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Our craziest family adventure

Boomtown family reviewAs summer draws to an end we’ve been reminiscing about our favourite family adventures of 2016. There have been so many fantastic times, but when I asked the kids what their most memorable adventure was, they both shouted

BOOMTOWN!

BOOMTOWN ADVENTURE

The theme of total chaos starts before we even enter the sprawling world of BoomTown.  None of the crew seem to have a clue what’s going on, no one has a map, and the elusive ‘family camping’ seems to be a bit of an inside joke when you ask where it is. A slightly worrying start with two kids in tow. We like a challenge however, so not disheartened by our rather disorganised first impressions, we grabbed this book by the cover, and delved right in to the adventure.BoomTown 2016 Family

BoomTown is an arts festival of around 60,000 guests and held each year in a gorgeous valley in the Hamshire countryside. We’d done a little research and the general consensus amongst 95% of people we spoke to was that we must be mad to consider taking the kids.

Well, they’d be right then!

I did have a couple of very minor moments of ‘what have we done?’ over our wild weekend. The first was when it took us so long just to past the test of getting in to the festival, but it was so worth it. The challenge is all part of the cities immersive theatre experience it seems!

If you can make it on site, manage to get wristbands, and find somewhere to camp before losing the plot (or the kids), you have passed the test. You are officially a Boomtowner and may begin your wondrous weekend of non-stop madness.

And so it begins…

We jumped several bizarrely shaped hoops to find a spot to park our van and eventually ended up on the edge of KidzTown camping which we’d been told was already full. Considering there are very few kids at this festival we thought that was rather strange.

Friends who had been to Boomtown before told us to avoid the areas known as Downtown after dark. The festival is split up into districts laid out like a small city and each district is totally different. Like most festivals, BoomTown has many sides to it. We’d heard stories of drugs and other things unsuitable for families, but this was not our experience at all. The whole experience felt safe and completely out of this world.

According to the kids ‘Boomtown is the best festival in the world!’

Boomtown

Downtown

We stood and admired the view from the top of the hill across the site and I literally had pre-rave butterflies I hadn’t felt in 20 years. The kids shrieked with excitement, the thumping bass filled the air, and the atmosphere was totally electric. WOW!

Although the Boomtown website says under 16’s are not allowed Downtown after 7pm, we couldn’t resist flying straight down the hill to start our adventure. We literally skipped for joy!

boomtown

Downtown districts include Barrio Loco, Sector 6, ChinaTown, and the red light District 5 with its interesting window shopping, robot pole dancers, and the darker side of the festival. Much of the entertainment here is not family friendly but to be quite honest, the main reason we decided to avoid it with kids and as adults at night, is that it is just so busy. We found so much more fun to be had in other areas of the festival so we left the Downtown madness to the teenagers all weekend.

Bang Hai Palace BoomTownBang Hai Palace lit up in at night was a totally awe inspiring sight and worth our busy trip through the chaos on the first night. Even though Hunny was tired, she stood mesmerised by this sky-high structure.

The kids were pretty overwhelmed with it all and the busyness reminded me of Glastonbury years before the proper fence went up. There were just thousands of people shuffling around, not a family in sight, and as we didn’t even have a map, we got lost very quickly. Hunny was quite concerned about the campers sleeping in tents so close to all the thumping sound systems. As soon as we got our bearings we headed back to the sanity of our van and bed. What had we done?

boomtown district 5
We checked out DownTown while everyone was sleeping

Kidztown

Friday morning arrived and we fell in love with Boomtown. The kids loved every part of the weekend. They aren’t fazed by big crowds and noise so we explored the whole festival but Kidztown was a favourite for Hunny.

A mini Boomtown for beginners, even this small corner of the festival has so much thought and creativity crammed in to it.  The most exciting thing for us as a family at Boomtown was that every door and window hide an adventure. Our kids wasted no time getting fully immersed in the theatre. They earned Boomtown money from the rich pig banker when they knocked at the bank, then they spent it on glitter tattoos and henna in the tattoo parlour across the road.

boomtown

.Kidztown had its very own stage with performers and we were so proud when Daisy ended up on stage with a fantastic gymnast. He couldn’t believe that she could do all of his acrobatic tricks and he kept challenging her to more.

kids high wireHunny loved the bouncy castle where the kids got drenched by water pistols. There was also a lovely covered sandpit for little ones, puppet shows, craft and lots of workshops including make your own pizza. Considering there weren’t actually that many kids at BoomTown, the kids area was fantastic

One of the highlights of the weekend for them was climbing a huge tree with the APE project in the woods, then launching themselves from the very top or the highest branches.

‘It felt like I was flying!’ 

We had the most fantastic weekend as a family a Boomtown. We laughed so much and discovered so many crazy things. When we wanted to escape the non-stop madness we headed to the Whistler Green area which is a peaceful corner in this crazy metropolis.

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