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Festival Preview: Boomtown Fair


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8th - 11th August


Festivals generally avoid towns, instead heading for the wide open spaces; sprawling fields, lake shores, the occasional beach. This festival, however, is a town – and it’s quite possibly the maddest town in the whole wide world.

BoomtownThe selling point of Boomtown Fair is its unique history. Boomtown sells itself as an actual town, which once prospered from the wealth brought in by a vein of gold, but is now much changed. Various districts sit cheek by jowl with each other, each more different and slightly stranger than the last. You’re recommended to find out about the districts before you arrive, to decide which one you want to stay in for your four day visit. Are you one of the city’s elite, living along May-fair Avenue, or more of a shifty pirate type down at the Oldtown docks? Make your decision and gather fancy dress choices appropriately.

Across the 12 districts there are around 25 stages, offering up a heady mix of ska, reggae, dub, comedy, poetry and theatre. Alongside the entertainment are a host of arts and craft activities for both adults and children.

It’s almost impossible to avoid getting sucked into the town’s beautifully weird narrative, with rebels frequently causing trouble, the aliens that landed in 2012 casually wandering around, and more besides. Considering the town is only five years old, it certainly has a busy history, and something special is bound to take place in 2013.

Even if you’re not the biggest ska fan in the world, Boomtown looks like one of the most immersive and involving festival experiences around. Bring your tent, a few fancy dress outfits and a very open mind, and you might find yourself wanting to be a resident of Boomtown forever.

To buy tickets and read more about Boomtown’s unusual history, go to

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