Boomtown Festival 2016 Review

We headed back to Boomtown to celebrate the beginning of the revolution

We headed back to Boomtown to celebrate the beginning of the revolution

Boomtown Fair has been running strong for over eight years, all while maintaining its mission of throwing you deep into the thick of it with unrivalled set design and quality music spanning any genre imaginable. Located within the Matterley Bowl Estate in Winchester, the festival is an all-engulfing home to artistic wonder.

Piece-by-piece it has become the go-to festival for 60,000 revellers, with its ability to overwhelm the senses and detach one from reality from start to finish. By far the festival’s finest attribute is the effort put into the immersive audio-visual experience and with the teasing addition of the new Sector 6 nuclear power station, the crowd were primed from the beginning.

Bigger than those held in previous years, Chapter Eight hosted well over 500 acts performing across 24 diverse main stages and countless smaller ones. Beyond doubt the festival was an absolute monster. To coincide with the lineup, the storyline told at Boomtown gets more advanced with every Chapter and this year it seemed crazier than ever. The official statement found in the programme sets you in stead for a journey of discovery, leaving you both confused and eager to find out what’s in store.

It turns out the once great Mayor Comrade Jose has been brainwashed and become ever more detached from reality, as her allies dwindle she introduces new military conscription and her propaganda machine goes into overdrive in a bid to retain control. On the other side of town the Sheriff feels his grip on power loosen for the first time and he must find and capture the illusive masked man and restore his position as the hidden leader behind the regime of Comrade Jose.

While these two battle it out for power, rebels gather in the shadows beneath the city so that no one can stand in dominance over another; “their plans are coming to fruition, the time draws near.”

Throughout the course of the four-day fair there were a number of site wide events that help unfold the story. As we arrived on Thursday Sector 6 had been taken over by masked rebels and Mayfair Bank was giving away money for those ‘willing to sell their soul’.

Friday set the tone for the rest of the weekend’s theatrics as an opening show at the Lion’s Den had Trinidad Carnival style dancers upon stage which was shortly followed by a bizarre battle between the pirates and the regime in OldTown. In Barrio Loco Comrade Jose hosted her own games as she put various gangs of the district against each other. Everyone was engaged in all the craziness as each day rolled through and the high creative energy from the crew never dwindled.

As we danced by the Banghai Palace on Saturday, masked rebels flew in from zip wires above as flashes of their leader appeared on the screens surrounding the DJ booth. These efforts in production were matched by some of the best music of any festival, with everything from drum & bass, house, reggae and psytrance all finding favour.

Dub Phizix & Strategy took full control of the new Sector 6 stage with their own refined tracks suiting the scene perfectly. Packing out the area, they once again proved that drum & bass deserved a generous part of the line-up.

Fat Freddy’s Drop headlining the Lion’s Den at sunset on Sunday was a personal highlight and the standout performance. Every live song sounded as good as a cut straight from the studio and it was a perfect rounding off with the crowd skanking to a serious rendition of “Roady”.

Boomtowns commitment to embracing a diverse line-up and successfully rising to the challenge of topping last year’s set design was unreal. The devoted crowd truly lost themselves as the Palace erupted and when the festival finally came to an end, no one was ready to leave. The countdown to Chapter 9 ‘Behind The Mask’ begins…

Buy Tickets For Boomtown 2017

Read Our Review For Boomtown 2015

Written by Barney Blackhurst

29 Aug 2016