Review: Boomtown Fair

With it being one the very few festivals in the UK that can rival Glastonbury, BoomTown Fair’s production value, theme and stage fare was a notch-up from 2013. Having had the nod to up the capacity, the festival expanded the lineup but didn’t really add much in terms of stage size which led to endless queues in the hazardous rain; this made the trek up that god-damned hill even worse that it already was.

All stages are omnipresent with ornamental arrays dotted about and there’s no doubt that the organisers spend the entire year fine-tuning every last aesthetic aspect. The lineup leans itself to dub, reggae and UK bass but was still the odd house and techno representative making BoomTown one of the most diverse festivals in the land. While the continuing rain forced festival goers into tents, Shaggy never helped the cause with an abysmal set that revolved around ‘It Wasn’t Me’.

Arcadia also proved to be a complete washout; what should have been the main spectacle of the festival soon became the least favourite as crowds opted for sheltered entertainment. While the rain dampened sets from Bellowhead and the Afro Cult Soundsystem, the atmosphere found in 2013’s event was strangely hard to find. Moreover, I’d say around thirty percent of attendees were of the ‘chavvy’ nature leaving the event’s magical fascination a little loose. This was backed up by the with the fact that £70K worth of drugs were seized by security; drugs are a common problem at festivals and this is by no means an exception for BoomTown, however, you have to twin such stories with experience and in my opinion, the festival was at times, more a playground for drugs than it was experience.

For those of us that were perhaps looking for the best of both worlds, when there wasn’t anything on the lineup that was worth seeing, there was always a parallel expenditure in the main ‘town’. From gimmicky carnival tents to quietly hidden spots, you were never short of things to do. Boasting a less-dystopian anti-capitalist outlook from Glastonbury, BoomTown’s art and culture scene is second to none. That being said, with the festival growing in capacity this year, it’s become obvious that the roots have perhaps been forgotten and the natural allure it once held  has been lost. Had it not frequently rained, I may have had an opposing outlook but I can only go off what I experienced, and from that – the event wasn’t what I expected.

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