Boomtown Festival 2022
It's been a long time. Boomtown, my favourite festival, an interactive time of mayhem and unexpected delights interspersed with music and dancing. Unexpected discoveries, weird costumes, lovely people. Drugs, drink, dangerous living and yet filled with joy and love and calm.
For two years no Boomtown. No dancing under the stars, no trying to sleep while a huge festival city breathes around me.
And then, Chaper One, the gathering, and so it begins, again.
The festival was smaller this year, it had to be, two years of next to no income and so many unexpected stops and starts. But the city was reimagined, all the districts, usually spread over acres and acres of national park were all together in the main natural bowl, natures amphitheatre.
I chose to upgrade my camping for 2020 and I had rolled the tickets over so I had a glorious bell tent with real beds waiting for me and I'm glad I did! Much like the lucky year I chose to take a camper van to Camp Bestival and then there was a horrendous storm, this year I could travel light and not have to pitch as the temperatures hit 34 centigrade on the day we arrived.
So what was great about the festival? It was Boomtown. It felt the same as it ever did and on seeing the LED city screen scrolling the words "Welcome home" I shed a little tear. The city districts did not feel cramped at all as one flowed naturally into another, the lack of long walks was a blessing in the heat but Tangled Roots and the other forest stages remained, giving cool shade in the middle of the day.
There were new amazing stages, featuring huge trains, planes and automobiles (yes really!)
Loads of great food to choose from. And plenty of water points (did I mention how HOT it was?)
And people had made amazing elaborate costumes, I had failed in this regard by buying a huge furry rabbit head, as it turned out I could only wear this in the cool of the night when it became impossible to see through the mesh eyes! But I wore it any way.
There were some not so great aspects, the new 'cashless' system sounded good on paper but was actually really hard to use, there were no receipts and no signal on your phone meant you couldn't check the balance and were at the mercy of the seller to charge you correctly. I was overcharged twice, and many other people found the same. While I think the wrist tags with money on are a good idea they really should be optional and run alongside cash and cards. If they are in use at the next festival I will taking paper and pen to record and check each transaction at the time.
As usual there were lots of drugs at the festival. It's inevitable but scary and it was a shame that the Loop was unable to be there to check people's pills. I would have liked to have seen a bigger presence from The Loop even if it was just for information. And the main medical tent was at the top of the huge hill! Not ideal.
The music was good. Boomtown didn't release the line up until about 5 days before the festival, this may be because they were scared people would sell tickets if there were no big names, but for those of us that don't really care about the line-up it was a shame as it didn't give much time to research unknown bands and listen to any of their music. Of course we enjoyed all we heard, Gentleman's Dub Club was a highlight and Mr B never disappoints.
All in all it was the festival I expected it to be, smaller, not perfect, but Boomtown, so very Boomtown and I can't wait for next year.
If you are missing your Boomtown fix, may I suggest checking out Wake the Tiger in Bristol, from the same team.