chainsaws; expect the unexpected if this is your first time in Winchester.
The emphasis on narrative and performance was best summed up last year, when DJ Zinc and Eats Everything were interrupted by Banghai Industries, one of the stages, announcing a full shut down of their services to the festival. This instigated rumours instantly of a new district coming for 2019; of course Area 404 and Relic are being introduced this year. The organisers do really well to create hysteria by interlinking the arts; you're kept on your toes the minute you enter those gates.
Earlier, we mentioned the community feel of Boomtown. We can't exaggerate this enough, especially with organisations like 'Safe Gigs For Women' helping to prevent sexual abuse, making the weekend enjoyable for everyone. The festival's 'respect campaign' encourages equality and individuality; such a variety of people turn up to the city, so for the few days of raving, you feel isolated from the prejudices daily life is met with. The various speakers at Whistler's Green help to break down walls of discrimination that have built up in wider society too, poetry and lyricism from the likes of Kate Tempest and Lava La Rue will be particular highlights; both of their back-catalogues encourage a strong sense of unity.
Unlike other festivals, Boomtown realises that no matter their efforts, drugs will inevitably end up in the cities' gates. Instead of scrutinising those who take pills and powders to dangerous levels, organisations like the loop help to reduce harm and keep everyone safe; It's a controversial method of decreasing drug use, but one that is more fitting to the modern festival.
It may still, at the time of writing, be 55 days, 17 hours and 4 minutes away, but the thought of entering those city gates again is a very exciting one. Head over to Boom's website and read up on the festival's history and story line if you get a chance before you go. It will make you realise just how much thought has been going into the event over the last 11 years.