All the Things We Overheard at Boomtown 2022

“Mate, you were absolutely off your cashew last night.”
Man at Boomtown holding a plastic you gun
All photos: Aiyush Pachnanda

It’s Thursday evening at Boomtown. As the desert-hot sun begins to set, flocks of shirtless blokes, Depop girlies, lads with mockney accents and, like, half of Bristol begin their descent to the main arena.

Around me, sound-bleeds of drum and bass, jungle, donk and screams of “oi oi!” blend into one enormous, pulsing cocktail of chaos, one that will remain constant for the next 72 hours. Everyone’s skin is already covered in a layer of sweat and dust, the underside of their fingernails collecting more and more grime. There’s no turning back now, only leaning and strapping in.

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After three years off, this year’s Boomtown returned with a potent furore. Patiently clutching onto their tickets since 2020, the festival’s 70,000+ attendees were, quite simply, gagging for it, and the site itself was more than ready to welcome them. The immersive world of Boomtown felt like stepping into an extended acid trip, one where you could pass through the Wild West, a high-tech futuristic dystopia, an Americana-style hotel and multiple hole-in-the-wall cabaret bars all in around 20 minutes. It helped that the festival’s ongoing immersive dystopian narrative and lore was also notably impressive; nearly as rich as an Ursula K. Le Guin book.

It’s said of Boomtown that people will go no matter the line-up, and go they did. Though their faithful following of white dudes with shameless dreads, ket-sniffing university students, and die-hard ravers might be some people’s idea of hell, the fellowship amongst one another was mostly peaceful and wholesome, and it was genuinely nice to see people not caring, having fun and playing. That being said, there were some corkers overheard, things that could only possibly be said at Boomtown. So, without further ado…

“Yeah I saw loads of 35-year-olds in there and I was like ‘rah, you lot are ooooold.’”

Person 1: “I’m a vegetarian so I don’t know how I’d last in the apocalypse.”
Person 2: “That’s actually really sad.”

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A woman in an all green sci fi outfit poses at Boomtown festival.

“T-shirts made from recyclable hemp… Can I smoke that?”

“These toilets smell better than my fanny on a good day.”

“Does anyone wanna buy a gram of dust?”

A man in a psychedelic top hat and string skirt poses at Boomtown festival.

“We only really use our pizza oven when we’re using our jacuzzi in the garden.”

(In the cabaret bar) “I have to leave now because I’m actually going to shit myself.”

“Shall we all share our trauma with each other? I think it’d be a really fun festival experience.”

Two men dressed as state troopers look through binoculars.

“Mate you were absolutely off your cashew last night.”

“There’s someone’s shitty pants in the shower cubicle, absolute goblin behaviour.”

“There’s a ginger group chat on the app where people are slinging factor 50 for £50.”

“Oi oi!” about 100 times.

@iamdaniran / @_yushy