Boomtown – A world is grown

Boomtown 2018, Image: Charlie Raven

While the cows are away the Boomtowners play. From the fields of a dairy farm every year for just a few days a whole whimsical world grows. 

This year Boomtown is on even more of a mission. Known being ahead if it’s time and quite possibly the most forward thinking festival, being green and a philosophy towards sustainability has always been in the festivals heart. 

This year they have taken things much further expanding and evolving their green mission. The festival are providing advice and incentives on how to travel greener including the opportunity for free Wednesday entry as a thank you to everyone who supports by arriving by public transport. 

Picture by Derek Bremner

There is also an education on Campsite Waste and leaving no trace through debunking the myth that leaving your tent is a charitable move, and spreading the word about how they can’t be recycled. Boomtown states that this is a main focus for this year, encouraging all to work together to create positive change. 

There is a dedicated Eco Campsite, in collaboration with Environmental Recovery Solutions. This is located in the Downtown Bowl (previously DSTRKT 5 camping) as this was identified as the area with the most tents and campsite waste left behind in 2018, and therefore, the ones that will need the biggest help to transform it into a zero waste space. 

The phrase ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ has been adopted as a mantra for the festival. In 2018 Boomtown signed the Drastic on Plastic pledge and banned plastic straws and serveware (opting for compostable solutions instead) and encouraged everyone to bring their own reusable bottle and coffee cup. From this year there will no longer be any plastic water bottles sold on the festival site. Festival goers are encouraged to purchase a reusable Boomtown branded bottle or bring their own from home! Visitors are assured there will be plenty of water points around the site as well as WaterAid refill stations.

Picture by Derek Bremner

The Drastic on Plastic campaign was set up by the Association of Independent Festivals (the AIF is 60+ independent festival members including Boomtown) in 2018, whereby all participating festivals have committed to banning the use of plastic straws on-site as a minimum first step, and pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic at their events by 2021.

Boomtown’s waste management plan has been developed with their waste contractor and sustainability is at the core of all planning and on-site stages. A 40% recycling rate target has been set (the festival achieved 35% last year) with a long-term goal of reaching 50% in three years.

Going even further Boomtown has made a commitment to sustainably sourced food. This includes an increased amount of vegetarian and vegan stalls, and a strict criteria that all traders who apply to Boomtown must meet including: All meat and dairy products must be British and from a Free range source, providing local produce where possible, providing organic and seasonal produce where possible and using Fair Trade products. In addition, to limit the impact they make throughout the five-week build process Boomtown has reduced its meat consumption by having Meat Free Mondays for all crew.

Picture by George Harrison

Quite possibly the most ambitious and exciting of Boomtown’s green directives is to grow a tropical forest. Boomtown organisers have connected with reforestation and culture change charity ‘TreeSisters’. For over a decade TreeSisters have been planting fast-growing tropical trees across Madagascar, India, Kenya, Brazil, Cameroon and Nepal. TreeSisters exists to make it as normal to give back to nature, rather than as it is currently, to take nature for granted. 

Boomtown recognised the urgency of supporting projects like this and vehemently believe that there really is no more important thing that we could be doing right now. By partnering with such a charity, along with the size and reach Boomtown has, and all the passion from those involved there can only be an immensely positive outcome.

Picture by Scott Salt

Quite beautifully Boomtown are planning to plant one tree for every person who has bought a ticket to the festival, that’s a incredible 48,000 trees! They feel this is just the very beginning though and want to see just how huge a forest can be grown with the incredible Boomtown community. Boomtown see this not just as an act to clean up our carbon, but as a gesture of love back to the world that gives what is needed to help restore the balance. 

Picture by Jody Hartley

Boomtown has built a blue print of a sensible sustainable system which may be ambitious but is certainly achievable. The green core has become merged completely with the ethos and structure of the festival itself. It does make you wonder why towns and cities that exist all year round can’t adopt such directives, in the least there’s certainly some lessons they could learn. 

The festival founders have created a documentary about the evolution of the festival. In this short film you get to meet the people behind the show as they discuss big dreams, how they grew a festival from seed to sapling, and the sustainable future of Boomtown.

This years Boomtown line-up is as eclectic and groundbreaking as always, including:  

Ms. Lauryn Hill, UB40 Ft Ali Campbell & Astro, The Streets, Ms. Dynamite, Salt-n-Pepa, Goldie Lookin Chain, Groove Armada, Prophets of Rage, Seth Lakeman, Jurassic 5’s Soup presents: Fullee Love Collective, Ozomatli Ft Chali 2na, Shy FX, Nubya Garcia, Asian Dub Foundation, Carl Cox, Chase & Status, Altern8, Napalm Death, Hotsteppas, Kenny Dope, Swindle Live, Eva Lazarus, Gentlemen’s Dub Club, Cut Capers, Dizraeli, Bellatrix, DJ Yoda, Dreadzone, General Levy, Gaudi, Fizzy Gillespie, Count Bassy, DJ Chris Tofu, Don Johnston, Ed Cox & E Coli, Sacha Dieu, Hiphoppapotamus, Karl Phillips & The Rejects, Backbeat Sound System, Danny Wav, Snazzback, The Boot Hill All Stars, The Brandy Thieves, and Wiltshire’s best known punk duo 2 Sick Monkeys, plus many many more.

Photo courtesy of Leora Bermeister @Farelight Productions