One of the UK’s most inspiring independent festivals, Boomtown is a dazzling open air theatrical production on a scale unrivalled in the UK festival scene. Blending a beautiful fiesta of music, art, theatre, design, architecture and ambition, the organisers have created a magical make-believe world that celebrates adventure, exploration and escapism. Set in the surrounds of the beautiful Matterley Estate, nr. Winchester, Hampshire, Boomtown festival is now in it’s 9th year, returning from Thursday 10th until Sunday 13th August 2017.
If you’re a veteran Boomtown citizen you’ll be familiar with the festival’s format of an ever evolving storyline that is set up over the year and which unfolds in real time throughout the festival. But if 2017 is set to be your first taste of Boomtown life, then you’ll likely want to get up to speed and familiarise yourself with the story so far from 2009 – present or if you’re short on time, watch the video below which summarises from Chapter 6 (2014).
Whilst most festivals tend to hinge each event around a single theme, Boomtown pushes the boat out that bit further by immersing it’s attendees in an ongoing story that is brought to life by hundreds of actors in the many interactive, immersive venues. Over the years, the story has covered corrupt elections, alien technology, time travel, Western style showdowns and most recently, the 2016 revolution, which spread across the entire event in a feat of theatrical ambition not before seen at a UK festival. Following 2016′s Boomtown – Chapter 8: The Revolution Starts Now, the following after video was released to set the scence for Chapter 9.
That takes us up to the eagerly awaited release of “Chapter 9 Behind the Mask”, for which the high octane trailer can be seen below. Giving a glimpse into what’s in store this year, the video introduces new characters and re-visits old faces to set up the theatrical direction for Chapter 9.
A wonderful blend of music, arts food and so much more, the festival is something that can be enjoyed by all the family, with the entire set-up being one huge playground for all generations. However, special consideration has been given to those with families, with three of the four main areas: Hilltop, Whistlers Green and Temple Valley suitable for families with children of varying ages. Dediated areas such as Kidztown also cater to children and families, co-ordinated by qualified childhood and youth experts and an amazing crew including play-workers, early years specialists, and artists and performers from all over the world.
According to the festival organisers, the aim of the storyline is:
“to hold a mirror up to a world that should be questioned, where every individual has the power to make a change and their voices heard. Using theatre, storytelling and set design to encourage exploration of ideas, we want to create a caring community where everyone can leave their worries at the city gates and enter a world of acceptance and diversity.”
Designed to be one giant playground for all ages, Boomtown’s nine districts are filled with a truckload of hidden gems, tucked away taverns and secret spaces that all add into the never ending feeling of intrigue and exploration. The combination of intricate, hand crafted street sets, hundreds of actors bringing the streets to life and the many layers of the storyline create a world of ultimate escapism and adventure.
Indeed, there is certainly a feeling of inclusivity and unification about this festival, and the invitation to be transported back to the magical make-believe world of childhood clearly has many chomping at the bit with Tier 1 and Tier 2 tickets already selling out in just four months from release. But fear not, there are still tickets up for grabs here.
And what about the music? Boomtown are renowned for pulling out all the stops when it comes to their musical offering and 2017 looks set to be no different. The 60,000 capacity Hampshire festival has released over 160 acts including The Specials, M.I.A., Cypress Hill, Arrested Development, Toots and the Maytals, and Dawn Penn. Boomtown boasts 25 different music stages to complement their 12 different districts and each caters to different musical palettes including everything from ska, folk, gypsy, reggae, world, punk, pirate and disco to electro-swing, jazz, blue-grass, bass, jungle and techno from all around the world.
Over the coming months we’ll be providing more info on the full line ups for each district with a little info about the district itself, but in the mean time for those of you who can’t wait, here is the full musical line-up to date – though not by district.
Stay tuned for more info on the festival, including the eco credentials boasted by this creative and groundbreaking independent festival. Visit www.boomtown.co.uk for more info.
Angie is our resident features writer on location in London, specialising in festivals, food and nutrition, and with a keen interest in ethical fashion.