Author: Jessie Coleman


It’s less than a month to go before citizens will flock from far and wide to their favourite town for a weekend of raucous revelling. Boomtown Fair is so close we can nearly smell it… If you’re still not sure you can afford to fork out for a ticket, the news of the ‘Feast for a Fiver’ which every food trader will be offering this year might coax you. Not only does this promise us cheap eats, but it highlights the independent ethos of the festival which continues to be self-funded, to ensure there are no fat corporate fingers in our grub! Plus, in good old community spirit, to keep our town green, the refundable eco-bond means if you fill up a bag of rubbish and take it to the Depot you will get a tenner back! Still doubtful? Tune in to  and put your finger on the Boomtown bloodstream, broadcasting all the mixes, interviews and releases to get your festival juices flowing....

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The moment Shaggy’s rugged honey-voice starts, “Mr Boombastic” on the largest and probably finest Reggae stage in the UK, is going to be a very special moment. With a voice that gets the whole world singing about being butt-naked, bangin’ on the bathroom floor, it seems surprising that Shaggy doesn’t make more UK festival appearances. One thing is certain – the tangled tree roots setting of Boomtown’s 40ft Aztec temple is sure to do him justice. You know that Soprano’s theme tune? Well, that was Alabama 3, another new enrolment to Boomtowns ever impressive line-up. A mad band that mix Country Blues and Rock, in what has been recognised as one of the best live acts in the country. Applauded by Irvine Welsh for making daytime music you can move to even “without chemical assistance,” this mob will be tearing up the festival town centre with a show you won’t want to miss. Add The Skatelites to the list, who bring with them 50 years of Jamaican beats that make you want move your feet, and you might be wondering what else Boomtown could possibly offer… Well! on Monday a list of ‘Inna City Mini Parties’ was announced, proving, yet again, that there are no lengths Boomtown won’t go to provide the most bonkers bananza yet. We’re promised “cabaret, cards and casino cavaliers” at Charlie Browns hidden speakeasy, but...

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The festival season is quickly approaching, which means for a few months its acceptable to wear stuff you don’t normally have the balls for, and to trick yourself into thinking you look class. So, embrace the chance to dress ridiculously at five of the best festivals the UK has to offer this summer. Beat-Herder Festival 18th – 20th July, The Ribble Valley, Lancashire This charming festival is a little gem with an ever-growing cult of committed Beat-Herders. A lovely little woodland sits at the heart of the festival, and just round the corner you’ll find a Perfumed Garden and the Smoky Tentacles Shisha Lounge. If you want to step it up a notch, head down to the Fortress, where you’ll find a corrugated steel castle full of ravers. Beat-Herder began as the famous Toil Soundsystem Free Parties seven years ago, and it certainly hasn’t lost its independent spirit. Although still small in size, it packs a mighty punch, so head up north for weekend of friendly vibes and top music. The last four years fancy dress theme have been the letters B,E,A and T. This year is ‘H’, so do with it as you will. Happy Mondays, Klangkarussell and The Bloody Beetroots are among the performers.   The Secret Garden Party 24th – 27th July,Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire Ask anyone, and they will only have praise for this festival. A magic-box of merriment, The Secret Garden...

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BoomTown Fair 2014

BOOM! You’re in, and you won’t want to leave. Madness, magic, music and monsters, BoomTown Fair is a Pandora’s Box for nutters. This is a full on festival, four days and four nights, and not for the faint-hearted. If the mind-blowing line-up doesn’t swing it for you (which it will) the bright lights and debauchery of this potty pop-up playground will. With acts such as Jimmy Cliff, Zed Bias, The Wailers, Boddika, The Cat Empire, Dub Phizix & Strategy, musically, this festival is on the ball. From gypsy-swing to blues, big brass bands to some serious drum & bass, for one weekend, a whole town is a carnival. The effort that goes into place is phenomenal – with eight distinct districts, there is always a surprise round the corner. Reignite your reggae roots in the three staged forest party of TrenchTown, where the likes of Congo Natty and Top Cat will be. And later, get your glad-rags on in Mayfair Avenue where you can Roller-Disco the night away, then follow your nose to Barrio-Loco to fall in love with a jewelled gypsy in the towns crazy capital. Taking place from 7th – 10th August, BoomTown Fair should be top of the list, especially for the serious festival goers. If you like your bass loud, all things colourful, and are partial to a bit of absurdity, then this is the...

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Secret Garden Party 2014

There is a reason why Secret Garden Party tickets fly off the shelves long before the line-up is released. This place is a hedonist’s haven, a garden of marvels, a glistening jewel of lakeside silliness and glittering debauchery. And it just so happens that the headliners are belters too. This years gatecrashers include Hip-hop heroes Public Enemy, and the seven-piece jazzy jam band, Fat Freddy’s Drop. Get plucky with the Dub Pistols, or float into the ethereal skies with Morcheeba. The festival takes place on 24th – 27th July on a 150 acre site  just outside the market town Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and has a sizeable capacity of 21,000. You should expect a weekend of wackiness where nothing is too weird, and nobody too colourful. Last year saw a pirate ship emerging from the deep, smothered by a colossal octopus, but if you are a regular Gardener, this kind of fantastical tentacle spectacle won’t seem out of place. Here, you can get lost in a labyrinth of sprawling tree roots, explode into paint fights, wrestle in mud baths, and swoon gently through willowy lakeside corridors. Unlike many mainstream festivals, Secret Garden Party has its priorities right. Who wants to pay through the nose for a field, a stage and a chip van when you can go to Alice in Wonderland without compromising on music? The theme this year is ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,’ so expect...

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