I find it extremely tricky to process the overload of information you get at a festival. It doesn’t particularly help matters that the top festivals just seem to get better and better, so getting the experience clear enough in my head to write about them becomes ever harder (not that I’m complaining of course). Still I’ll keep it fairly simple for Boomtown Fair and just give a little taster from a few of my musical highlights. In case you missed my photos or Mayor’s mix you can see / hear them in the last post here.
I’m not going to do this in chronological order as I’d probably need to refer back to the program for that so let’s work randomly, starting at the end with one of the greatest Reggae stars of all time:
I was slightly gutted that Jimmy had his own pre prepared introduction so I didn’t get to bring him on stage, still I’m prepared to let him off in view of him being a legend, something he proved once again here. Even though the show differs very little from the last few times I’ve seen him, it’s still a worthwhile experience and Jimmy was definitely a must have for Boomtown at some point. It worked really well having him as a Secret Headliner too, no matter how badly that secret was kept. He worked through a number of hits starting with ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ and thankfully didn’t perform ‘Hakuna Matata’ which he’d done at Camp Bestival. No that it wasn’t a great rendition, but I like to think he only pulled it out the bag especially for the masses of kids there. He didn’t actually perform this version of the Clash classic live either but up until hearing this I was under the very false assumption that he hadn’t recorded anything good in some time. In actuality this whole album is most definitely worth checking out.
Jungle has been growing ever more popular again this festival season but Boomtown is most definitely the heartland for it as it pours in from every corner of the field. The main arena for it though is the Lion’s Den and undoubtedly my favourite set there came from the Chopstick Dubplate crew of Ariel, Tuffist and Jacky Murda (or at least 2 of these 3 anyway), aided in no small amount by both Demolition Man and David Boomah on mic duty. They’re undoubtedly one of the top crews around at the moment in my opinion, but if you’re still not familiar, above is their latest mix of Dubplates.
Although I was around the main stage all weekend, I actually got to see very few of the acts this year. However, I always make an extra effort for my boys Babyhead. I’ve seen them countless times and they’ve had more than a couple of mentions in this blog I’m sure, but mentioning them again now gives me the chance to post their Babydub version of a tune that has become somewhat anthemic for the festival. You can also download your own copy of it here.
One group I definitely wanted to catch on main stage was Movits, a Swedish Rap and Swing group who have probably made it into every proper Electro Swing set I’ve ever played. Completely bypassing the language barrier with straight up infectious grooves (yes I said grooves, I’m actually pretty old you know) and from what I actually managed to see, after an important mission to find an old departed friend’s daughter some ice cream, their stage show didn’t disappoint either.
Somebody else observed the fact that many a time at festivals, you end up seeing friend’s bands and favourites you’ve already seen plenty, rather than the hundreds of bands you’ve never seen before. This truth led me to go and watch the Illbilly Hitech boys from Berlin, who I played with at a Bestival party in the Lock Tavern a while back, and who had the tough position of opening the Bassline Circus stage on Sunday afternoon. No mean feat at the best of times but even tougher when your core crowd happen to be elsewhere on the continent. Still they’ve got a great sound that sits perfectly at Boomtown Fair and their resident MC, Longfingah also has a solid presence, so it didn’t take long for them to entice a lively crowd over to the tent.
Was absolutely gutted to have missed Tanya Stephens and have Beenie Man pull his UK Tour but my Dancehall cravings were most definitely quenched with Italian Rootsman – Alborosie, who smashed it as well as any Jamaican artist might have done. This is my favourite of his tunes and the first I ever heard after Stagga sampled it for Policeman Get Hype.
I think it’s safe to say though that Arcadia was the majority of people’s highlights. I’m not entirely sure why as Arcadia certainly isn’t new to the festival circuit, or Boomtown, and their stage show seemed decidedly stripped down compared to usual, but there was definitely something magical about it this time and it drew the festival’s amazing assembly of misfits to it like a twisted Alien Mother Spider calling in her spawn to the hive, which with the amphitheater like layout of Matterly Bowl led to an exceptional sight to behold. Here’s their official vid for a taste.
Oh and I nearly forgot Rodigan, he absolutely smashed it! But then there’s nothing new there really.
Only Bestival left on my festival calender now (unless you count Notting Hill Carnival next weekend)! Catch me at The Wedding Disco, in the Police Rave Unit and quite possibly in the Slumber Rave too.