Childerbeast and I have spent last 4 days as citizens of the festival town of Boom, all the way down in the rolling south downs near Winchester.
Never been to this festival before and other than the British weather being a bit of a disappointment after 2 months of solid sunshine, we were well impressed. (Although not with the amount of litter – I do abhor a dirty camper! Sort it out Boomtowners).
5 hour train journey down. Excellent shuttle bus service from the station, despite being a bit overpriced at £10 a head return. Then a tenner for programme, so I was £40 light before we even got to the gate!
Saw a couple of casualties in the line, peaking waaaay too soon. Had to go in a separate line because I had teens with me so then had to sign my life away with the promise to stay with them at all times on pain of expulsion from the site! Not that I was going to turn them loose into the fray of already off their nut 20-somethings for a 4 day mum-free Class A fest! Despite appearances, I am a responsible parent dontchya know. I’d rather I educated them than just release them into the wild untutored.
So, once wristbanded up we had to join another line to get sniffed at by drug dogs. Our fruit cordial, in sustainable reusable water bottles (learn something here Boomtowners) was poured on the grass as it was considered contraband. Yet within 5 minutes of being inside, people were firing up the green stuff and we overheard others touting their wares. “Es trips & wizz” 1990’s old skool style. So Robinsons summer fruits was a big No No but crack on with the chronic y’all.
Essentially, and I make no judgements here, this festival was brought to you by the letters M. D. M & A . A bit of E and a shitload of K. And you can have as many dogs as you like at the entrance gate but as they saying goes “if they want to get in, then they’ll get in.”
As I am now 46 and a parent of impressionable teens, I chose to have my festival sponsored by Old Mout, Hooch, Orchard Thieves cider and a hipflask or two of my old friend Jose Cuervo.
Old ravers never die as we all know though, so age and responsibility did not stop this mama from throwing some shapes at the D&B stage. My children are now immune and just let me get on with it. In fact they actually joined in, which was a plus.
No 1 phrase of the festival for me was probably, “You know that kind of bass that you can feel in your bumhole?”
Yes. As it goes. I do. Also, that level of bass that makes you dry heave.
The premise of the 10 year old festival, is that a dude called Nicholas Boom established a small town. It grew bigger. Everyone had fun, everyone was happy. Then some big corporation moved in and took over, telling everyone what they should be thinking and doing (erm, hallo? sound familiar anyone?). Boom then vanished. The corporate big cheeses took over. There was a revolution and then the corporation invented a major piece of sentient artificial intelligence which, in the finale closing ceremony on Sunday, blew the lid off the corporation.
Yes people. These Boomtown lot have put a whole lot of effort into this shit over the last ten years.
You could get as immersed into this storyline throughout the festival as you wanted. We chose not to, mostly because it was difficult to tell who was part of the storyline, who was acting and who were just regular punters dressed up. We were also trying to find our way around all the different areas, districts, mock streets, alleyways, barrios, ghettos and stages built from shipping containers. In fact after 2 days we realised there was an entire area almost the size of Shambala festival that we hadn’t yet explored when we found it by accident behind a hedge!
I very quickly made the sweeping generalisation that boys from Bristol are bellends. A judgement made pretty much solely on the group camped behind us who found it hilarious to operate a loud-hailer with police siren mode. Shouting “LAPD, Hands up Motherfuckers!” every 5 seconds. They were very close, within half an hour of our pitching up, of having said loudhailer shoved up their arses. I’m sure they’re lovely people. They just got on my tits very quickly. (Probably because I’m no longer 20 years old, nubile and fresh-faced with minimal responsibilities).
It was hilly as hell too. And after weeks of hot weather, a dust bowl – until day 2 when it pissed it down and turned the place into a mud bath!
Note to self kids: Do not leave the tent door a tiny bit unzipped please. You can mop that water up as much as you like in a panic while I am on the composting toilet, but if my rucksack was sat in a pond in the bottom of the tent then all my clothes will be soaked and I will be narked for at least two hours!
Camping on even the slightest of an incline also presents something of challenge at bedtime. Feet down and you slide down the rollmat. Feet up and you run the risk of waking up with your head even more beachball sized then before. Sideways and you all inevitably end up in a pile on at the bottom of the tent by morning.
All the fun of the camping fair though.
No 2 phrase of the festival: – “Can I interest you ladies in some ket?” – Me: “She’s 13 mate, fuck off!” as my youngest sat oblivious eating her ice cream – she hadn’t heard what he said. See also “Merry Xmas beautiful, have some ket” as randomer tossed a baggie at my eldest as we packed away the tent and it flew in through the door. “What shall I do with it mum?” “Erm, I don’t want it, put it in the bin bab!” (but not before picture taken of her holding it was snapped for prosperity, possible bribery in the future or for use as a calendar for Grandma.
Hadn’t realised anyone did that shit still. It was pretty dank back in the day. Can’t imagine it’s improved in the last 25 years. Hey kids. let’s tranquillize ourselves with veterinary strength painkiller then at least we won’t notice if it’s pissing down. Shit, we won’t even know who we are anymore or whether we have limbs. It’ll be awesome!
Just say no y’all!
Music wise we saw ‘OMG it’s the Church’ – go see them if you can – very entertaining. All hail sexy Jesus. They promise to turn your pain into cocaine and your pretty pleases into titty squeezes. Fact!
