Boomtown Fair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Boomtown Fair
Logo for Boomtown Fair festival.jpg
GenreElectronic, rock, reggae, dub, folk, world, hip hop
Location(s)Matterley Estate, Alresford Road, near Winchester, Hampshire, England.
Years active2009–present
Capacity65,999 [1]

Boomtown Fair is a four-day annual music festival held in the United Kingdom over the second weekend of August. It started in 2009 and since 2011 has been held at the Matterley Estate in Hampshire, which is part of the South Downs National Park. The festival is run by Boomtown Festival UK Limited company directors Chris Rutherford and Luke Marcus Mitchell, both from Bristol.[2]

Each yearly instalment of the festival is referred to as a "Chapter"; this reflects that each instalment continues the storyline from the previous year, with the series having begun in 2009. The festival site is split into several districts, and the storyline narrative is reflected in the design of the districts, streets and venues, which are populated by hundreds of actors to play the role of inhabitants. The 2018 festival was entitled "Chapter 10: The Machine Cannot Be Stopped".

In 2018 the Fair took place over 9–12 August, with a limited opening on the 8th, and held a 60,000 capacity.[3] The event sold out of standard tickets in February 2018.

In July 2019, the organisers were granted a capacity increase by Winchester City Council, bringing the total number of people allowed on site to 76,999. This number consists of 58,000 ticket holders, 17,999 crew, artists, traders and guests plus 1,000 local residents with day tickets. [4] The increase will come into effect from 2020.


Chapter 1: (2009) "Boomtown Begins"[edit]

Chapter 1 was held at the Speech House Hotel, Coleford, in Gloucestershire on the 7th of August, standard adult tickets started at £45.[5]

Chapter 2 (2010) - "External Forces"[edit]

Chapter 2 was held at the Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, on Friday the 13th until Sunday the 15th of August, 2010, standard adult tickets started at £58.[6]

Chapter 3 (2011) - "The Disappearance of Boom"[edit]

Chapter 3 saw the festival move to the Matterley Estate in Winchester, where the festival has remained since. Chapter 3 was held on Thursday the 11th until Sunday the 14th of August, 2011, standard adult tickets started at £93.[7]

Chapter 4 (2012) - "An Alien Presence"[edit]

Chapter 4 was held on Thursday the 9th until Sunday the 12th of August, 2012 at the Matterley Estate, standard adult tickets started at £63.[8]

Chapter 5 (2013) - "Declaration of Democracy"[edit]

Chapter 5 was held on Thursday the 8th until Sunday the 11th of August, 2013 at the Matterley Estate, standard adult tickets started at £149.[9]

Chapter 6 (2014) - "The Loopholes of Time"[edit]

Chapter 6 was held on Thursday the 7th until Sunday the 10th of August, 2014 at the Matterley Estate, standard adult tickets started at £149.[10]

Chapter 7 (2015) - "The Palace Has Risen"[edit]

Chapter 7 was held on Thursday the 13th until Sunday the 16th of August, 2015 at the Matterley Estate, standard adult tickets started at £120.[11]

Chapter 8 (2016) - "The Revolution Starts Now"[edit]

Chapter 8 was held on Thursday the 11th until Sunday the 14th of August, 2016 at the Matterley Estate, standard adult tickets started at £135.[12]

Chapter 9 (2017) - "Behind The Mask"[edit]

In 2017, headliners included The Specials, M.IA. and Cypress Hill.[13]

Chapter 10 (2018) - "The Machine Cannot Be Stopped"[edit]

Chapter 10 was held on Wednesday the 8th until Sunday the 12th of August, 2018.[14]

Festival organisers hoped to increase the capacity of the festival to 80,000, but the application was rejected. Instead they were allowed to open a day early, but only if attendees arrived using 'sustainable transport', in coaches, shuttle bus or cars with more than three people. [15]


The festival is made up of four main areas:

  • Hilltop
  • Downtown
  • Whistlers Green
  • Temple Valley

Across the four areas there are 14 unique districts, each themed around a unique theatrical identity. Each district has at least one main stage and a selection of smaller street or theatrical venues as well as small and medium-sized music venues.[16]

Daan at BoomTown Fair in 2009

The large stages of RELIC (Formerly Bang Hai Towers), Nucleus (Formerly Sector 6) and The Lion’s Den differ from standard districts as they are designed to accommodate crowds several thousand strong, with vast stage sets at the centre with food and drink concessions in their arenas.

