Boom Festival

Every two years Portugal is host to the biggest Psytrance gathering in the world, which has morphed into a huge multi-genre week long music and arts festival with a strong emphasis on environmental awareness and sustainability.  Aside from almost non-stop music across four different stages it also hosts talks, workshops, yoga classes, art installations and various other exhibits and performances.

This year was my third time attending Boom, and every time it gets better!  Just prior to the festival my friend Anton had got married and was going to the festival as the first part of his honeymoon.  He and his wife Jenny hired a nice big campervan to drive down in and me and some other friends all camped with them.  We setup a lovely campsite around the campervan with all our various tents and tons of shade to keep out the 40 degree Portugese desert heat.

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I arrived on my own by coach from Madrid airport, and although it was already dark I managed to find them quite easily due to Jon’s excellent directions.  I didn’t have a tent but I wasn’t too bothered as I knew it would be warm all night and it didn’t rain this time of year.  I had a blowup mattress and there was also various inflatable furniture I could sleep on around the campsite, although for the most part I ended up sharing a tent with another friend from our crew.

14233191_10207434745772083_3744464451129557992_nAs the dancefloors were very far from the campsite, most mornings were spent getting everything ready and packing it all into the ‘granny’ – a wheeled shopping cart kitted out with a coolbox, bag for clothes and a tall pink flag so we could all find each other easily amongst the crowds.  This really was the saviour of the trip as there was very little mobile reception and hardly anybody carried their phones on them, so losing people could be a problem.  Also the convience of having somewhere to store your extra clothes, towels and cold beer was a life-saver!

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The first night I got a leeeeetle bit too wasted and lost everyone while going to the toilet.  I walked around for ages looking for them, and despite the main dancefloor resembling a huge, pulsating, bass-pounding alien spaceship, I still couldn’t find it!   Somehow I eventually made my way back to camp, but nobody was there and I couldn’t fathom trying to look for them so I decided to call it a night.

After a full day of dancing on day two, we headed to the lakeside to chill, swim and watch the sunset.  This became a ritual and as the days went on more and more people started swimming with less and less clothes on, until eventually at sunset each night the majority of people were skinny-dipping.  (Although to be fair this was also fairly common at any time of day).

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At one point I was lying on this inflatable raft with a girl from our crew who I hadn’t really spoken to much up until then.  Being a hyperactive person, I guess I was babbling and fidgeting a lot, so at one point she snapped “Stop talking and stop moving!”  I found that quite cute and it got my attention, which I can’t be sure but I assume was her intention.  Then we all went to a beach bar a bit further away from the central area to carry on partying.  Eventually the music there ended too and everybody headed back to camp, but me and her stayed on and spent a lovely evening there lying on the beach under the stars.

One of the mornings I discovered an amazing crepe and chai stall near our campsite, which became our staple breakfast from then on, except on one occasion when we cooked bacon and eggs in the campervan which were amazing.  I don’t know why but somehow food always tastes better to me when camping.

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I think it was the third or fourth day we spent almost the entire day just relaxing by the lake and swimming, which was one of my favourite days of the festival.  Ace Ventura was playing and it sounded really good, but it was way too hot and packed on the dancefloor.  That evening we decided to check out the sacred fire, which I assumed would actually be a giant bonfire, but turned out to just be another dancefloor called The Sacred Fire, which was playing reggae and dub music.  It was ok but we didn’t hang around long.

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On the fourth or fifth night me and the girl from before lost everybody but found an inflatable ‘island’ mattress with a little palm tree and spent the evening getting frisky on that and listening to some buskers making awesome trance beat-boxing next to the food court.  Then we got some wraps and headed to bed.  I found out afterwards the others actually saw us and were sitting nearby but didn’t want to disturb us!  Haha…

The rest of the party followed a similar theme, dancing, drinking endless cheap beer, eating pizza, watching a crazy guy dance in a tree, exploring the gardens and swimming and relaxing by the lake.  I was supposed to catch the coach back to Madrid on Thursday and fly home to be at work on Friday, but I decided rushing home just for one day of work was stupid, so I decided to stay on with the others and change my flight to Sunday.  On Thursday night the music finished so on Friday once everything was packed up and most of the people were gone, me and her spent the afternoon skinny-dipping and lying naked on the lakeside like proper hippies.. 🙂

Then we all piled into the campervan and drove back to Madrid where our lovely friend John let us crash at his apartment for the weekend while he was in Thailand.  I decided it would be a good idea to finish all the alcohol on the way, so I passed out fairly soon after arriving and missed dinner!  The next day we just relaxed on the balcony and tried our best to keep cool in the suffocating heat.  Everybody else had to leave that evening so on Saturday just me and her were left.  We spent the day exploring the central park in Madrid and had some rather disappointing pizza for dinner because we couldn’t find any traditional tapas restaurants that were open.  It seemed like every restaurant owner in Madrid was on holiday!  Anyway it was still a nice ending to an amazing week, and the next morning we both flew home to our respective lives in the real world…

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