Boom festival 2008 review

Author: Roberdo
Date: Oct 22, 2008
Views: 4249

An unexpected mass of visitors and a fatal bar code system error led to some worse trouble right at the beginning of Boom. But no doubt: Those who finally managed to enter the festival ground witnessed pure magic going on on the shores of the reservoir in Idanha-a-Nova.

Actually it was not really horrible but still not very comfortable to wait for 10 hours in the traffic jam in front of the entry gates at Boom festival 2006. But I was pretty happy when a friend of mine called me a few weeks before the festival and asked for helping him with the setup and care of the light projections he should bring to the Ambient Forest. The reason: Working with the decoration team would bring me inside the festival before the gates officially opened on Monday. In this way I avoided the only but therefore really worse critic point at the most complete international Trance gathering: The entry problem.

Coming right from the west coast on Sunday early morning I met lighting artist Aerosol by chance in Idanha-a-Nova. He spend the night in the village because he was kept away from entering the festival site the day before. Quite a funny thing if you consider that he is a decoration artist and went there to do the work he was booked for. But after he managed some things at the office in the village, getting in on Sunday was not a problem any more.

At least for us. Many, many other people experienced huge problems with passing the gates or even did not get in at all. Talking to people I know and made aquaintance with during the following days revealed some massive capacity problems at the gates. On the one hand there was an unexpected mass of people: Estimated 20.000 wanted to get in the same time on Monday. This amount of people collided with a fatal error in the new e-ticket system: The bar codes –invented to accelerate the entry process- was not readable for the scanners if the ticket was printed out in different formats. The staff at the gates had to enter the ticket codes manually into the system and of course this took much longer then just scanning them. Quite some people later told that their tickets were not really checked any more, they were just let in after a short view on the prints.

Quite soon also rumors made their round telling that people did not get in any more because they had no presale ticket and the gate was closed. Well, considering the mass of people this would be quite an understandable fact. The curious about it was an explicit announcement on the homepage that everybody would have the chance to get a ticket at the gate which had been posted only few days before the festival. In fact the entry was closed because of exceeded capacity and people –no matter where they came from- were refused to get in. Official information told about 10.000 – 15.000 people not getting in any more…

Anyway: For those who got on the festival ground the next days should become a remarkable experience, days which they most probably will never forget in their life. Again Boom topped quite everything I have seen in my now 10 years lasting experience as a Trance festival visitor and set new scales for all festivals to come.

Back to earth

No doubt: Nature is the very best decoration artist. Isn´t that the actual reason why thousands of people strive to remote festival acres every summer? In this aspect Boom has quite perfect dispositions with its wonderful venue: Situated on the shores of a huge reservoir with many bays, a small peninsula and lots of hills which offer a fantastic view on the almost savanna- like landscape it appears to be a perfect location. The Portuguese climate with its guaranteed summer is another factor. The decoration concept of this years Boom festival reinforced the magic of this wonderful landscape by its nature-relation. In my opinion the promoters pretty much hit the bull´s eye with this concept.
Passing the Trance floor it were no loads of fluoro colors that hit my eye. No, instead of that the floor was covered by huge sun sails in calm green shades, suiting perfectly in the surrounding nature. This impression was reinforced by the sophisticated clay structure that included the stage. Around the Trance floor I realized more green but this time it was the green from living plants: A pavilion- styled structure included shady space in the middle of flowers and tendrils, a green oasis. Some huge circles of fresh grass next to the Trance floor reminded crop circles. And even in the beautiful, straw-covered edges of the dancefloor real plants created a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere.


Clay was a major part in the concept of this years Boom festival. Beside the mentioned main stage construction there were clay- built structures on the whole festival ground. The red color of this material contrasted with the clear blue sky in a very beautiful way.


Straw was another material that was used to construct some impressing structures. The most remarkable one for me was the Sacred Fire stage which hosted lots of live concerts and performances. The actual stage was covered by a huge shell made by symmetrically interwoven straw skeins. It looked very organic and perfectly symmetric the same time, definitely a masterpiece of construction. Around the stage more constructions made of straw skeins and sun sails could be found. Also this kind of architecture fit perfectly in the landscape and reinforced the very natural atmosphere of the festival. The bamboo constructions in the Ambient Forest and the quite large area of the Liminal Village did so, too.

