This festival season I am so excited to be attending Boomtown Fair from 7th - 11th August for the first time! Boomtown is a renowned immersive experience and the annual event of the year not to miss. This summer will welcome their eleventh year, and as a Boomtown newbie I couldn’t resist but to find out all of the juicy details about Boomtown and nd what’s in store for ‘Chapter 11.’ If you haven’t already, get your tickets here and check out Boomtown’s official website for more important information.
I had the pleasure of interviewing their Creative Producer Mair Morel, the brains behind the creative and innovation for Boomtown Fair. Make sure to carry on reading for our sassy and exclusive Q & A. You can watch the Boomtown Story video here to watch more about what it takes to create the famous and unique world that is Boomtown Fair.
What was the inspiration behind the Chapter 11 theme?
This year is all about the environment. Everyone is aware of the climate crisis we are facing and that we must act now to protect our planet. Boomtown is a big event and with a capacity of 66,000 people it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves as organisers, make significant changes operationally and ensure that the public are equipped with the facilities and opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint. Sustainability is at the forefront of every aspect of this years show, and also for the future of Boomtown. If we can inspire people to change their behaviour in a wider context then we are really doing something special.
Boomtown is in its 11th year now! What makes 2019 stand out from previous years creatively?
I don't want to give the game away but each district has something special up their sleeve. The plans for new district AREA 404, as well as the new stages Relic & Nucleus look absolutely amazing, so it will be epic to see them in the flesh! The Immersive Maze has also stepped up this year, encompassing more of the site and has more pathways than ever so make sure you get involved in some game play with our characters!
At the close of Chapter 10, AMI the city’s Artificial Machine Intelligence character left us with the ominous message of "Boomtown has no future unless it considers Environment, Sustainability, and Consequences." We all know the urgency of this message and are making big steps to make the festival more sustainable. Each district, all the characters and venues are involved and I'm looking forward to seeing how our public react.
The line up this year has blown me away! Which artists are you looking forward to watching most this year? Wow, there’s so much happening that’s a tough question! Musically, of the bigger live acts, it’s got to be Lauryn Hill & Salt ‘n’ Pepa; they were my idols when I was younger! Eva Lazarus will be a highlight along with Little Simz, Kelvin 373 & the Born on Road crew. Shy FX’s sets at Boomtown are always legendary too! The theatrical highlights are also something to make sure you catch, especially the spectacle show on the Nucleus stage! The stage will come alive with performers and seriously integrated tech ... it should blow the audience away!
How long have you worked at Boomtown, and what is your favourite thing about working for a festival?
I have been here from the beginning! My role grew with the festival. I started as a walkabout performer, to programmer then to producing my own theatrical elements of the show which included “The high life” high wire show and finally to Creative Producer where I oversee it all!
I absolutely love what I do. To work on planning and implementing a show of this scale and ambition, which inspires moments of pure joy in people, is like nothing else! We are a passionate bunch who want to outdo ourselves year on year. That kind of benchmark is a tough one to set but it’s so satisfying to be a part of delivering a show as jaw dropping, exhilarating and inspiring as Boomtown! It’s a collective effort, the team are the most caring, capable and forward-thinking people I have had the pleasure of working with. I hope a show like Boomtown can blow the audiences socks off whilst also introducing them to a beautiful community of like minded people who all want the best for each other and our world.
What are your day to day responsibilities at Boomtown HQ?
It’s my job to bring the Director's vision to life and deliver that extra layer of magic and interaction that is unique to Boomtown. This includes Boomtown’s ever evolving story, theatrical performances, the fantastical characters in the districts, the Immersive Maze and the main stage spectacle shows. There’s a hugely collaborative element to a show of this scale so we work with many different crews and thousands of performers. I produce creative briefs so that we are all working towards the same vision and narrative . The daily grind is lots of planning, logistics and spreadsheets but it’s so worth it when you see it all come together. That feeling of seeing the event in action is unparalleled!!
Where do you see Boomtown going creatively in the future?
The quality of the theatre across all our districts has improved year on year, even more so since we secured funding from the Arts Council England to run theatrical workshops to develop all the crews involved. I loved the new vibe of Barrio Loco last year and I’m looking forward to watching that develop even more. The new set was beautiful and full of colour, Bassline Circus did an amazing job animating it all with aerial, dance and circus skills on the upper levels and the party vibes were high the whole weekend!
What is one to expect staying at Boomtown Springs?
Boomtown Springs is VIP immersive camping with a massive Boomtown twist at it’s best! It even has its own pool, mansion house, has games on the lawn with some of our infamous characters who roam around the area making sure that everyone there experiences round-the-clock escapism. Guests can either camp or stay in some of the pre-pitched structures, depending on their preferences!
What are your top 3 essentials to bring to a festival?
Your smile, Your dancing shoes and ya best bling!
What advice would you give to a Boomtown first timer like myself?
Get involved in the story! Knock on those doors, interact with the characters, get silly and lose yourself in the crazy world of Boomtown. The main gameplay happens 1pm - 7pm each day so there's plenty of time to get involved before you get into the hard dancing in the evenings. It’s the same for the music. There are so many artists performing. Check out your favourites but explore the districts and discover someone or something new on the way around!