In just 3 weeks time, the most magical city of them all will reopen its doors to new and old residents alike as the 9th chapter of Boomtown starts to unfold. Chapter 8 saw the once revered Mayor Comrade Jose get overturned as her allies dwindled and her mission to regain control escalated. Meanwhile, The Sheriff who is responsible for brainwashing and advising Comrade Jose, felt his power wane as he becomes increasingly more desperate to find the elusive masked man. But as his desperation grows and continues to thrive, so do the followers of the rebels, the freedom fighters, the people who want to take back their city and destroy the power.
Boomtown is so much more than just a festival, for 9 years it’s been following the turbulent story of Nicholas Boom, the missing founder of the fair whom without Boomtown would not exist. With twelve different districts laid out across four different areas, the city’s ever growing maze of immersive venues, hidden stages and quirky characters is enough to entice anyone into enrolling at the Job Centre in Old Town or attempting to purchase something from the Inconvenience store.
No matter where you look, there is a door to explore, a piece of the story to be part of and a new act to seek out. But of course, Boomtown wouldn’t be the festival it is without the year on year killer line up and 2017 is no different.
Topping last year’s line up was never going to be an easy feat with the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Kate Tempest and Madness drawing in some of the biggest crowds over the festival. But once again, Boomtown organisers have exceeded expectations in organising one of the most diverse lineups to date. Featuring the incredible pioneers of hip hop, Cypress Hill, their debut appearance at Boomtown will also be their only UK show this year and it is certainly not a slot to be missed. Joining Cypress Hill on the headline acts will be the feisty inspiration that is rapper/model/activist M.I.A – best known for her fusion of modern and world music, bassy beats and stand out lyrics, she’s the definition of a leading lady and for a moment of empowerment, be sure to check her out. Last but certainly not least, The Specials will be providing a blast from the past as the 70’s 2 tone ska band take to the stage to deliver what I’m sure will be one of the most exciting and uplifting sets of the festival and a true trip down memory lane for the older, wiser
From bassline to breakcore and everything in between you are bound to find a snippet of almost every genre imaginable as some stage somewhere, may it be through on a quirky street corner or through a hidden door. Whether you prefer to boogie down to electro swing or shimmy and shake to disco and soul, no matter where you are, the magic of Boomtown is striking and it’s people even more so.
It’s hard to choose a favourite venue at Boomtown, with so many to pick from and each one offering an entirely new experience, it’d take you the entire festival to explore them all and that’s without seeing any music. But if I had to pick a favourite the infamous Grandma’s living room would definitely be up there. Located off the streets of Oldtown, you could find yourself amidst a zimmer frame race, a timeless tombola or chatting to your newest pals about your most recent hip replacement. But be warned, Granny has a stick and she’s not afraid to use it when it’s time for her bed.
Other notable venues that leave you expecting the unexpected include the Gypsy Disco where you will bedazzled by contortionists, lured in by pole dancers and amazed by acrobats to a soundtrack of gypsy and latin music. Then there’s Samedia Shebeen in Barrio Loco for all you world music lovers out there, a tropical bass paradise where you will be transported from Boomtown to Brazil in just a single song, immerse yourself in samba, try out your limbo skills, it’s a high energy experience unlike any other.
With just a few weeks to go, it’s time to dust off your headdresses, don the glitter and let the excitement build. Boomtown is a maze of discovery, a plethora of imagination and a chance to take on a new character and get involved with the story of Boomtown. What will come of the revolution, will the people take back their city or will the rebels rise victorious? This year’s showdown is one not to be missed and 2017 promises to be one of the most exciting years yet.
words by Hannah Rooke