**Reggae Rajahs member Raghav 'Diggy' Dang talks us through his experience at Boomtown Fair 2012**
Without a doubt, the one thing I miss most about living in London is the music.
Fortunately when I returned to the UK after 4 years in India, I was able to satiate my music hunger deprivation. I arrived during the midst of celebrations of Jamaica’s 50th Year of Independence with reggae dances every night. I was fortunate enough to see some of the best Jamaican artists on the scene such as Horace Andy, Johnny Osborne, Morgan Heritage, Cornell Campbell, Gyptian and Shaggy just to name a few.
The following weekend I was lucky enough to attend Boomtown Fair, a 4 day festival that takes place in a secret location in Southern England, showcasing the best in reggae, ska, drum and bass, rockabilly and pretty much everything in between.
I rolled up to Boomtown on Friday with Mr Williamz. He was performing with Curtis Lynch, founder of Necessary Mayhem and producer of many of todays biggest reggae hits. I was excited to learn that my artist band gave me backstage access to Lion’s Den, the stage where all the reggae was happening. An excuse for me to meet all the performers and tell them about the growing music scene in India.
I was camping with veteran festival goers Munbir and Sarah from The Wild City. They were kind enough to lend me a tent and save me a camping spot, which was near their friend’s campervan. Every morning we would start the day at the campervan for tea and bacon sandwiches, the fuel to keep us going for the day.
The highlight of the first day for me was Tanya Stephens at the Lion’s Den, even though I had to leave half way through to check out 90s ska punkers Reel Big Fish on the main stage. At about 2am that night I saw Shy FX play at the Arcadia stage. Arcadia was probably the best stage I have ever seen; a giant spider made out of scrap metal that periodically moved its legs while spitting out fire, all with Shy FX inside the spider. The place looked like a scene out of the Matrix! (see video)
The second days highlight was at the Hidden Woods stage, a spot in the middle of a forest. I witnessed some brilliant ska and reggae bands from the UK such as Newtown Kings, The Drop and YT & The Friendly Fire Band. Meanwhile at the Lion’s Den I met legendary reggae DJ, David Rodigan and jungle/drum and bass producers Benny Page and Marcus Visionary who got the crowd suitably riled up for headliner Macka B who absolutely smashed it at the end.
On the final day, I didn’t waste any time at the campsite and headed straight to the main stage at noon to catch The Skatalites followed by The Slackers, Capdown and secret headliner Jimmy Cliff. Our friends Illbilly Hitec and Longfingah also performed at Bassline Circus, a stage dedicated to bass heavy music. Lion’s Den that day had an epic line up featuring acts ranging from Mungos Hi Fi with Soom T to YT, Mr. Williamz and The Heatwave with General Levy, Serocee, Lady Chann and Gappy Ranks all supported of course by headliner Alborosie, easily the highlight of the festival for me. His performance simply stood out from the rest. Alborosie, rated as one of best reggae artists in the world, is one of the most down to earth and humble performers I have ever met. He was warm, friendly and very pleased to receive a Reggae Rajahs t-shirt.
All in all, Boomtown Fair has to be hands down one the best festivals I have ever been to. There was an eclectic mix of music, numerous quirky stages, clubs and cider bars. With endless places to check out and never a dull moment in sight, I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves good music and entertainment.
Words: Raghav 'Diggy' Dang (Reggae Rajahs)
20 August 2012