So it’s coming to the time of year when everyone starts crawling out of the gym wondering what the hell happened to January. We’ve just spent a month trying to reverse what a couple of weeks binging on Aldi’s finest booze, and sugar riddled treats can do to our otherwise, I’m sure, trim and sculpted bodies. Nevertheless memories of sunnier and happier days start to filter through, hazy flickering memories of a time when being outside didn’t mean wearing more layers than a family sized lasagna and when sitting in a field listening to music was not only possible, but a pleasurable experience at that.
Yep you guessed it, it’s time to think about festivals, and Boomtown is one I have been itching to see a lineup for. It’s a festival which is well-known for its rich atmosphere and freedom of expression. It even comes with its own warped dystopian storyline, one that develops year on year, with last years saga seeing the union of the brainwashed ‘Comrade Jose’ (formally Mayor Burrita José) and ‘The Sheriff’. A move that led to the building of the ‘Bang High Palace’, a huge, nine story fire-breathing behemoth of a main stage. Erupting with vicious drum and bass, the palace was erected as a monument to the strength of the new totalitarian alliance, and it worked, right up until the end of the four days, when a speech by ‘Comrade José’ was hijacked by a masked figure heralding the beginning of a new uprising and a new revolution, the tantalising cliffhanger for the next chapter in the Boomtown legend.
Never pinning itself down to any specific genre, Boomtown really rewards the wanderer, you can find yourself raving in a hidden wood one second then skanking on a sun drenched amphitheatre of a hillside the next. Quite literally, the nine different districts making up this brilliantly peculiar pop up city each boast its own flavour of musical delights, from the Latino carnival mood of ‘Barrio Loco’ to the futuristic neon drenched buildings of ‘DSTRKT 5’, a stroll around boomtown is as spicy and unpredictable as a liger (Editor’s Note: Liger) in a curry house. So all in all I don’t think I can be blamed for my, let’s be honest, childish anticipation for the “immersive audiovisual joyride” that is Boomtown. Especially when you look at the wide variety of well known names hitting the many stages this year.
Damian Marley, reggae legend in his own right, returns to the UK’s biggest reggae stage ‘Lion’s Den’, alongside the Kiwi seven piece Fat Freddy’s drop and classic skank merchants Madness. In the centre Boomtown’s self proclaimed musical “melting pot” ‘Town Center’ looks to be living up to its reputation this year, setting up to host electronic dignitaries Leftfield and Parov Stelar alongside the ‘Fun Lovin’ Criminals’’ eclectic mix of hip-hop, funk. Over in ‘DSTRKT 5’ ‘Bang Hai Palace’ is back and immense as ever, looking ready to blast its drum and bass propaganda to the masses with Roni Size and DJ Krust reuniting to mark 20 years of Full Cycle Records, as well as a b2b from DJ Hype and DJ Hazard. Boomtown wouldn’t Boomtown without it’s vast menagerie of hidden spaces and secret stages, and this year looks to be no different. Names like the unpredictable Glaswegian house, disco (and.. well, everything else) connoisseur Jackmaster, renowned for being “one of the most talented and versatile DJs there is” lining up alongside Radio 6 funk and soul stalwart Craig Charles to grace some of the more enigmatic stages sprinkled around Boomtown, the spirit of exploration is clearly still alive.
But anyway, here it is, the first major lineup announcement for Boomtown Chapter 8.