Boomtown Fair

BoomTown Fair is a UK festival that takes place in August. It features 4 days of live music and art event that offers an array of fringe comedy and theatre. The festival has an ongoing theme surrounding the "legend" of the festival. A lot of effort goes into the decorations, and fancy dress is encouraged, adding to the vibe of the festival. The festival is divided into various 'districts', each with its own camping ground.

The festival attracts a certain type of festival goer, somewhere between a dance music raver and a hard-rocker. The festival, with its diverse selection of music, and elaborate stages, stands out, and it is growing year after year, attracting more and more people.

Vibe

BoomTown Fair is an arts, craft and creative festival that celebrates ska, reggae, dub, swing as well as roots and bass culture. With winding streets and eccentric venues to explore, BoomTown Fair is an actual town created by an ever expanding network of artists, craftsmen and imaginative minds. The border town vibe, with stages scattered throughout the entire festival, makes it somewhat unique. Elaborate fancy dress, combined with lively, always danceable music gives it a special energy.

Line-up

So far only part of the 2014 line-up has been announced. It includes Bob Marley's legendary band The Wailers, The Cat Empire, Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, NOFX, Raggasonic, Lady Saw and Chronixx. Click here for a fuller list of those playing.

Stages and other entertainment

As the name suggests, the site is erected to look like a proper town, with 12 different districts – including 22 stages - for revelers to explore and enjoy. One of the areas, Mayfair Avenue, even boasts a casino, a gentleman’s club, hotels, banks, and daily roller discos.

The Old Town, gives festival goers the opportunity to, ‘step into a time machine and witness how their grandparents used to party with old skool disco’s blaring out nostalgic music from the 50’s onwards.

The elaborate stages scattered throughout the town require a lot of time and preperation to set up, so if you end up going be sure to check them all out. Some of the big ones are:

  • Main Stage

The main stage line up will consist of ska and party bands from around the world, with the other live music stages offering cabaret, gypsy, folk, reggae, dub and country and western. In 2013 Julian Marley played on the main stage.

  • Aracadia Stage

The Arcadia Stage is a giant mechanical spider that shoots flames and doubles as a sound system that plays dubstep and drum and bass. Enough said. You can watch a video of it here.

  • Hidden Woods

Surrounded by trees, hidden in a corner of the festival, this stage might not be the easiest to get to, but once there it's worth it. Expect to listen to roots and dub, with some rock thrown in.

  • Other Activities

Other activities include cabaret, comedy, spoken word, a range of an anarchist theatre, lots of site art and many areas to explore with plenty of catering options, all the normal facilities you'd expect at a festival and a massive emphasis on eco-friendly initiatives.

Tickets

The BoomTown uses a tiered ticketing system, with tickets getting progressively more expensive as you go up tiers (up to 6). This means that the sooner you buy your ticket the better, as the lower tiers will sell out quickly.

The "Town Mayor" has also launched a charity initiative, with the option of ticket buyers donating £2 into the Boom Pot, which shall be handed over to a number of charities in the local community.

The festival sell out almost every year so we would recommend getting your tickets as soon as possible.

VIP

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Children

The festival tries its best to make the event child friendly as possible, with more child friendly entertainment being added year on year.

BoomTown has a specially designated family campsite with showers and toilets. There is also a children’s area with its own reception for babies, toddlers and children up to the age of 12. The area provides creative workshops an a chill out space for parents.

Activities and attractions include the Three Bears Picnic: bring a bear and keep your eyes open for Goldie Locks and the three bears; Beatbox workshops for the whole family; Geodome play climbing frames of various sizes; Gorilla Vs Granny breakdance: a dance off show where kids join in and show off their breakdancing moves and GrannyOke, karaoke and dress up: karaoke granny style or Gran-nam style!

In addition there are also, Horse ‘n’ Cart rides for families and kids, lifts to and from car parks are also available; Spongeboards, splat a wet sponge at someone when the heat gets too much and finally, the most traditional of festival fun rides, the Swingboats!

  • Kidztown

There is an area with a mini festival feel called Kidztown, which offers a variety of workshops, stage shows, puppets, face painting, family bingo, quirky dance off’s, bouncy play and oodles more, including the guest appearance from four metre high BinBot – a friendly giant robot made from recycled wheelie bins!

