For one weekend of the year the Matterley Bowl Estate in Winchester transforms into a sprawling metropolis of vibrant music, theatre and fantastical escapism. The Boomtown Fair started in 2009 and has since grown into one of the most talked about festivals on the circuit. Sticking close to its grassroots ethos it has done this without succumbing to commercialisation, remaining as quirky, independent and idiosyncratic as it set out to be.
There are 9 districts to intrigue the urban explorer, each with their own distinctive style and genre. At the centre of Boomtown are OldTown (Pirates, Balkan & Gypsy), TrenchTown (Reggae and Dub), Mayfair Avenue (Electro Swing and Glamour), Wild West (Bluegrass and Cowboys), Whistlers Green (Folk and World Music), and KidzTown. The outskirts offer an equally eccentric and exciting prospect for the determined Boomtown adventurer: Barrio Loco (Breaks and Bass), DownTown District (Drum & Bass and Jungle) and ChinaTown (Ska and Punk). The imaginative minds of the town
planners didn't stop there either, bringing more festival magic in the shape of parades, pop-up paint fights and a fancy dress frenzy.
Like the sound of Boomtown Fair? We are still recruiting stewards for this year's festival!
This will be Oxfam's third year at Boomtown. Both mad-capped and magical, Boomtown has captured the imagination of some of our Oxfam stewards, who return year after year. Here's what they have to say about the Boomtown stewarding experience:
"Walking into the streets of Boom Town is like walking into a mix of mardi-gras, 20's Chicago, Mos Eisley spaceport and a pantomime. Everything about the place is different and unique, from the shops and buildings with their wonky walls and colourful charm, to the fancy façades of the Town Hall... From a stewarding perspective it's a lively experience, and, if last year is anything to go by, the Oxfam facilities are some of the best you'll find all season." ~ Graham Stevenson
"I started going to Boomtown because it's local to my parents, making it easy to get to. I think it's the type of festival people go to on recommendation from other people, and that people go back to year after year. I think its fun and varied, and I prefer the more intimate, smaller festivals. Despite the hill, it's a compact site, which is a relief if you're getting up early for a stewarding shift!... Wandering around Boomtown you stumble on so many different types of music and weird and wonderful things! It's such a different line-up to other festivals. But
don't let the chaos scare you, I supervised at Boomtown for the first time last year and absolutely loved it." ~ Rowena Sharps
"Boomtown = escapism from daily life. A magical bowl of countryside and a mad hatter's ball. Rough and ready, with festival goers more fab freak show than fashion show. As always the Oxfam crew are 'T' for tremendous." ~ Helen Northmore
"In my first year with Oxfam I kind of ended up there by accident, but since then it has been the only festival I have signed up to every year... When I look at the line-up for Boomtown I can pretty much guarantee I won't have heard of a single artist... chances are that's the same for a lot of people. That shouldn't put anyone off - I have never failed to find something to get me dancing at Boomtown, day or night... as important as the music is, what I love about Boomtown is it is escape into another world. The imagination and creativity of the people who organise the
festival is hard to fathom. Everything is weird and wonderful... The variety of the festival itself is matched by the crowd. There isn't a 'typical' Boomtown customer or steward, and you can find people of all ages and every walk of life." ~ Felicity Parker
So what can you expect from Boomtown 2014? Big name headliners such as Cat Empire, Bellowhead and NOFX alongside hidden gems; Boomtown is a voyage through musical genres from folk, to reggae to electro swing. There's a new 'Wild Wild West' district and an 'Outrageous Carnival' theme. As ambitious and as creative as ever, Boomtown 2014 promises to be another exciting year for festival-goers and stewards alike.
You can apply for Boomtown Fair or our other festivals online today on the Stewarding website
Article Author ~ Emma Manion