Boomtown Fair 2013
added: 8 Aug 2013
// gig date: 8 Aug 2013
reviewer: Halima Amin
Boomtown Fair, Winchester, has blown away uncertainties of last year and delivered a fun, diverse and party-fuelled festival for summer 2013.
The site, as usual, was breath taking. Absolutely crammed with the most minute of details, jokes and installations, there was consistently new discoveries to make, making the hill induced leg ache somewhat worth it. Secret discos, intricately designed sets (particularly the Chinatown site) and cabaret dancers are just a fraction of the kind of madness awaiting explorers. Of course, the ever awe-inspiring fire breathing Arcadia spider was the mecca of harder partiers, playing host to the likes of LTJ Bukem and Calyx and throngs of crazed dancers below its spindly legs. The spectacle that is Slamboree and their rendition of “Death of the Festival” feat Beans on Toast on mainstage absolutely defined the entire festival; an appearance by Beans on Toast was an exciting one with the song being released just after Glastonbury.
Whilst the general beat of Ska was a little overbearing at times, variation came in the form of much more punk acts hosted in the glorious Devils Kick stage. A delightfully more aggressive beat came from Beat the Red Light, who had ladies head banging and men’s knees in the air. Band Dirty Revolution were one of the few Ska bands who broke through the drudgery of the Ska beat to bring a very forward and enchanting hip winding sound.
Stages in the Hidden Woods offered a much more chilled out reggae vibe with sand and cocktails, shady trees and wooden coves to escape from the hustle and bustle of the massive festival. Acts like Captain Accident brought a mellow yet exciting lull to the festival which audiences lapped up with drinks in hand. The Lions Den held up major acts such as Collie Budz and Richie Spice, which made for an absolutely fantastic and unique showcase that is often unseen in mainstream large festivals.
Festival circuit favourite Dreadlock Alien of the Wandering Word poetry exhibition dragged together a menagerie of poets and guitar wielders ranging from the excessively exhausting Bristolian experience to the impassioned speaker.
It seemed that this year the European influences on stage brought a wonderfully appealing diversity, particularly so from the French. The stunning Aztec-looking Lions Den stage played host to Dub Inc., who encapsulated a very heart-warming sincerity to their vibe, mixing Arabic style vocals with French and African/Jamaican sounds that had hundreds moving. Similarly French band Les hurlements de Leo had an unusually exuberant sound which was widely appreciated by British crowds. Playing twice during the festival (including on the very opening day), folk-ska band Will Tun and The Wasters with French rapper MC Amalgam were a jovial experience with lyrics to be later decoded and enjoyed.
Mini discoveries such as a Tequila slammer Mexican-inspired cavern with sugar-skull inspired free face painting and (personal favourite) a pretty pumping roller disco were always to be made. A glitter caked mini dance stage was an absolute delight, taking requests and shimmying away with anyone willing to jump on stage.
Amenities were maintained to a fair expectancy and despite extreme issues stemming from drug use, security were calm and careful and even horse riding policemen were up for a chat and help.
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