Boomtown Chapter One The Gathering 2022 Review
August 30, 2022 | By: Leeann Walters
After just over two weeks ago I returned from what can only be described as the best festival of 2022 and every element was organised down to the last detail and without flaw. With the option to purchase a Wednesday early entry ticket from Wednesday 10th August to Sunday 14th August the Boomtown festival goers arrived in droves ready for the epic long weekender of fun, music, immersive theatrical street entertainment with crowd interaction, amazing food, cities and districts and more acts on one festival line-up that has ever been seen with over 500 Artists. After the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic Boomtown has been highly anticipated since the last festival held in 2019 so the excitement was immeasurable, even through the soaring 33 degrees heat wave nothing could stop the sheer enthusiasm shown by everyone eager to see as many acts as possible and become fully emerged in the world that was created. The Festival organisers did make sure that drinking water points were fully accessible to everyone throughout the festival and that hydration and safety was of top priority throughout the entirety of the event. With the layout slightly reduced when compared to the 2019 and previous Boomtown’s before then I found that the festival had still kept it’s charm and unique qualities while welcoming the 66,000 people through the gates this year.
Some of my favourite spots at Boomtown for Chapter 1 had to include the Job Centre, Wrong Side Of The Tracks, Botanica, and the Main stage’s Origin and Grand Central. With Wednesday as an early opening day there were a few acts to see etc in Hidden Woods and Tangled Roots making way for the Thursday which saw the festival begin to come alive with the opening of Engine House, The Vault, Zenith, The Grid, Scrapyard, Tribe Of Frog and a few more to boot. With two opening shows to choose between on Friday held at Origin and Grand Central I opted for the Origin show which did not disappoint. It began with a somewhat tribal/Native theme to include drums, singing and a cleansing sage and feather smudge ritual alongside music that was captivating. This was followed up by a message spoken out expressing that this is not a time to be standing on the side-lines or to look away pushing forward the point that Boomtown takes a stand as a celebration with a linking of hands and heart. We were there to celebrate beauty, kindness, courage, imagination, laughter, freedom, tolerance, inclusiveness, friendship and fun! Enforcing the ideology that we make a choice in dedicating the festival to life and making a world that works for all. This was such a powerful message and definitely set the mood for the rest of the festival alongside making everybody think about the world around us and what we can all be doing to make it a better place. The whole festival focused on creating a greener environment from plastic reduction, recycling encouragement to compost toilets that will eventually nourish the Earth after a certain process allowing for future food production.
The stages and stand alone mini stages through the districts were simply breath-taking this year. Origin was adorned with a nature aesthetic to include waterfalls and perfect pyrotechnics synced to each act’s particular set. After the opening show on this main stage on Friday the pace was quickened as followed up by the sounds of Shy FX with Stamina MC and General Levy! For those that love Drum and Bass this was the perfect opening afternoon! The sound was impeccable with each Artist putting on a first class show. Where in previous years Downtown had large areas taken up with camping alongside backstage areas the advanced design allowed for new stages, venues and sound systems to put a fresh spin on the creative shows giving an original and contemporary feel to the theatrical experience to be had in this area. Covering every section over double the space was used to create Downtown for Chapter One which I found breathtakingly impressive as I became fully tangled in the world that was created. Brand new and original for Chapter One I witnessed the birth of Botanica. The story behind this area is that after a state of emergency in which residents had to retreat to the city’s Seed Vault once they resurface they find the area filled with life once more where the fertile soils have birthed an oasis which becomes a sanctuary for everyone to reconnect with Mother Earth, known for being a gargantuan beautiful utopia of flourishing nature, greenery and freedom. For anyone at Boomtown who looked deeper beneath the surface of the Botanica storyline would have also found that the residents there are peculiarly interconnected with new languages etc.
