South West Four 2017

Yesterday was the second year in a row I’ve been to the Saturday of SW4, which is a dance festival at Clapham Common. The line up this year was amazing, and although I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to (as is always the case with line ups that are spot on), we saw some good performances yesterday from High Contrast (as always), Hype and Hazard, My Nu Leng and Goldie, and Pendulum. I was also impressed by Camelphat, who I randomly went to see while temporarily separated from my friends to go and eat some falafel (the falafel was great too). This seems to be a running theme, now, where I’ll find something great while I’m by myself, as was the case at Bestival last year when I saw Odesza’s set, which ended up being one of my favourites.

We were blessed with the weather which was amazing, which has now been two festivals this summer where I’ve been lucky, as Boomtown had sunshine all weekend too. SW4 is predominately a tented festie though, which is good and bad – great if it’s raining, but when it’s hot, those tents get boiling. Thankfully I learnt from last year haha, and dressed for summer. There were a decent number of bars, and drink prices were standardly high – £9 for a double vodka & lemonade, around £5/6 for a single or for a cider or beer. The bar staff were always nice but seemed a little inexperienced – especially as they didn’t open any of the cans (which means they’re really hard as none of the air has been released from popping the cap – bad if someone decides to throw it and it hits you in the head, great if you wanna stockpile drinks to have later without having to keep going back to buy more. Thankfully nobody hit me in the head with a can!). Water queues were so so so long and one of the water points ran out which wasn’t great, and some places charged £2.50 for a bottle of water which sucks. Toilet queues actually weren’t that bad, but I’d always recommend going prepared with tissues if you’re a girl anyway!

This is me and Tom at the Playaz stage, which was all the drum and bass, which is where we spent most of the time last year too! And here’s a group photo of us!

All in all a good day festival with a really great line up!

BoomTown Fair 2017

(Happily sunbathing on Sunday at Whistler’s Green – a grassy area that overlooked the festival. A hand from a kind friend can be seen, to help me get up from my incredibly comfy sunbathing spot!)

Two weeks ago I was spending my first evening in a festival that was going to soon become my favourite festival, favourite place, favourite crazy little world, that I’ve ever experienced. Boomtown was an experience unlike any other festival (or event) I’ve been to before. It was beautiful, messy, exciting, exhausting, fun, mind-opening. I feel like a different person now than I did when I first stepped through the gates.

I danced to music that I hadn’t really listened to before, genres I hadn’t ever explored like hip hop, and old favourites like drum and bass that I hardly ever get to hear. Every day began with a fruit smoothie, a ‘shower’ using freezing cold water from the taps, sitting around camp drinking cider in the hot sun. Sticking glitter to our faces, dressing like aliens. Exploring all the different districts and microvenues, reading the daily BoomTown newspaper, visiting Grandma’s House, spending hours in the ‘bank’ trying to get a loan, working hard to earn BoomTown money. (It felt right at the time, but made us all stop and pause and think – what are we actually trying to get this for? Although it was a fun, albeit stressful at times, surreal experience as we had to keep pitching our business idea to try and get a Boomtown loan haha).

I met new friends. Got closer to old friends, spent time with some really great people, shared great, exciting, (some of them hazy) experiences with them. I ate really well, especially for a festival, and even managed to get a pizza with vegan cheese! I drunk some great cocktails, and rekindled my love of Hooch. My BoomTown blues have been very, very real these last 2 weeks, and I know I’m going to be saving the money & finding a way to go with shifts to Boomtown 2018.

And now, for the photos!
downtown, boomtown

We were camping at Downtown, and compared to Bestival or Reading & Leeds (which are the only other camping festies I’ve been to), I liked the fact the site is one cohesive unit where you’re only a couple of minutes walk away from the music. There’s no arena, no real divide between the music and camping, no restriction on where I can walk around with my carton of Brothers cider!


banghai towers, boomtown

This was the view from our tents. Notice the clear blue sky, which was, amazingly, present the entire festival. That big structure to the centre-right was Bang-Hai Towers, which was huge. This photo doesn’t really do it justice, but it looked amazing at night.

Grandma's House

One of the best microvenues of the weekend had to be Grandma’s House – always busy, set up like a living room with carpet, lots of patterned light shades, old sofas, kooky ornaments, a kitchen, an upstairs bedroom with VHS tapes, old-lady curtains, ugly cushions. We spent some time here dancing to hip hop, which isn’t a genre I’d ever really discovered before.

Lion's Den

This was Lion’s Den – a huuge stage that I think we visited every day. We saw The Specials here, Toots and the Maytals, Cypress Hill, and it generally was the place we’d start our night before heading off to other venues around the festival once it got dark.

glitter (lots and lots of glitter)

Glitter was a bit part of the weekend.

sam, dani, hula hooch

Hooch was a big part of the weekend, too!

ben @ whistler's green, iii/iii

Enjoying the view from Whistler's Green.

Already counting down the days until I’m back at Boomtown!