Boomtown Review 2017

Do I know you, friend?” The Boomtown Fair turns the page onto Chapter 9.

For those that know Boomtown, you would have learnt that there is an underlying story behind the festival, a revolution against the powers that be, and we all have a part to play. As the Clan of 10 seized hold of our bearings whilst travelling through Mayfair and Old Town, we saw individuals being plucked out of groups and handed brown classic style envelopes, and told to read it. These were not actors the were receiving these letters. No. These were just like you and I, typical festival goers and punters simply looking for a good time and to sesh hard, who were now becoming a part of the story. The faces that I glanced at spoke a thousand words, the confusion and the excitement simply bubbled and boiled up as they became even more indulged into who was behind the masks story.

An accidental stumble into the Floating Lotus brought this city’s own First World Pro’s – they represented with some catchy tracks urging us all to get off our phones and see the world ahead of us. We jumped around to Check Your Phone, Scrolling Down and Middle Class Pirates before Anxiety hit – Attack! Attack! They tore it apart as if it was a boxing match. Left hook. Right hook. First the bongo hits, then the base guitars and drums. Our night exploration begun… into the district’s to follow the story …

Straight into the Lion’s Den on Friday morning to see Toots and the Maytals – who we gave it (huh) 10 TIMES!. Generation defying ‘feel goodness’ from Pressure Drop and 54-46 Was My Number. Beautiful, euphoric love infected the Den – the rhythm ran through us as we sang, as we danced and kicked off our shoes.


Over to Mr Whompy we went, the souped up ex-ice cream van that is, for four days, a skank faced raving monster machine for our first taste of Boomtown 2017’s Drum & Bass offering. Ready-Set-Go! The group flowed through the small crowd, our faces scrunched up, arms and legs flying everywhere.

Peaking early on the Friday is a bad call. We pulled the clan back together, war wounds already showing, just in time for Cypress Hill flooring it with a remix’d House of Pains – Jump Around and then blast out banger after banger of old skool hip-hop funk! When this was all over our heads were mashed… The crowd were dumbstruck but jeered as B-Real sparked a zoot and ripped it up.

High Focus’s own Four Owls, Dead Players and Ocean Wisdom looked insanity and completely owned the Poco Loco stage for the night.

The trick to any festival is that the more you stumble around the more you are bound to find events you will most indefinitely enjoy. I consider this being one of the best tactics of tackling any festival, be it the tear down of Download, The hippy driven secret Garden Party or the revolution of Boomtown Fair, the more you stumble the more you find! Saturday was one of those days. I say this as I completely missed Ziggy Marley and, indeed, The Specials on Saturday in favour of a lucid hike through the psy-trance colour explosion of the Psychedelic Forest. Astrix step up to lead us on a wayward journey to somewhere I can’t entirely define for you. We immersed from losing ourselves to having lost much of the clan. A moan the good people of the official festival Complaints Department (an actual place) dutiful shredded upon receipt.

Sunday was hot. Get-immediately-out-of-the-tent hot. With a breakfast of cider we found ourselves in the Town Centre watching some band called The Wurzels – Not a band I thought I knew but hey, us Gen-Z’ers now want a Combine Harvester.

With all the new and old, main and low-key stages at Boomtown all alive for the last day there was plenty of moments to take in and watch. Gentlemen’s Dub Club was a must go see, after seeing them plastering Brighton’s bill boards we had to go find out what all the commotion was about. Very surprised we were, they had set a High Grade bar for other artists to achieve that night. The Dub-Reggae mix which flowed out in the valley of which Lions Den is built upon. Highlights were watching the school boy dressed gang jamming along to High Grade, and stomping to Earthquake a 10/10 from me and a must see band if given the opportunity.


It was a quick turn around that evening as we were adamant to be at the start of Shy FX. We witnessed major remixes and absolutely stinky heavy dirty drops of DJ Hazards Brick’s don’t Roll, to Chase N Status’ No Problem the crowd was ecstatic.

The chapter was coming to a finale. Our destiny lied at Banghai Industries with Black Sun Empire. The well known and profound Dutch Pneu Tech Drum and bass group hit the ball for 6 with the closing of Banghai Industries 2017 blasting out all they had to give and we did the same in return. The last of energy we had and what we had done to enhance it was wearing off and as midnight was struck and the fair was coming to an end, the revealing of who was behind the mask was greeted by a girl on the big screen…

It all seem so hacked. Numbers, letters and syllables in green were running and jolting over the the screens on the stage, the lasers lights were flying, flickering and falling, and then a young girl appeared on the screens in front of us telling us that our money, our lives and sex, all things we need to feel alive were not really ours.. So who was really in control? Where are they? And there it was.. The CEO of Banghai Industries, a big beefy man in a hand tailored three piece suite stood there laughing and jeering at the crowd for all us to see. He was the man behind the mask, the leader of the revolution. The one who killed the Prime Minister all those chapters ago..

The ending had explained everything but had answered nothing, and we left Banghai Industries and dragged ourselves up the big stairs of Winchester bowl, leading us out to the view point and leaving Downtown for the last time. It was an interesting ending to this wonky wobbly year but to try and explain what had just happened.. We could not.


Boomtown you beauty, but be aware – in Chapter 10, I hear The Machine Cannot be Stopped.


Rhys Stonely

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