I am aware that you must all be exhausted not only from your incredible experience of Boomtown (if you were lucky enough to go) but also from the hefty report that I energetically and rather erratically put together upon my return from the aforementioned great City.
However as some time has passed and my head has settled I realise now that there is a lot more to talk about! You see dear readers Boomtown has become something so enormous and so omnipresent that even I, the DukeofEarl cannot compress the overall greatness of it into just under 4000 words.
Boomtown is not like other festivals because it is not a festival. Boomtown stands for so much more than four murky days of spaced out field dancing. Boomtown is the last shred of freedom and judgeless territory that we, as open minded and free spirited individuals have left. I was asked over the weekend if Boomtown would be the next Glastonbury – My answer, no. They’re two completely different things now, on opposite ends of the spectrum. Sure enough Boomtown and Glastonbury may have started off in similar ways (although Boomtown was formally a cider fair if I’m not mistaken) but the similarities differ tremendously in my opinion.
One thing I have always admired about Boomtown is that once you are in, you are in. The outside world ceases to exist in as much as it can, phone signal is sparse, there are no adverts, no television, no radio, no anything to divert your senses from the mesmerising magic of the combined consciousness that is unravelling around you.
Glastonbury is banners, Glastonbury is Tesco, Glastonbury is sponsorship heaven. Glastonbury sucks.
We experienced so much fate, so much coincidence, so many shared experiences that could only be shared with people of similar minds in one great gathering place. People were eager to share, whether it was stories, food, money or drugs the overwhelming sense of community that we experienced was mesmerising. Our stove caught fire, no problem use ours. Our weed got confiscated, no problem you can smoke ours. We of course reciprocated not because we felt obliged but because it felt easy and right. Need our mallet, here you are man. Are you lost bro? I have a map let’s sort this shit out.
I didn’t go to Boomtown with the intention of listening to any specific musical artist, I wanted to let the flow of the festival direct me and it did. I felt that the people I met were the people I was supposed to meet. When I bumped into people I knew I felt it was because I was meant to, if I didn’t see someone I knew I figured that was meant to happen as well. The festival directed me into some of the greatest conversations I have ever had. It took me places and showed me things that nothing or no one else could show me. It was the closest thing to living the life of the ‘Dice Man’ without actually doing it.
The music was more varied than previous years and so were the people. From the incredibly detailed costumes of the Wild West populous to the guy wandering around in a cardboard box suit there was no limit to the imaginations of the city’s residents. It worried me a little to think that perhaps next year the idea well might run dry, individuality could saturate between the increased numbers. But then again, who cares?
Boomtown has and always will have a stigma to it. Debauched, gritty, filthy, dirty, naughty, twisted, decadent. All these words and many others describe it the same way as they describe the true nature of humans, the ones that we deny. Within the city walls we can be as childish, as unwound, as twisted, as filthy as we want to, as we need and everyone around us understands. When I was at the peak of my laughing gas ingestion I felt compelled to stroke the face of a man that we had just met and he understood and accepted that. Now that is Boomtown.
The fact that two german lads had travelled all the way to Hampshire to volunteer as litter pickers for twelve hours so that they could scream in joy as Flogging Molly took to the stage proves just how powerful Boomtown has. Hippies will walk through fire for face paint and I’ll do whatever it takes to get into that city.
Know that whenever you are there, whether it’s Distrikt 5, Old Town, Minetown, Trench Town or lying in a ditch in the woods you can be safe in the knowledge that you are somewhere incredibly special and everyone is there for the same reason. Sure there are robbers, thieves, scoundrels, the spoilsports but guess what? They exist in all aspects of life and they always will. Overcome their negativity, don’t let them win in your mind and it’s all cool.
What’s more beautiful is that every year the organisers of Boomtown, the ones who put the work in, who make this a reality, who hit walls on the daily as Hampshire Council, Hampshire Police, the Media, the government, the MAN breathe down their neck, waiting for one small thing to bring it all down – it is these organisers, these great and tenacious people who THANK US for attending each year. It’s because Boomtown is so much more than timber, scaffolding, glitter and paint. It’s a refuge, an escape from the grind of reality, it’s entire existence relies on people, without people Boomtown would be like every other town on this planet, devoid of individuality, soulless and another sparse reminder that our freedom is being compromised on the daily.
I implore everyone to take a step back from their routines and remember the time they had. Close your eyes and go back there and remember that it is never over. Even now the community of Boomtown is working away, returning lost phones, sharing stories, ensuring wallets are returned, re-living glorious moments and more.
Welcome to The Boomtown Community everyone.