As a festival loving family, it’s strange that Boomtown Fair wasn’t really on our radar until fairly recently. It’s been a constant feature in my annual UK festivals guide, but I hadn’t considered taking the kids. Maybe because I thought they were a little young to appreciate it. And frankly, it looked pretty wild, even for my wildlings.
However, Boomtown Fair also has a dedicated child-friendly area, as well as family camping. And I’ve read a few reviews by kids as young as 8, describing it as ‘the best festival ever’.
What is Boomtown Fair?
Boomtown Fair is an immersive storytelling adventure, set in the glorious hills and valleys of Hampshire.
The tale began in 2009, with explorer Nikolas Boom discovering gold on a hilltop, and founding Boomtown. What started as an annual gathering to celebrate Boom’s good fortune, turned into a sprawling ‘city’ attracting 60,000 revellers.
Every year at Boomtown Fair opens a new chapter, complete with plot twists, heroes, villains and the chance to reinvent your identity. Chapter 10 of this unfolding epic promises to be bolder and more colourful than ever.
The city is made up of 14 Districts, each with its own personality and style of music. Six of the districts are fully immersive, with movie-quality sets and an evolving storyline, brought to life by hundreds of actors.
You can create your own character to blend in or stand out as you wish. After all the fun of getting ready for Secret Cinema in April, I’m excited about putting our costumes together. Boomtown Fair sounds like Secret Cinema on steroids.
Who’s Playing at Boomtown Fair?
More than 470 artists from 24+ countries are set to perform, including headliners like Gorillaz, Limp Bizkit, Die Antwoord and Ben Harper. I’m looking forward to discovering new favourites, while hopefully catching the likes of Ghetts, Soul II Soul, Amadou and Mariam, Dusky, Bilal, Benin City, Jimmy Cliff and Bugged Out (Purple Disco Machine, Lemmy Ashton and Idris Elba)!
Thousands of loyal fans visit the festival year after year, and general tickets sold out in a hot minute. However, you can buy limited resale tickets (hurry, they’ll be gone in a flash). Or if you’re happy to splash a little extra cash, there are passes available for Boomtown Springs.
New for Chapter 10: Boomtown Springs
This exclusive camping area, in the heart of the festival, takes the theatricality of Boomtown Fair to another level. Here you get luxury camping and glamping options, as well as ‘an endless reel of ridiculous ideas’, curated by the award-winning Bearded Kitten. The entertainment includes ‘mansion’ and ‘pool’ parties (grown-ups only)! Plus Boomtown Springs residents have access to secret bars, exclusive showers, phone charging, and flushing toilets across the festival. We will be glamping for the first time ever (whoop whoop) in Boomtown Springs and I can’t wait to explore the new ‘utopia in suburbia’.
Is Boomtown Fair Safe for Kids?
If you’re coming with kids, you’re welcome to pitch your tent in Boomtown Springs. Be advised though, most entertainment here is geared towards adults. Don’t worry though, as there’s plenty of family-friendly fun elsewhere. At Kidztown, you can party with the likes of Big Fish Little Fish, Fun DMC’s Hip Hop Block Party, Junior Jungle and Reggaerobics.
There’s also comedy, puppetry, music, circus arts and crafts, bouncy castle, forest school, treetop adventures, baby and toddler tents, sandpit, skate ramp… phew! Kidztown also has its own Boomtown street where little ones can get inked in ‘Rat-a-Tattoo’, send letters via the Post Office, or make a deposit in the ‘Piggy Bank’.
Family campsites are near Kidztown and Whistlers Green, the festival’s most chilled-out zone. And don’t forget, kids ages 12 and under get FREE entry, although they still need a ticket (booked with your adult tix).
Throughout the day, kids and families are free to roam around Boomtown’s four main zones: Downtown, Hilltop, Temple Valley and Whistlers Green. However, kids aren’t allowed Downtown (includes DSTRKT 5, Barrio Loco and Chinatown) after 7pm (teens until 10pm), as it gets a little too rowdy for smallies. But there’s loads going on through the night in the quieter Whistlers Green area.
I think the entire Boomtown experience, and particularly Kidztown, sounds like an explosion of creativity and stimulation for all ages. We’ll be reporting back after the festival, to give you our verdict on whether Boomtown Fair is truly family friendly!
New for Chapter 10: Wednesday Opening
For the first time, a limited area of Boomtown Fair will be open on Wednesday August 8. Guests arriving by public or private hire coach, or shuttle bus from the train station, get FREE Wednesday entry. Boomtown Springs residents can also arrive free on Wednesday, while guests sharing a car must pay £40. Camping will be open in the new West campsites (includes Metropolis, Barrio Loco, DSTRKT 5 & Diss-order Alley campsites) as well as Boomtown Springs, Camplight and Tangerine Fields West.
Arriving on Wednesday will give you time to settle in ahead of the throngs, as well as enjoy pop-up parties, street theatre, and a range of food and drink options.
Wednesday entry is one of the few ways you can still get a ticket for the festival. You can also buy entry tickets for coach travellers and shuttle-via-train travellers, as well as for Boomtown Springs guests. Check out available ticketing options.
Getting to Boomtown Fair
Boomtown Fair is at Matterley Estate, Hampshire, SO21 1HW (Winchester rail). Recommended travel by coach (National Express), train or car share. Visit https://www.boomtownfair.co.uk
Limited resale tickets are available now, from £236. Kids ages 12 and under go FREE, but require a ticket. Boomtown Springs + Festival Entry tickets are £480 (with 50/50 split payment and £100 deposit options available – to be paid by 4th July)
Want to upgrade your festival ticket to Boomtown Springs? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details (additional £200 + £7.50 booking fee)
Fancy treating yourselves? Boutique and luxury camping options are available at Camp Skylark, a brand new location, nestled next to the Lion’s Den.