On the 11th August 50,000 people will descend upon Matterley Estate in Winchester because for one weekend, and one weekend only, it is erupts into a weird and wonderful, crazy pop up jungle utopia known more commonly as “Boomtown Fair”

Old Mines - Photo by Scott Salt
Old Mines – Photo by Scott Salt

1. You can escape into another world

This is the 8th year of Boomtown. Boomtown is not just a festival, it is an all engrossing, multi dimensional, sense thrashing experience that will take you into another world, somewhere which feels so far from everday life that you’ll completely forget you’re in a country park in Hampshire, let alone on this planet.

Viewpoint over Boomtown - Photo by Daisy Brasington
Viewpoint over Boomtown Fair – Photo by Daisy Brasington

2. You’ll hear an incredible diversity of music

You will experience a complete diversity of music, art, craft, colour and costume over the course of one weekend. Prepare to embrace ska, folk, gypsy, reggae, world, punk, pirate, disco, electro-swing, jazz, blue-grass, bass, jungle and techno across a massive 23 main stage areas.

Some big stage acts look out for over the weekend include Madness, Damian Marley, The Correspondents, Beardyman, Afro Celt Soundsystem, Levellers, Parov Stellar and Fat Freddy’s Drop.

Lions Den - Photo by Benjamin Paul
Lions Den – Photo by Benjamin Paul

3. You have the excuse to dress up like a pirate/cowboy

Admit it, we all the love the excuse to dress up! At Boomtown dressing up is practically compulsory. There are four main areas of the festival which are split into nine different sections, known as “Districts”. Each district emulates a different way of life, a different type of music and a completely alternative immersive experience.

Photo by Caltristan - Face painting in Old Town
Face painting in Old Town – Photo by Caltristan

This disturbed yet delightful world can be overwhelming to an inexperienced Boomtown civilian so we’ve provided you with a brief summary of what’s what:

Old Town Strap on your best peg leg, kohl your eyes and swagger on down to the Jolly Dodger Pirate Ship in Old Town to embrace your inner gypsy and throw some moves to fast paced, energy fuelled balkan beats.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ Gypsies of Bohemia

Photo by Tom Martin - Jolly Dodger Pirate Ship
Jolly Dodger Pirate Ship – Photo by Tom Martin

Wild West Head to the Wild West and take a step back in time to the western saloons of centuries gone by. Prop yourself up, having a drink or two and enjoy everything capable of a Western twang including blues, country, bluegrass and American notes. You’ll also hear world, roots and folk here.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ The White City Shakers, Afro Celt Soundsystem, Steve ‘n’ Seagulls, Afriquoi

Mayfair Saunter over to The Bandstand to enjoy the jaunty tones of electro swing pulsing through high society and let the live rhythms of swing taking you back to the 1920s with a twist. If electro swing is your thing, brace yourself as Parov Stellar will be performing on the Town Centre Stage over the course of the weekend.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ Electric Swing Circus, Renegade Brass Band

Wild West - Photo by Jody Hartley
Wild West – Photo by Jody Hartley
Photo by Jody Hartley
Photo by Jody Hartley

Barrio Loco Head to POCO LOCO in Barrio Alto, the district home to funk, hip hop, live bass, house and garage.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬  Foreign Beggars, Submotion Orchestra

ChinaTown Everything ska and punk resides here. Hit the abandoned 50s diner Devil Kicks Dancehall for iconic ska, psycho and folk punk from across the world.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ Jaya the Cat, Sonic Boom Six

DSTRKT 5 A place of late night descent, here you’ll find jungle, drum ‘n’ bass and house to see you through to the early hours. Venues include the Bang-Hai Palace, Robotika (fresh for 2016) the Scrapyard and the Sewage Works.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ A Skillz, Krafty Kuts

Trench Town All dancehall, dub and reggae is found on The Lion’s Den stage of Trench Town.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ Damien Marley, Fat Freddys Drop, Madness, Congo Natty

Sector 6 New for 2016! Old school rap, hip hop and urban sounds.

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬  Ms Dynamite, So Solid Crew

Bang Hai Palace - Photo by Jody Hartley
Bang Hai Palace – Photo by Jody Hartley
Lions Den - Photo by Jody Hartley
Lions Den -Photo by Jody Hartley

4. You can learn how to juggle

Whistlers Green Area: Whistlers Green and KidzTown

For a breath of fresh air head to Whistlers Green. This garden of Eden-like paradise will give you enough space to relax, rewind and take five from the surrounding mayhem. Chill out here, grab a chai tea and kick back whilst allowing your ears to entertain the funk and soul beats of Craig Charles and the atmospheric, silky trip hop of Banco De Gaia.

Kidstown - Daisy Brasington
Kidstown – Photo by Daisy Brasington

Whistlers green is the umbrella of everything sustainable and organic at Boomtown. Here, recycling and up-cycling are a passion with a focus on the wholesome and nurturing side of the festival. Crafts, workshops and green pastures greet you with the option to engage in a number of creative endeavors.

From dance workshops and morning yoga to an interactive open mic jamming stage, this is the place where you can really get involved. Teach yourself a thing or two at the green innovations area with talks and discussions aplenty. Ever wondered how to juggle? You can learn here!

5. You can treat yourself to a hangover massage

There’s not many festivals where this is an option! For those needing some serious time out from the party, treat yourself to a much needed massage in Whistlers Green to soothe those dancing limbs before you head out on your next adventure.

Photo by Jody Hartley
Photo by Jody Hartley

6. There’s a festival campfire!

How many festival’s of this size can say they have an after hours campfire? After you’ve danced the night away at The Windmill Stage to some soul, funk and reggae then soaked up the atmospheric beats at the Floating Lotus, finish off the day’s adventures with a wind down around the campfire and a touch of late night storytelling, the ultimate calm down.

Written by Becca Linnard at Brag Vintage

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