Preview: Boomtown Festival (Matterley Estate – Winchester, 10th to 13th August 2017)

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Both the line-up and construction of Boomtown Fair is always truly unique – in their own words it’s “a city of wonderment, theatre, escapism and community”. Because the festival itself is presented as a city, the different districts all offer a completely different take on music – from the folk, world, rootsy, Americana vibes of the Wild West, to the incredible jazz, soul, reggae roots and world fusion of Whistler’s Green, there is something here for every world music lover.

And of course Boomtown wouldn’t be Boomtown without an incredible spectrum of reggae artists to go and have a skank too. The fantastic Trenchtown district plays nothing but the finest in reggae, dub, dancehall and jungle, and celebrates everything we love about UK Soundsystem culture. Highlights include the mighty Dawn Penn, who will be joined by Glaswegian MC Soom T and pioneering reggae DJ Earl Gateshead for what promises to be an extra special Trenchtown set. Indeed, Boomtown have outdone themselves this year, programming a host of reggae legends that will be familiar to all – The Specials, Toots & The Maytals, Big Youth & U-Roy and Ziggy Marley will all be performing at Trenchtown over the weekend. But never fear, if you feel like discovering something new, there’s plenty of rising stars and international artists to sink your teeth into: Italian 12 piece reggae orchestra Shanti Powa will perform, as will poetic dub artist Jah9, and up and coming London group Shanty, who play classic roots reggae with a UK twist.

Once you’ve danced your heart out at Trenchtown, make your way over to the more chilled out Whistler’s Green for more intimate shows. London is certainly representing itself with a huge selection of alt-jazz and soul influenced artists – we’d highly recommend checking out jazz-hip-hop-afrobeat fusion band Nerija, as well as 4-piece Sons of Kemet, who play a heady mix of jazz, rock, dub and Caribbean folk. If you’re a Sun Ra Arkestra fan and feel like checking out some really cosmic jazz, make sure and catch other London acts like astral psych rock group The Comet Is Coming, and new heavy psych jazz band Yusufla.

After you’ve got your jazz fix, travel back in time to the Wild West, which offers you the best in new folk and world music. There is truly something for everyone in this district, and plenty of interesting new genres too, like the distinctive “shamstep” of Palestinian group 47Soul, and the “chichamuffin” sounds of Peruvian band La Inedita. If you fancy seeing some more traditional folk, be sure to catch the lively Sheelanagig who fuse Balkan with stompingly good rhythms, and of course folk veterans Kila, who make their first appearance at Boomtown after 30 years in the music business. And of course, make sure and pop over to the Old Town to catch exciting Balkan fusion band Gypsy Hill, and the Batov Records Takeover!

Boomtown is held at the beautiful Matterley Estate near Winchester, Hampshire, from the 10-13th August, 2017.

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