AREA 404! Venue[edit]

In August 2019, Boomtown were granted licencing approval to open a 3,500 capacity event space at their Bristol headquarters. [17]

The venue occupies the former Trimite Powder Coatings building at 126 Albert Road, which has been used as office and production space for Boomtown since November 2017. [18]

The first event to take place here will be 'Boomtown Halloween' this was due to be a single night event on Saturday 2nd November 2019 however due to the massive popularity, tickets sold out in less than 15 mins, an extra three nights were added Friday 1st November 2019, Friday 08th November and Saturday 09th November 2019. [19] [20]

Charitable activities[edit]

Donations to various charities are made each year from the festival's profits;[21] in 2015 these were the Energy Revolution Initiative, Winchester Youth Counselling and Trinity Winchester. Tickets are donated to charity for raffles and competitions, and the festival works with Oxfam, MyCauseUK and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance who provide stewards. The festival also produces a fundraising CD at Christmas.[22] Since 2014, the festival have provided free children's arts & craft workshops at a pop-up event in nearby Winchester.[23]

In 2017, Boomtown partnered with Street Reach, a local Winchester charity that works with hard-to-reach and often vulnerable young people by engaging with them on the streets of Winchester.[citation needed]

In 2019 Boomtown partnered with TreeSisters who, for over a decade, have been planting fast-growing tropical trees across Madagascar, India, Kenya, Brazil, Cameroon and Nepal, and planted one tree for every ticket bought (48,000).[24]


  • In 2016, Olivia Christopher, 18, from Chesham, Buckinghamshire, was discovered dead in her tent after a suspected drug overdose.[25]
  • In 2014, Lisa Williamson, 31, from Hereford, was found hanged after using drugs.[26]
  • In 2013, Ellie Rowe, 18, from Glastonbury, Somerset, died after consuming alcohol and ketamine.[27]
  • In 2011, Deborah Jeffery, 45, from Winchester, suffered a fatal heart attack after taking ecstasy.[28]

Family activities[edit]

Kidztown is the dedicated children’s area at Boomtown, introduced in the second year, co-ordinated by qualified child and youth experts, including play-workers, early years specialists, artists and performers.

Festival stewards[edit]

The festival stewards volunteers managed by either Boomtown, My Cause UK, Oxfam and Festaff. From 2019 Feestaff ran half the gates and Boomtown "Friends and Family Volunteers" ran the other half. Most volunteers pay a refundable deposit which is roughly the price of a ticket that is returned after their shifts are completed, and they are given free entry to the festival (minus a small admin fee).


  • 2016, A discarded cigarette started a fire which destroyed more than 80 cars.[29]
  • 2017 In the weeks leading up to the event, the construction of the city was severely hampered by bad weather, which contributed to some extremely long queues at the gates, with some guests queuing for up to 10 hours to enter the site. Despite the problems on the gates, the rest of the event proceeded without incident.[30]
  • 2019 saw very high winds, causing widespread damage to tents in all camping areas. In addition, the "RELIC" stage (previously known as Bang Hai) was shut on Friday during a set by Shy FX after a piece of debris fell onto the crowd during the high winds, with all subsequent acts that day being moved to the Lion's Den stage. It was re-opened the next day. No injury was reported. [31]


  1. ^ "Boomtown 2020: Organisers granted 76,999 capacity". Boomtown Source. 2019-07-30. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  2. ^ "BOOMTOWN FESTIVAL UK LIMITED - Officers (free information from Companies House)".
  3. ^ "Music festival granted extra day". BBC News. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  4. ^ Warrenger, Sam (2019-07-31). "Boomtown capacity increase to 76,999 approved by council". TheFestivals. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  5. ^ Boomtown Begins
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ The Disappearance of Boom
  8. ^ An Alien Presence
  9. ^ Declaration of Democracy
  10. ^ The Loopholes of Time
  11. ^ The Palace Has Risen
  12. ^ The Revolution Starts Now
  13. ^ "Festivalgoers left queuing for six hours". BBC News. 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  14. ^ The Machine Cannot Be Stopped
  15. ^ "Road rules set for festival's extra day". BBC News. 2018-05-18. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  16. ^ "Boomtown's new Metropolis area". Mixmag. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  17. ^ Murray, Robin (2019-08-01). "Bristol looks set to get new 3,500-capacity event space from Boomtown". bristolpost. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  18. ^ Retrieved 2019-08-15. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Source, Author (2019-08-14). "Boomtown Halloween: Launch of new Bristol venue". Boomtown Source. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "BOOMTOWN FAIR RAISES OVER £116,303 FOR CHARITY". Daily Echo. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  22. ^ "Boomtown Charity Support". Boomtown. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  23. ^ Neal, Charlotte (31 May 2015). "Boomtown Fair organisers bring carnival fun at Winchester workshops". Hampshire Chronicle. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  24. ^ Retrieved 2019-08-05. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ "Woman dies at Boomtown Fair music festival in Hampshire".
  26. ^ "Woman dies in tent at Boomtown Fair festival".
  27. ^ "Teenager died after taking ketamine at festival, inquest hears".
  28. ^ "Mum, 45, died from Ecstasy overdose at music festival".
  29. ^ "Fire at Boomtown music festival in Hampshire destroys 80 cars". 2016-08-13.
  30. ^ "Festivalgoers reportedly faint in queue for Boomtown fair after festival ramps up security".
  31. ^ Murray, Robin (2019-08-12). "Piece of stage 'ripped off' and landed on crowd at festival". bristolpost. Retrieved 2019-08-14.