In Review: Exploring Boomtown Festival 2017

 In Indie Oxford Explore

Wow. I have been to my fair share of festivals over the years including many visits to Glastonbury and Reading, and I have to say there is nothing quite like Boomtown.

It was my 1st time to the independent festival near Winchester, and hopefully not my last. The whole ethos of the festival appealed to me; they give a huge amount of money to charity, have strong environmental credentials and create a fully immersive experience to boot.

They work closely with the local community to insure their opinions are heard and actioned, and promote and support local traders at the festival too, something we are definitely keen on here at Indie Oxford!

Boomtown is so much more than just another UK festival, everywhere you look there are endless rabbit holes of mystery and intrigue to get lost in all weekend long.

Head to the Inconvenience Store in Old Town where the staff bend over backwards to get in your way, sell you holey cups, or just simply lounge around in the one shopping trolley in the shop. In the scrap yard you can watch the Feminist Mouse Circus complete with pom pom clad host, or head to the job centre on Sunday for the staff Christmas party and listen to 10 versions of Last Christmas in a row.

The site at Matterley Estate near Winchester is perfect for the pop up town. Hilltop campsites spill into woods and open up into valleys of post apocalyptic grunge and robotika. The awe inspiring Bang Hai Towers presides over Downtown, and acts as the head quarters for Bang Hai Industries, who have taken an iron grip on the town, with rumours of gentrification rife across the site.

Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival

You see, not only is the site made up of 9 districts, each with it’s own character and characters, the festival also has an overarching story with each year forming a new chapter.

If Charlie Brooker created a festival, this would be it. The story and town construction holds a black mirror up to society with a large dose of dark humour.

Gentrification, corrupt banks, corporate greed and socio-economic problems serve as the backbone to the Boomtown tale.

This was the Bang Hai theme tune this year:

Dark stuff!

As well as telling the story, Boomtown also offered punters the chance to get involved too. A treasure hunt through a secret resistance network lead you to a QR code to become one of the hackers trying to bring down BHI. In the grand finale on Bang Hai Towers on Sunday night the hackers were revealed showing pictures of all those who had joined the resistance. Yet another clever element to a festival already rich with detail and ways to immerse yourself in a parallel world.

All of this before even mentioning the music! After weeks of rain the skies cleared and the weekend was blessed with pretty much perfect festival conditions, making Toots & the Maytals sun kissed opening set on Friday afternoon at the Lion’s Den stage, even more special.

Other musical highlights for us included Reel Big Fish, The Specials, Ziggy Marley, Planet Smashers, and Swindle.

To get a real feel for Boomtown however, you need to explore it, find the hidden nooks and crannies and characters within. So, with that in mind, here are some of my festival highlights from a weekend full of wonder! Let’s explore!

Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival
Boomtown Festival

 So much to see, so little time! I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of this wonderland dystopia. The actors were amazing, there were hundreds scattered across the site to bring the place to life, and were elemental in creating a happy community among the punters too.

If you only go to one festival in 2018, make it Boomtown. As it’s indie, it makes a great effort to support indie traders, the local community and the larger creative community that makes its happen too. This really adds to the vibe. There’s no advertising, the bars are indie run and there’s no glasto style VIPs area, it’s totally friendly and inclusive for all, and one of the cleanest festivals I’ve ever been to!

Did you make it to Boomtown this year? What were your favourite bits?!

Write to me below, I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend whatever you’re up to!

Love, Rosie xxx

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Boomtown Festival
Image courtesy of Boomtown Fair
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Comments
  • Sophie
    Reply

    Hey, I’ve just found your blog and I LOVE it. Such an excellent resource for Oxford folk. I’ll definitely be checking out Boomtown next year on the strength of your review too! x

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