The most important thing at a festival

…is the most controversial pretty often. I am talking about the music. Beside the fact that this review is the result of a personal experience and therefore highly subjective, this part is even more
When I read the name of the new stage at this years Boom festival in the internet I was instantly pretty amazed because it consisted of two things I really love: Groovy Beach. My euphoria was even increased when I read that this new floor would feature a huge bandwidth of electronic music. To say it straight-out: My high expectations were absolutely fulfilled! While quite everybody is talking about style variety on this floor it was really practiced. I had some absolutely amazing and inspiring moments at Groovy Beach floor. For example when people went totally crazy to sea- deep Dubstep tunes and faced the excellent Function One speakers while dancing instead of the DJ. Or hundreds of voices screamed “Acid!” during a wicked Breakbeat / Electro House set in the night. After my very intensive involvement in the scene for one decade now it has become rather seldom that I am really deeply impressed and inspired by DJ sets or liveacts I hear at parties. At Groovy Beach it happened even several times! I loved the huge variety of the floor which reached from oldschool Funk stuff, Dub and Raggae to Drum´n´Bass, Breaks, Tech House and Minimal. What I did not like was the fact that the floor stopped every day at midday because I love to celebrate during the day and quite some people I know do so too. So it would have been great to have a longer time table during the day.


I did not like the music at the Trance floor too much this year. For sure there was some nice Progressive Trance during the daytime and I remember at least one great afternoon I spend there. But in general the sound was far too hard and fast for my taste. I camped on the hill right above the Trance floor and so I got quite some of the music played there. On Sunday the sound continued the whole day without a break and I expected some cool Progressive Sound during the afternoon. But there was none, music went on from dawn to dusk without a remarkable change. On this day I realized a strange contrast: On the one hand we had a fantastically designed party surrounded by a wonderful countryside. There were heaps of beautiful people from all over the world and quite some of them follow alternative lifestyles. Also the many workshops and lectures which were offered during the festival told about meditation, peace and propagated inner peace, balance and relaxation. But the music is the total opposite of this beautiful, natural and relaxed scenery: Hard, hectic and aggressive! I just cant understand this drastic contrast between the gorgeous festival and its beautiful visitors and this music without soul and intelligence.


Situated on top of a small hill on the peninsula the Ambient Forest was situated in one of the most beautiful areas of the festival venue. This year there was a small fountain in the middle of the bamboo structure that offered lots of shady space during the hot days. Again plants were used to create a very relaxed atmosphere. The amazing view over the lake, the surrounding nature and to the Trancefloor was unique, for me this is definitely the most beautiful and sophisticated Chill Out I have seen so far. The music offered quite some variety, reaching from very, very slow and psychedelic opium tunes to even danceable World Music.


There were more areas to explore: The Liminal Village offered lots of lectures and workshops about body, mind, politics and spirituality. The cinema / theater stage featured a huge program, too. And finally there was a new Healing Area with many workshops about meditation, yoga, Trance etc. It was really nice to see that all these facilities that offered more than the classical festival program were attended very well and gained very good feedback among the visitors.

Nothing to complain

Beside the mentioned entry problems I found no real critic point at Boom festival. Well, maybe one more: The prices for food. I myself enjoyed the very good crew catering but nevertheless I realized the really high prices for food at most of the shops. Also at this point I see a certain contrast between the propagated anti- capitalism / TAZ mentality and the practice. It would have been desirable to regulate the prices. But I also have to say that these certain shops were not managed by the Boom crew but by externals. The prices at the Boom- run bars for example were absolutely reasonable. The computer systems at these bars crashed pretty frequently, again a bar code system failed. But in my opinion this was an acceptable circumstance considering the size of the festival and the amount of people. Still I did not really get the advantage of this new bar code system.


Also the so called Boom Bug is definitely not a fault of the promoters. When so many people meet in some kind of camp town it’s a recipe for certain hygienic problems. I myself got infected and was concerned by diarrhea and a strange feeling of weakness for 2,5 days and it was really horrible. I assume it was a Noro virus which is transmitted in a fecal- oral way and is highly infective, only very few pathogens are needed to cause the illness. Definitely a really bad experience for many visitors but as said not really a curious thing when such masses of people meet in warm climate.



Yes, it was absolutely great again - Thanks a lot to the promoters and everybody else who contributed!


Author: vectorselector / Date: 09.03.2009 13:22:44

mind you- there was some wicked music on groovy beach as well,
but it dominated the festival and created a divisive vibe.
why not do it like ozora? one stage
mix the music and only choose the good stuff...

Author: vectorselector / Date: 09.03.2009 13:13:17

funny, i was complaining because the pop music (sometimes literally pop music in the daytime! whats this the mainstream radio?!? not acid safe for sure)
on the groovy beach was dominating the festival.
i dont think many people had the experience you did- of hearing the trance floor at all. in years past one could always hear the main dancefloor slightly and understand if one wanted to go dance or not. boom 2008 i heard only groovy beach everywhere as it was in front on the water and reflected everywhere.
while i agree its not nice to go full-on all day, and proggy or groovy tunes in the afternoon are nice, i dont think it was very connected to the festival at all like in years past. it was just sort of tucked away in the corner...
hey for me psychedelic music is important or else why not just go to the many commercial music festivals we have all over Europe in summertime.
so the psychedelic vision is lost and lets all go retro coked out electro?
no thanks :) thats a club

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