Disability Access

The festival grounds are flat, and so wheelchair accessible. There are disable-access toilets, as well as stations to recharge electric wheelchairs.

For more information contact: access@boomtown.co.uk

Weather

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Location

The festival takes place in The Bowl, Matterley Estate, Hampshire. As the name suggests, the location is sorrounded by artificial mounds giving it its bowl like shape.

Local Information

Nearby Winchester is a historical cathedral city, with a great choice of countryside walks and gardens.

Winchester also hosts the country's largest Farmer's market, as well as a good selection of pubs noted in the Real Ale bible "The Good Beer Guide"

There is also the old and preserved steam railway Mid-Hants Railway, as well as the preserved Edwardian water pumpin station Twyford Waterworks.

Travel

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Matterley Estate has direct access to the A31 dual carriageway and the A272 main road. These roads provide easy access for the A33, A34 and M3 with direct routes to and from London, Brighton and the M4 corridor in under 1 hour and Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth in minutes. Winchester Railway Station is on the South Western Main Line with direct links to London Waterloo and all the above mentioned towns and cities. Southampton International Airport is a mere 12 miles away! Heathrow and Gatwick are also within very easy reach of Matterley Bowl.

If travelling from via the A303 and the A34 or from the M3 then exit at junction 9 – and if travelling from the south then leave the M3 at junction 10 and follow the A31 for A31 for approximately 3 miles and the site is on the south side of the A31 just past its junction with the A272. Signage will be on the roads for all major events.

Local Accommodation

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What to wear

We recommend bringing non-restrictive clothing, a jumper as it can get chilly at night, some rain-proof gear, and ear plugs to sleep at night. Remember to always check the weather before going.

Camping

Camping is included with the ticket. Campers can camp near their favorite stages creating mini-"city districts".

It is necessary to purchase a special pass to use the camper-van facilities. No glass is allowed inside the festival.

Site Information

Ticket purchasers will be asked to pay an additional £10 eco bond deposit. On arrival, attendees will be given a 'boomtown eco bag'. Organisers ask everyone to fill this bag with all their rubbish and hand it back into one of the drop off points for recycling, and have their £10 deposit returned.

Food and drink

There is a great selection of food outlets in designated areas of the festival.

There are also several bars situated around the festival area. If you intend to bring alcohol to Boomtown then you will only be allowed to bring a reasonable quantity for personal consumption into the site. You can bring up to 16 cans or a box of wine or 3 litres of cider/larger/ beer/wine (decanted into plastic bottles). Spirits are not allowed. You can bring this with you on arrival to the festival only.

Perform at the festival

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Volunteer or work

For more information, click here

Drugs and security

Like most festivals, drugs are present in Boomtown. Police do make arrests yearly, so caution is suggested if you are planning on bringing or using drugs inside the festival.

There has been one confirmed drug-related death, a 45 year old woman who overdosed on ecstasy. In 2013 an 18 year old girl also died, her death is currently under investigation.

Stream online

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Mobile Apps

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Trivia

In 2012, the event expanded it's wall with h "town planners" allowing new streets and new venues, as well as improved camping facilities, and more second story buildings, the fancy dress theme was Outer Space.

Deaths

In 2013 an 18 year old girl died of what is thought to be a drug overdose at the festival site on the first Thursday of the event.

Video

Past line-ups

Click here for the 2013 line-up.

2012 acts included Reel Big Fish, Asian Dub Foundation and Kill The Noise. The full line-up can be found here.

2011 line-up: Bad Manners, Gogol Bordello, Caravan Palace, Goldie Lookin Chain, DJ Zinc, Redlight & MC Dread, Ms Dynamite, 3 Daft Monkeys, The Baghdaddies, The Mandibles, Drunken Balordi, Plus many more...

2010: Toots And The Maytals, Ska n Ska, Neville Staple (The Specials), The Wurzels, and Dub Pistols, The Caravans, Long Tall Texans, Slim Slip & the Sliders, Tragic Roundabout, plus many more...

2009:Discípulos de Otilia, Smoke Like a Fish, Sonic Boom Six, Catchit Kebabs, Tofu Love Frogs, Zion Train, Vibronics, Step 13, and Dub FX, The Don Bradmans, 3 Daft Monkeys, Kilnaboy, plus many more...