Other highlights were ‘The Dutty Moonshine Big Band’, ‘Cult of the Damned’, ‘Electric Swing Circus’, ‘Muerte’, ‘Soul II Soul’ and ‘Gorillaz’, who drew probably the biggest crowd of the festival on the Saturday night.
Next favourite festival saying, “Snoop Doooooogggg! I love youuuuuu”. and –“You know he’s not actually there right?”
The best set for me by far though was ‘Die Antwoord’. After leaving it too late on the Saturday to get anywhere near Gorillaz at the Lion’s Den stage, we were front (and slightly off centre) on Sunday, well in advance for these guys. It was so wet and muddy I did fear we might not make it into the bowl of the amphitheatre, or that we’d have to stay there til it dried out enough to scramble back out. We also had to go dressed as jellyfish as our showerproof coats proved utterly useless against the torrent of rain. We found that out the hard way, whilst waiting to see the Electric Swing Circus when we got absolutely piss wet through!
Luckily it didn’t rain during the set – although I don’t think I’d have cared by that stage I was so excited.
We had been looking forward to these since we found out they were on earlier this year! We were not disappointed.
Foookin L! I forgot my kids were with me for a while! In the zone. Me, my pocket pal Jose and my new mate, let’s call him ‘Cheddar Bob’ who tried to trade me his hash for my hipflask and who I had to stop from falling over several times. I also employed some Team Teach tactics to help split up a fight and then I bounced myself stupid. Hands in the Muthacluckin air, singing along and having The. Best. Of. Times. Made even better by the fact that my girls were also having a great time (rather than sitting at my feet on a poncho, looking fed up – which has been known at festivals past).
I can’t put the videos on here that I took when I wasn’t jumping up and down trying not to piss myself, so I’ll include this link to their Baby’s on Fire video, which Bman has always said reminds him of Tyersal – and I have to agree TBH. My favourite track is this one Banana Brain which in fairness could also be Tyersal. (Although the childerbeast did not appreciate my Yolandi impression as I burst into song in the tent at one point during the festival) – “Muuuuum everyone can hear you outside the tent, shuuuut uuuuup!
Amazing set later and we followed the throng, to the Bang Hai Towers stage at the other side of the festival for the closing ceremony. With the exception of one dude on a food mission, ploughing the opposite way to the masses, just chanting to himself “chicken chicken chicken”. I hope he got his fix.
The finale was also off the scale. Drum and bass-tastic. Laser heavy, fire blasting, hardcore utter mental. Then quite the spectacle of a closing show film with big mention of the need to clamp down on the litter and left behind tents etc (which drew a big whoop from me). And the promise of a Chapter 11 (after rumours that this year would be the last one – that also drew big cheers).
Chapter 11 – The Radical City (or something, I forget, I was a few shots in by that stage and still pumped up from Die Antwoord).
Then that was it. All over. Music off for midnight and Boiiing! Time for bed Zebedee.
Or not. maybe we’ll just upend all the bins and start a drumming circle to make our own music for the next two hours. Or sit on the loo farting and singing about butterflies (none of those things was us BTW).
It is hard to capture the essence of any festival if you weren’t actually at it. For all the photos you do take, there are as many you didn’t, and just have in your own head:-
A lone man dancing with a spider plant in a pot in the Hidden Woods. The girl in the loos on the last day, having to be helped down the steps by her pal and wondering why everyone was packing up, as the pal very patiently explained that it was Monday and time to leave site. Yes it was largely populated by youngling rajjies, off their gourds, but they were harmless enough (perhaps not to their own brains and vital organs) but everyone was having fun, some perhaps a little too much too soon but still. My girls loved it. I think they found it more educational than any shite PL lesson or whatever it’s called at school. They saw some shit. Hopefully it will teach them something. I’m hoping it’s “let’s not ever get as mashed up as that fucked up couple at Hotel Paradiso who lurched in like something from the Walking Dead”. They clocked them both, looked at me and we all did a synchronised “WOW!!” then shook our heads, laughing. My kids asked me, “what have they had then mum?” “Everything” said I. “A shitload of everything!”
Bless them. I hope they had a great time, because they looked like total shit! They’re probably still crawling around the South Downs on all fours, trying to remember how they got there. (The muntered couple, not my kids).
We’ve all been there to a certain extent, so don’t deny it!
I can’t even begin to process the dog’s breakfast of a journey home but to suffice to say it took less time to fly to Orlando last year! FFS! A broken-down freight train blocking the line is not your friend when you are only one stop into a 5 hour journey home. Particularly not after four days of walking an average 10 miles a day, partying, sleeping on the floor and with all your camping gear on your back. We’ve seen every blade of grass between Basingstoke and Reading from a rail replacement coach, just to get on the same train we were asked to get off in the first place! Arriving home 2 hours later than planned even though we set off an hour before schedule.
I could have knelt down and kissed the platform at Leeds Station when we finally got there!
Good times. I was as happy as a taxidermied security badger in a pram.
And we get to do it all again next week when we go to Shambala with my sister. Not quite on such a scale, but it’s going to be awesome and this time… I will take my wellies even if it’s 30 degrees with zero chance of rain .
Ciao Ciao Y’all. See you in a field somewhere soon Xx
*New greeting, arising from me awaiting my order of 2 haloumi wraps – Greek lady waved them at me saying “Halloumimayo?” as I just smiled aimlessly like a gorm, nodding at her because I thought she was greeting me in Greek or something. She had to say it another 3 times before I realised she was proffering me my food order.