Preview: Boomtown Fair, Winchester, (07- 10/08/14)


Trying to define Boomtown is a wasted endeavour, an exercise in futility. Uniquely surreal and bizarre, it has countless madcap schemes to entertain the town’s folk. The event pushes the boundaries of alternative and operates in a whole realm of its own; think the Salvador Dali of music festivals. Fancy dress and elaborate set designs feed into the dreamlike party vibe, taking place at The Bowl, Matterley Estate in Winchester, barely an hour away from Southampton, you have no excuses!

The 6th chapter since its conception, this alternative music, fringe comedy and theatre arts festival is the curious ravers paradise, with many city districts to explore, with their own unique theme, dress code and music, there is plenty to explore and plenty of music to get those wellies moving. Mayfair Avenue for example boasts its own casino, gentleman’s club and roller disco! The main stage will see ska, reggae and party bands from around the world, including legendary The Wailers, of Bob Marley fame, whilst he countless other eccentric venues will see music from folk to dub to electro swing, an eclectic selection to suit almost every musical taste.  Heres a taste of what’s in store;

Barrio Loco

The new Town Council in charge of Boomtown with Mayoress Burrita Jose has the theme of Carnival; dust off your maracas and castanets. Expect to see a carnival influence throughout the festival thanks to Burrita; masks, circus antics and a street party atmosphere.

The Wild West

This district sees bluegrass, country scrumpy and western, and with it dosey-doe’s, square dances and straw chewing, the place to discover your inner redneck. As you’d expect the theme has a western vibe, cowboys, Indians, spurs and buxom wenches. Walk these dusty streets and get down to all things good bad and ugly (this is a festival people, there’s perhaps an emphasis on the latter two)

Mayfair Avenue

The home of prosperity, decadence and excess, down these glitzy streets you’ll find The Park Hotel and its House Party. Here you hark back to the roaring twenties, think top hats and the Charleston old sport, with electro swing that would make Gatsby and any other Fitzgerald creation eat their heart out.

Holditdown Town

Sticking it to the man, Holditdown Town is all about peace and love. Chill out with tie-dyes, drum circles and hemp, Woodstock styley, with a folk and family friendly twist. New to this year, this district will now boast its own stage for the hippy chic folk in attendance.


The home to roots and reggae, last year saw the unearthing of its own Aztec temple to fly the flag of its tribal/jungle theme. Feel the base and rhythm shake your soul to the best reggae music the festival has to offer.


Take a trip to yester-year and the dusty ‘good old days’, and the pirate haven of boomtown. Because what’s fancy dress without swashbucklers? Pensioners and sea-faring buccaneers will have the joy of Boomtowns power chord home of ska. Also sporting Oldtown Theatre and Devils kicks, the energy of ska will rejuvenate those weary ravers, pirates and elderly, as well as the occasional mod.


The rough part of town, brimming with debauchery, decadence and trouble, as the sunsets, DownTown springs into life. Pimps and Hoes themed, many a feathered fedora and scantily clad harlot will roam these depraved streets, the district of sin.


The orient see ska, punk, jazz and all sorts of funk join the eastern flavour of this district. China towns mystic mayhem has a dress code of Ninja/Geisha, kick back in the shadows with a fan and cup of tea, as for this districts mysteries; forget it Jake, its Chinatown.

Despite the fantasy of Boomtown, there is eco friendliness at its heart. To keep Boomtown free of litter, tickets involve ‘eco-bonds’, a ten-pound deposit. To get your money back festival attendees will be given a ‘boomtown eco bag’. Organisers ask everyone to fill this bag with all their rubbish and hand it back into one of the drop off points for recycling, and have their £10 deposit returned.

So for an eclectic blend of music and a fantasy filled adventure, take up residence in Boomtown!

Tickets are selling out fast so be quick! You can find out more about tickets here.


About Author

Im Freddie and Im a nerd. I go to as many gigs as I can because I love getting elbowed in the face to the sound of music.

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