Boomtown Fair 2019 – windy but wonderful as ever
With tickets selling out over the weekend, Boomtown 2019 saw some 66,000 guests, performers and crew descend once more on the hills and forests of the Winchester countryside.
Yet again, the immersive storyline rolled on, and for those who love to play out the fabled fiction of the ever-changing chapters there was plenty of opportunity to become a part of the machine that cannot be stopped.
Of course alongside the big-name bands this year’s headline had to have been the wind.
With Boardmasters cancelled Boomtown’s organisers must have thought long and hard about whether their intricate infrastructure was up to the job.
But despite the closure of a few areas at times when wind speeds were topping 50mph the only real casualties of the stronger gusts were a (admitedly large) handful of clumsily erected camping tents – the remnants of which were to be seen from Friday evening onwards…either flattened on the ground or fluttering from nearby fences and flag poles.
Sadly this will have resulted in many of these canvas wrecks being permanently abandoned, but what it does stand as is a salutory lesson in packing (and using) all those tent pegs and guy ropes that come with your camping package. They are there for a purpose – and this was it!
As for our impressions of the festival this time around, the biggest change we have seen has been the audience age. Now it may just be that we are getting older every year, but we’re pretty sure that over the last ten years the average age has reduced by maybe half of that at least.
The effect of this is the size of the crowds for some of the older and more mature acts.
Watching Killing Joke to a half-full town square just didn’t feel right, and the smattering of guests for amazing performers such as Seth Lakeman (who commands huge audiences at festivals where the crowds are a generation or so older) was a real shame – even if it did mean everyone who wanted to see him got a front-row position.
Don’t get us wrong, young faces at festivals are great to see, and events like Boomtown are going out of their way to provide an edgy but safe environment where the latest generation of music fans can experience this right-of-passage without causing undue worry in the minds of loving parents.
But we can see how the booking policy of the festival may need to shift over the next few years to accommodate changing tastes. And whilst that is perhaps inevitable, it will be a disappointment for the perennially young-at-heart who may have tipped into their second half century but still love the Boomtown experience and hope to keep visiting for years to come.
So anyway – do you want photos?
Great – because we have LOADS…