Another element that was great this year had to be the Forest Parties all offering different music from psychedelic sound’s to live reggae, dancehall, dub and house. These gems could be found in Hidden Woods, Tangled Roots and new to chapter one Tribe of Frog. With each stage pumping out fresh music from different genre’s I found I had to pull myself away from each one which quite literally held me captivated. Tribe of Frog’s trance, hi-tech and dub fusion sounds delivered from some of the most amazing DJ set’s over the course of the festival bringing together all lovers of psy dance music. Hidden Woods was great at all times of the day as I found there were more chilled afternoon sound’s that still kept you in the party mood but allowed time to sit and relax in the shaded canopy areas feeling the soft sand beneath your feet. As the time passed into the evening Hidden Woods did become a massive party hotspot with the superb sound systems pumping with Bass as people danced from the stage to the back including the overhead wooden areas bringing the woods to life! It was without a doubt one of my favourite spots. The overhead shade also offered relief from the heat over the course of Boomtown so that even if you wanted to take a small break from one of the main stages when the sun was at it’s highest point it did not mean that the party had to stop. Tangled Roots was also a strong contender this year with the musical acts on the line up, sound systems, lighting and overall atmosphere making it one of the best places to be.
One thing that also makes Boomtown unique is the array of different music to choose from which was still a major feature this year. With Hangar 161 showcasing anything Metal, Punk or Sca, The Grid for Jungle, hardcore DnB and Garage vibes, Copper County boasting exclusive and particular folk ,funk, soul and African Fusion, Metropolis still the king of all things Disco, House and Techno including well loved Dubtendo and Letsbe Avenue home to favourites like the Boomtown Bobbies, Hotel Paradiso, The Inconvenience Store and Jobcentre to name but a few not to mention where you could pick up your daily copy of The Daily Rag there was not a single element lacking. If I have to pick out some of my favourite acts throughout my time there it would have to be Fabio and Grooverider and the Outlook Orchestra who played an out of this world Drum and Bass set at Grand Central with the Orchestra providing every single D and B sound using instruments. They played a walk through time set playing original classics right through to some of the newest and most recognised songs from the duo who also payed tribute to amazing MC Skibadee who is no longer with us due to passing away from a heart attack. Gentleman’s Dub Club who came with pure energy from beginning to end demonstrating great vocals alongside catchy and intense music which had me dancing from the beginning to the end of their set. Old Timers Pete and Bas hitting The Vault. With rumoured ties to both the Kray and Richardson families and around since the birth of colour TV Pete and Bas had the whole crowd in a frenzy playing all of their well known song’s. The crowd participation was unreal as they got the Festival goers moving with very few people not rapping along to this iconic duo but dancing if they did not know the words!
With a lot of festivals attracting unsavoury and unruly behaviour this could not be said for Boomtown at all. From the very beginning there is an atmosphere of peace, love, respect and harmony. Everyone was there to have an amazing time while still respecting the people around them, the beautiful landscapes and the environment. Everyone in attendance understands that Boomtown is about mutual respect for each other and the Earth we live on making this a harmonious gathering of likened people. From the beginning to the very end I felt completely safe, happy and wanting nothing more than to become entangled in this amazing world from the scrips and Actors to the rare and uncommon entertainment set out from Cabaret to apocalyptic Clowns. The music was out of this world and I found myself making hard decisions as to who I wanted to see next as there was just great act after great act! True to Boomtown tradition the closing ceremony was carried out to the highest standard which surpasses expectations every year with Chapter One as no exception. As I started the festival watching the opening ceremony at Origin I found it only fitting to finish the festival with the closing ceremony on the Origin stage. The music synced to large pyrotechnics, performers with fire poi and fire staff etc on the stage layout, incredible lasers, huge crowd which indeed felt like a very large portion of the 66,000 people were there dancing together and tangible excitement shared by all I could not have asked for a more prodigious and immense closing ceremony.
Boomtown Chapter One The Gathering was absolutely fantastic and it has been a great pleasure to take you on this mammoth journey with me on behalf of Rock Industry Magazine. If you were unable to purchase a ticket for this year’s event you definitely need to begin to plan for Boomtown Chapter Two – The Twin Trail coming in 2023. Out of every festival it is one not to be missed and after Chapter one I am very excited to see what comes next. I will be there with Rock Industry Magazine every step of the way through the adventure that is Boomtown!!