After a torrential downpour the sun eventually shone on Boomtown - one of the most innovative music festivals around, says Will Stone
Boomtown Matterley Bowl, Winchester 3/5
There's usually some drama at Boomtown, which was looking awfully like mudtown this year. If it’s not the car park fire or drug deaths of recent festivals, then there's normally some antics that make it into the headlines.
This year was infamous for revellers forced to queue for up to 10 hours to get into the site on the first day due to additional security measures and wet weather, with reports of fainting and fights as a lack of crowd control left everyone surging to the gates at the same time.
As if the festival couldn’t get more hapless, troublemakers set up fake official Boomtown Twitter accounts and sent messages like: “Please stop moaning about the queues at Boomtown, it could be worse, at least it's not raining. Thank you.” This prompted more than a few angry replies from punters.
But in spite of torrential rain the day before the festival opened, hot weather over the weekend saw the site completely dry up by the Sunday, when it actually felt like summer.
Relentless teething problems aside, Boomtown is great for many reasons. It consistently has a wide range of brilliant music and headline acts, while its eye for set design is second to none and it is still the only festival that has a back story with live actors to interact with.
Yet sound issues are a perennial problem. Giant stages spurting fire may be impressive to look at but the sound of many night-time acts is turned down so quiet that you have to elbow your way right to the front in order to enjoy it properly.
This was the case with rap-group legends Cypress Hill, with many complaining of stereo-sound quality and deciding to leave the set early.
Politico rapper-turned diva MIA decided to turn up half and hour late for her set. resulting in a performance that only lasted an hour. Many of her hits were left out as a result.
In the end it was The Specials who turned out to be the surprise best headline act this year with their reggae, ska-punk hybrid making for a perfect live performance.
All the elements for an awesome festival exist at Boomtown, so have faith that a trouble-free year is surely long overdue.