For a magical experience this summer, keep the 7th – 10th August free in your diary, as BoomTown returns to the Matterley Bowl Estate in Winchester. Since 2009, BoomTown’s annual fair has brought the whole community together with its music, performances, theatre and creativity, attracting visitors from across the globe looking for a different type of festival.

The districts

Now in its fifth year, BoomTown has emerged as a sprawling, vibrant metropolis. Around every corner lies intrigue, escapism, fantasy and the opportunity to lose yourself in a magical world. This year sees nine districts which offer a unique environment - something to suit all tastes. Revolving around the heart of the city, each district has its own musical flavour and theme, so there are plenty of opportunities to get into the spirit of things and come along in your best fancy dress! The central districts include Old Town, with its Balkan, Gypsy and pirate theme – shiver me timbers! TrenchTown is the place to head for reggae and dub beats, whilst an eclectic blend of electro swing and glamour can be found at Mayfair Avenue, with its vintage theme. Other central districts include Wild West (cowboys and bluegrass), KidzTown (interactive games, workshops and PG-rated musicians) and Whistlers Green (world and folk music). Those who brave the outskirts beyond the heart of the city will be rewarded with the discovery of three districts: ChinaTown, home to punk and ska music, DownTown, with jungle and drum & bass and Barrio Loco, where you’ll find breaks and bass.

The theatre

It’s not all about music at BoomTown though, as there is always an underlying theatrical plot and this year is no exception! This year the theme is ‘Chapter Six: A New Twist!’ The storyline covers new alliances and old rivalries, time-travel and wild west meets carnival; what better excuse do you need for fancy dress?!

What you need to know

Those considering dressing up for BoomTown can read the whole theatrical story on the official website, to help you get into the spirit of things and if you like you can customise different outfits for different districts! There are a few essentials everyone will need in order to enjoy the weekend, including:

  • A tent
  • Sleeping bag/mat/pillow
  • Toiletries
  • Sun cream ( a must!)
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone
  • Camera
  • Money
  • Clothes and accessories
  • Your ticket and ID

Don’t worry if you forget something though, as there are stalls on site selling the essentials. Fancy dress is a great idea, but remember that BoomTown is a four day event and that the British weather can be unpredictable at the best of times! So it’s always a good idea to pack warm, waterproof clothing, walking shoes or comfy footwear, extra socks and sun cream in case the sun makes an appearance! It is possible to eat well at the festival for a reasonable price, so there’s no need to lug heavy cooking equipment with you or to bring your own food although you could bring the odd bits to save you some cash.

The Boomtique Village

Those looking for a more luxurious BoomTown experience could consider booking a glamping tent at Boomtique Village. Or you can buy a wristband for full access to the facilities here during your weekend. You’ll find compost toilets, a wood-fired sauna, hot tubs, luxurious showers and a chill-out lounge with beauty station, where you can use hair dryers and hair straighteners. There is also access to a cocktail bar, café and massage services, available at extra charge.

Fancy dress at BoomTown

You’ll need to pick a ‘home’ district when you visit BoomTown. This is where you will camp, although you’re of course free to visit the other districts as and when you please! Why not set up home in TrenchTown in the heart of the city? Home to dub, reggae, jungle and dancehall beats, you’ll also find the Lion’s Den Aztec Temple here and it’s the perfect place to kick-back with a Reggae Man Wig from Hollywood UK.

Families can enjoy KidzTown, where magic and make-believe come to life. The Sandcastle Stage, family camping and kids’ activities for all ages ensure this is a great district no matter what your age! Kids can get really imaginative about their costumes – how about animal costumes, Disney costumes or TV and film superheroes costumes?

One of the districts where you can really let your imagination run riot is the Wild West, which ties in with the theatrical theme for this year’s BoomTown. Here you will find bluegrass, hillbilly, dirty blues and cowpunk music at Crazy Calamities Saloon and the Rusty Spur Stage – Yeeha! Kids Wild West costumes such as the Woody Deluxe Costume or Cowboy Rancher Costume from Hollywood fancy dress are great for wannabe cowboys.

Those looking for some yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum should head for the Old Town, with its dilapidated buildings and Jolly Dodger Pirate Ship. Choose a cool Pirate Captain Costume or Pirate Wench Costume – there are some really amazing pirate costumes for kids too, such as this Girl Pirate Costume with its skull print top and hat and red and black striped skirt.

Eating at BoomTown

There’s no need to pack your own food when you come to BoomTown, as there are plenty of food options on offer throughout the city. You won’t find just run-of-the-mill burger vans though; instead there are plenty of unique, tasty options and wholesome food made with organic ingredients that’s great for all the family. Whilst you can bring your own beer and wine (spirits not permitted), there are bars and cafes throughout the city offering soft drinks and alcohol at surprisingly reasonable prices.

Why not do something different this year and visit BoomTown – or plan your visit in advance for next year? Whether you decide to camp in your favourite district or opt for the luxury of glamping at Boomtique Village, BoomTown really is a festival for the whole family, and it’s a great alternative to summer’s more generic music festivals. There’s something for all tastes and all ages here, no matter what you’re into. Check out the BoomTown website for more information today!