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Boomtown Fair 2016: The LeftLion Story

26 August 16 words: Bridie Squires

Festival, you say? Nay. Boomtown is no festival. It is the home to many a warped reality, to disparate wealth, and the revolution of original ravers



The vibrations were starting to rise again. It had been a whole year since the palace saw fists raised in its sparkly jaw, and news of Comrade Jose’s increased wrath had started to spread among the Chinatown shacks. The palace flickered in the distance as we made repairs to our new home. It was simply too dangerous in district of Barrio Loco, and we did not care for Comrade Jose’s cruel battle games as a means of taking back control of her birthplace. There was no place for us there. Chinatown was our district.

Whispers of the mighty Sector 6 revolution trickled from passing-by mouths but were quickly dismissed as hearsay, drowned out by the bassy jungle of Rubberdub Soundsystem at Tangled Roots. As we continued on throughout the town, however, calls for liberty echoed from French voices on the Jolly Dodger pirate ship. Could it be that the upbeat folk sound of Les Yeux D’La Tete spoke the truth?

Boomtown throbbed with questions – secret doors in Old Town begged to be opened, the night swimming in mysterious and beautiful creatures all the way down to Devil’s Kicks Dancehall, where Jaya The Cat smashed out the reggae punk pop jams like bosses. Unity was swelling all around us, but we weren’t sure who could be trusted.

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Refuge from the torturous confusion waited for us at the Boomtique Village, where freedom comes at a price, but feels so good. We lay in the sunshine, sweat out our worries in the sauna, and washed them off completely in the hot tubs. Soulful jazz swam down our ears to prepare us for a session with Nottingham’s Harleighblu and her smooth voice. Up at Whistler’s Green, the mood took a much more relaxed turn, and we began to wonder if Comrade Jose had any power over this area at all.

Indeed, the laughter that rang out of Kidztown, as well as the hula hoops, circus games, and pie-throwing competitions all around us, spoke a very different story to that of dictatorship. Maybe there was some joy to be had after all.

Suddenly, we saw Mr Pig of Piggy Bank taking the funds of young people and stashing them in his pocket. Darkness lurked around every corner, no matter how brightly the sun shone.

On our travels, The Masked Man revealed signs that there was truth in the revolution. Passing by woodworker Rob Beckinsale, we saw the figure himself begin to emerge from a log carving – he was everywhere, we couldn’t deny him further.

Travelling through the glitter of the woodland, brutality emerged: a fire near the Boomtique Village, its smoke marring the air in plumes as we bit our nails in anticipation. Luckily nobody was hurt and the fire was tamed, but we knew what this signified. It was time to move. The grotty Robotika stage echoed with the old school dubstep sounds of Gantz.

But we knew we couldn’t stay in one place for too long, so it was back to the Jolly Dodger pirate ship. Chilling out in the cool shade, stroking the smooth grass, we heard a conversation nearby. Mice. Mice had gathered around us, muttering to one another “Have you seen any exterminators around here lately?”

Fagin-like and scratty, we later saw them being chased by their enemy. Poor things. Houston folk punk band Days N’ Daze wowed with their throaty, washboard antics and as we turned around, saw that all the mice had managed to escape and were partying their little paws off on the roof of the bar.

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As the new reality of our world began to sink in, we turned to the setting sun for answers. In Mayfair, the roofs were joined by a tightrope, with both man and woman using core stability and precision to move across it, throwing cash onto the proles below. An awesome feat, absolutely breathtaking, but we knew not to be wooed by the antics of the rich.

Sector 6 was real. Somehow, we knew. We took our friend Snake to find it. Our jaws dropped when we saw what we saw. Drum ‘n’ bass from Calyx & TeeBee echoed across the land as the industrial monstrosity of a stage kicked out fire, dancers, and calls for revolution. It was so clear to us now – when the town simmers down, Sector 6 rises up. It was so beautiful, we wanted to broadcast to the nation, but no. The revolution will not be televised.

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The Wild West was full of the disparate wealth we’d come to venomously hate, with its diamond mining industry pumping funds into the banks of Mayfair’s corporate fat cats. We decided to join our friends at high noon, at Crazy Calamaties saloon, to rebel against the corruption through the medium of dance. Unknown Era blasted out their funky dispelling of propaganda like champions of the movement. We began to realise the ones we could trust.

Gaudi was one of those people. We set off for the Psychedelic Forest to find the DJ in all his dubby, electronic glory, as we basked with the poi throwers and stuck many a googly eye everywhere, rejoicing in the knowledge that together, we could be free.

When night came, though, we found it difficult to ignore the pull of Mayfair. The Park Hotel’s pool tables and beds were a thing of beauty, the pub spoke to our working-class heritage, and the Town Hall had invited Leftfield to address the people. A deep, dub soundscape moved the earth below us, and when ‘that Guiness advert track’ dropped, the very fabrics of the universe were twisted again, and again, and again.

The lure of the rich was not enough to keep us from the filth of Sewage Works – the room of dripping pipes, where breakcore from Igorr and Ruby My Dear proved grittily skankable. We danced the morning away with Morris dancers until the music was no more, and all that was left to do… was have a go on the bumper cars.

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We had heard tales of revolutionaries recalibrating members of the public, pulling them into rooms and shocking them into submission so that they would join the fight for freedom. Did we really know who to trust? All we wanted was happiness for the people, and there was one place we knew we could certainly find it – the Lion’s Den.

Constantly shaking with the love of reggae, we anticipated our visit while filling our bellies with the goods of the town – halloumi and spinach sandwiches, massive Yorkshire puddings, donuts – if it was wrong to indulge, we didn’t want to be right. Fat Freddy’s Drop drew in the townspeople in their masses, with even the giant cardboard man coming out to play. Their interesting play on tracks soothed and stroked, with Blackbird sprouting tears of joy from every direction.

The night was drawing in, with hip hop from Pharoahe Monch, live jazzy electro swing from Pavrov Stelar and finally a huge party with Electric Swing Circus – massive bubble blower n’all. But as we danced, in the district of Mayfair, with rich men and women throwing money onto our heads, we knew where we needed to be.

Sector 6 buzzed with fireworks, screams of joy from the people, DJ Hype and Hazard igniting of the dark sky above us. Yes, I thought. The revolution is now.

Boomtown Fair, Matterley Bowl, Hampshire, Thursday 11 – Sunday 15 August

Tickets for 2017 go on sale Tuesday 1 November


Bridie’s Vlog of Boomtown Fair 2016
10 Reasons You Should Go To Boomtown Fair
Bridie’s 2015 Story

Boomtown Fair website

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