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Boom Shakes The Room — Explosion of Colour And Happy Vibes At Spellbinding Gathering

Photo Credit: Lucas Sinclair/Jody Hartley.

Few festivals have been as eagerly anticipated this summer as Winchester's Boomtown Fair - the first new chapter turned since 2019.

The brains behind the long weekend - Chris Rutherford and Luke Marcus 'Lak' Mitchell - oversaw the inception of Boomtown in August 2009.

It was formed with the clear intention of promoting neglected music genres alongside an explosion of colour to contrast a perceived identikit music festival format.

This latest edition, entitled Chapter 1 - The Gathering, was hailed as regeneration for the super show, with widespread optimism punctuating five days of hedonism at The Matterley Estate venue.


Credit: Ben Smith.

Boomtown is trailblazing among the British season's extensive almanac of jamborees, with inclination towards ecological innovation (try saying that without stuttering!)

This is deployed through an industry-leading eco-bond scheme, card/cashless payments where people pay via wristbands, and a 'leave no trace' mantra.


The Eco Warriorz have attended several festivals including Boomtown this summer

Unlike many of the summer's musical happenings, Boomtown - which leans towards drum and bass, psytrance and reggae - doesn't rely on packing the line-up with mainstream heavy hitters.

Instead it promotes a story-driven narrative while providing a platform for uber-talented live acts.

That said, the likes of Kool & the Gang (below) and De La Soul were among established global stars to appear on stage this year.

Video credit: Patrick O'Neill.

Boomtown 2022 highlights

The Woods

Mid-30s temperatures ensured that a visit to the woods was welcome for those seeking relief from the searing conditions.

Sheltered by trees and with cooling sand underfoot, thousands flocked to these relaxed sanctuaries with irrepressible DJ sets ensuring the energy never dipped.

The area was beautifully lit and visually bedazzling at night, when the full extent of the painstakingly crafted choreography became evident.

A sense of uncorseted freedom


Credit: Boomtown.

One of Boomtown's greatest traits is its ability to act as a conduit for liberation.

For many, this provides their annual unshackled dive into erstwhile unchartered waters, where day jobs, rising costs and meeting other people's expectations are hurled unceremoniously into the abyss.

It's a transition into temporary freedom which people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles share during five days of intoxicatingly impulsive action.

Sharing space with friends old and new


Credit: Leo Rabermeister.

The pandemic had seen shutdown of major gatherings for much of 2020 and 2021, at a time when few could have envisioned the return to halcyon pre-Covid days.

However, this summer has seen a lot of fear dissipate, with Glastonbury and Brighton Pride among the myriad of major shows returning to form with gusto.

Boomtown followed the slipstream, with smiles plastering faces throughout the event.

One of the most eclectic festivals around


Credit: Boomtown.

Whether it was one of a slew of actors, random stages, dance troupes, phenomenal range of costumes or a ping pong table in the middle of a field, Boomtown had twists and turns around every corner.

Despite the downsizing and relocation of the Whistler's Green area, the more compact arena was chock-full of enterprising entertainment.

There were also oft' needed chill-out zones such as The Magic Teapot, which provided welcome contrast to the hedonism on offer elsewhere.

So was 'Chapter One' really a new beginning?


Credit: Boomtown.

In a word: YES!

'The Gathering' delivered a more sanguine hue than its 2019 predecessor ("Chapter 11: A Radical City") , with optimism superseding cynicism as organisers and pleasure seekers alike sought distraction.

Five supernatural days in a massive field will surely have proved therapeutic for anyone who stepped upon those hallowed grassy grounds.

The organisers, actors, performers, and staff behind the scenes should take a bow as they once again made sure Boomtown remained a unique, enchanting experience for the tens of thousands who attended.

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