In this age of festival obsessed summers, only a few stand out as real class, ones that are being talked about in revered tones by the real music lovers out there. In the UK now, you are more likely to see Hunter wellies and hear plummy voices marching through the mud carrying Fortnum&Mason hampers full of bullshit than any half decent music. Pop acts are everywhere and people are paying over the odds to see them in their droves because it is pushed on them as the ‘in thing’ by everything from food companies to clothing outfits. What I can say though is brush of your old skanky tent, fill up that barrel of cider, spend your pay packet on expensive rum, take some plastic bags in case your shoes break and listen up. There is a different group of festivals out there where (more or less) anything goes, numerous stages and multiple weirdos are the order of the day. This is where festivals like Boomtown step in, held this year on the Matterly Estate in the south of England, Boomtown is a truly unique festival which is laid out like an actual town…hence BoomTOWN.
Us reggae folk have not been left out either; we have been given a glittering array of talent from across the world to satisfy our lust for the music of Jamaica. There is a mixture of soundsystems and DJ’s and more importantly, for me, live performances by some of the best singers ever to walk the earth. It doesn’t stop there, Wordplay favourites such as Curtis Lynch (Necessary Mayhem) and Deadly Hunta are on the same bill as veterans like Macka B and the absolute king of roots soundsystem: Jah Shaka. This is a true cross reference of UK reggae music, with none other than Gappy Ranks performing too, who, along with Ras Demo (who is performing under his original alias of Demolition Man) is the hottest UK artist for me at the minute, especially when riding Peckings riddim tracks. Those who haven’t had the chance to witness any of these artists, to name but a couple, need to head down to the fair and check them.
There is a problem though, the festival has sold out so ask around or even pay someone too much for a ticket as this is going to be a banger. Wordplay will be wandering around, hunting down artists for interviews and to see what the general vibes are like and we hope to see you there, but beware, if you are shy then don’t stick around because Robbie the photographer is sharp on the draw and will snap you in any kind of state. I have experience of this.
BOOMTOWN – BE THERE (if you can)
By Jack Duffield