Twelve months ago, I staggered out of the festival grounds with my bag on my back, tried my hardest to adjust to reality and started to question if BoomTown Fair 2013 ever really happened. I had no choice but to return to prove to myself this crazy, upside-down world of madness really existed. Last weekend, I found that not only did this world exist, but it was more outrageous, colourful and wackier than ever! (Click on the photo above to watch the official BoomTown Fair 2014 video)
BoomTown Fair 2014 has been hailed another booming success – but why is this festival so successful? Word among the festival-goers is because this incredible explosion of creativity is purely based on the wants, needs and desires of those who are exploring the districts, dancing all night in front of the stages and joining in the bonkers behaviour. BoomTown Fair is truly a festival for the people and the astonishing level of detail in each district and for each stage just further proves this. This year’s festival was no exception, with opportunities for revellers to explore the brand new Wild West district, where floozies beckoned passers-by into the waiting saloons. Elsewhere, a host of brand new, majestic stages awaited the dancing feet of the BoomTown citizens, including a spectacular 100ft Pirate Ship and the Old Mines Stage, plus, of course, all the old favourites like the Town Centre and the Lion’s Den.Over two years alone it is incredible to see how the festival has grown in size, volume and craziness, and it is just astonishing to think it started out as 1,500 like-minded souls, before growing to the increased sized of 38,000 for this year. Throughout the six years BoomTown Fair has been running, the festival directors have remained true to their original ideals of good music, good friends and GREAT entertainment – and it seems to be a combination that is working well. 2014 saw the festival entering a new chapter, this year with the new Mayoress Burrita Jose in charge of the proceedings and what a great job she did!Walking through the Barrio Loco district, not a single citizen could keep their feet from dancing to the beat of the Rio-esque carnival and some bad-ass bass. The party atmosphere followed us round as we explored Downtown and the incredible Boombox and Arcadia Stages, where the beats never stopped. One of my favourite surprises was on the Sunday, when the fiesta escaped the Barrio Loco district and exploded across the festival in the sounds of the drums and the bright colours of the carnival parade. Elsewhere, ravers could see giant mechanical robots shooting flames across the districts, extraordinary fancy dress, stilt walkers and even some raving grannies.Camping in Oldtown, we were just a short walk from some of the festival’s finest music venues and most spectacular performances. There are far too many to mention them all, but many of my favourites pitched up at my favourite stage – The Lion’s Den. One of my favourite festival moments had to be seeing The Wailers live – they gave an incredible performance and it was something special indeed to hear the whole crowd singing along. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after that when the rain started, which certainly hampered Shaggy’s performance. More than just a few of the crowd left disappointed after the weather led to sound problems and a bit of an anti-climax. Refusing to let a bit of rain stand in our way, the true reggae spirit returned to the Lion’s Den on the Sunday night in an incredible performance by the legendary Jimmy Cliff. Truly a standout moment.Elsewhere, Gypsy Hill, The Woohoo Review and various others had the crowds churning up the mud in front of the Pirate Ship has they danced along. Mayfair Avenue proved the hub of high class and had the glitzy and the debonair swinging along until the sun came up. The Ballroom was a fantastic venue for such acts and my personal favourites had to be DJ Chris Tofu, who gave some spectacular sets, The Sweet Life Society, who were even more incredible than last year, and Renegade Brass Band, who were just unlike anything I have seen before, but had everyone dancing along. As usual, I came to BoomTown Fair with so many plans of who I wanted to see and what I wanted to do, but I came away with a completely different experience to the one I expected.Too easily distracted, the Hidden Woods and Tribe of Frog hooked me in and refused to let me go for some time. But as I stumbled out of the woods and down the hill, I was drawn straight back to the centrepiece of the festival. The most amazing stage I have ever seen – The Arcadia Spectacular. This iconic spider robot brought the bass that pounded out of these huge speakers to life with flames, smoke and lasers – want your mind blown? Head straight for the middle of it, just as I did for the grand finale. With fireworks, incredible bass and the ripple of movement as hundreds of ravers dance as one – the Arcadia is an experience not to be missed.Also not to be missed, and luckily we caught them while sitting high on the hill above the Hidden Woods, were the fireworks, which were a sparkling end to a fantastic weekend. All rounded off with a walk to the viewpoint – a bit of a walk but worth every second when you get to sit high on the hill overlooking the whole of Downtown at night, watching the flames pouring out of the Arcadia and the twinkling lights across the valley. At night it was really something, but at sunset, this view really came into its own. BoomTown Fair is more than just a festival; it is a whole other world, a new experience and a way of life. Those who are lucky enough to experience it go home a very different person and can’t help but count down the days until they can return. Trust me, you’d have to see it to believe it.
Did you go to BoomTown Fair? What was your favourite part of the festival?
* This review was originally published on This Festival Feeling – click here to see the original.