“Boomtown has become exactly what it set out to be, a complete escape from reality” – Joe Tilston

Just over a month ago we spoke to a bunch of the bands performing at Boomtown Fair this year, it received such hype that we decided to do it again with some more musicians that are performing across the weekend. This time round we caught up with Joe Tilston (ex-Random Hand/Traits) who will be performing solo again at Boomtown, Eve Crabb of Lead Shot Hazard, Zoe Barrow of Casual Nausea, several members of Just Say Nay and Will Chalk of Counting Coins. They have all got us even more excited for the weekend that is ahead of us!

Broken Arrow Magazine: Have you been to Boomtown before at all as a punter or performer?

Will Chalk: We performed on the Chinatown Courtyard stage for the first time in 2013 and every year since. This year we’ve been bumped up to Devil Kicks Dance hall. We’ll be kicking off the weekend with one of the opening slots on the Thursday at 18:45, so get there early and help us start the party.

Leo (Just Say Nay): Dave is a veteran and played with King Punch last year. He’s playing with them again this year, along with Katy who’s playing with Steamchicken, so they’re both going to be pretty busy all weekend. As for he rest of us, this will be the first time we get artist passes strapped to our wrists, although Katy, Jak, Mikey and I have been a fair few times before as bog standard punters.

Joe Tilston: I’ve played at boomtown since its second year, I think. Five or six times with Random Hand and last year solo. It’s been incredible to see it grow and become what it is.

Zoe Barrow: We were lucky enough to play the Devil Kicks Dancehall stage last year. Before that none of as had been to the festival. We had a different bassist then, so this will be Matts first time.

Eve Crabb: Tom and I went as punters two years back, and we had a really good time, so I’m looking forward to going again and playing!

Broken Arrow: What has your experience been of the festival?

Will: It’s one of the best festivals we’ve ever played, or ever been to in terms of wandering round seeing mad sights and awesome music and meeting ace people everywhere you go.

Joe: Boomtown has become exactly what it set out to be, a complete escape from reality. There is communities and social areas that live and breath, year on year. You go back and there’s enough familiarity for you to feel like you are coming home, and enough change to make you feel like it worth coming overtime for the excitement.

Leo: It’s a pretty magical place with an astonishing attention to detail, the organisers really pull out all the stops with building the city and populating it with weird and wonderful characters who are great fun to get involved with. Of course, the bands are always excellent and there have been some amazing headliners in the past. The comedown afterwards lasts me weeks and I think the Boomblues are testament to how much fun the festival is.

Mikey (Just Say Nay):  It’s the best place for getting lost in your surroundings whether you are hunting for a good time or seeking out sweet sweet stimuli for your trip juice. If we could live at Boomtown I think we all would.

Eve: It was one of the most amazing festivals I’ve ever been to. The effort that goes into the back-story of the whole thing, and into the visuals, is stunning. You could never get bored, when we weren’t seeing amazing bands (that line up, phew!) we were checking out Whistler’s Green and Kidztown; There are some awesome things to do there!

Zoe: It’s a massive, ridiculous, spectacular affair. Far bigger than the festivals we usually play, and unlike any festival I have ever been to. The sheer grandness of everything is impressive and terrifying all at the same time. In amongst all the madness, The Devil kicks Dancehall stage felt like home. All weekend it was surrounded by loads of the lovely bands and people who we know from the D.I.Y scene, and of course, the Last Gang In Town Crew, who we love to bits. You still very much get the sense of community we love in the Punk scene. Even though there were 60000+ people there. It was amazing!

“The great thing about Boomtown is you can wander into somewhere, have no idea who is playing, and still have the best night of your life” – Will Chalk (Counting Coins)

Broken Arrow: What have been your fondest memories?

Will: So many outlandish anecdotes I wouldn’t know where to start… What happens at Boomtown stays at Boomtown. As far as what acts we’ve seen, Damian Marley closing Lion’s Den last year was pretty special.

Joe: Playing on the Devils kicks twice on Random Hand’s last visit was brilliant. Having a real festival send off, with everyone out to show us the support and love was like nothing else. The photo we have from that on stage will remain one of my proudest and fondest moments… then to sneak in and do a secret set the next day and play a load of songs no one knew and have a reaction almost the same was immense.

Zoe: Our set was loads of fun, and is definitely one that stands out, but that kind of goes without saying. Seeing Adolescents absolutely smash it was incredible. Members of Daze’n’Daze crowd surfing during Matilda’s Scoundrels set was also fun. It was all good to be honest. Lots of nice people in the same place is alway going to be good!

Eve: Seeing Beat The Red Light at Devil Kicks Dancehall. Dancing to the Dualers while waiting for coffee, and the barista was dancing along with me. Sitting watching The Skints while seeing loads of fireworks. Getting lost in the forest and ending up with the most AMAZING view of the festival.

Mikey: seeing Craig Charles off his face DJ’ing was something special. Also finding and transcending time and space in a tiny gabber room before dragging my stinking carcass to the sewage works to watch Igorrr blow everyone’s minds at 2am.

Leo: Seeing Streetlight Manifesto play a few years back when I never thought I’d get to see them again (because of all the shit with Victory Records and talk of them calling it a day) was a massive highlight for me. Stumbling across the Opera House in Mayfair and all the ridiculous games that they were making people play was brilliant fun too. Oh and Chai Teas in the morning at Floating Lotus.

Broken Arrow: Are you planning to stay all weekend?

Eve: Of course!

Zoe: Yep. We want to see as much as we can. It’s too good to miss.

Will: Damn straight. As a touring band you don’t always get chance, there’s often another gig to get to, but Boomtown is different; it’s like Christmas for us.

Joe: I’m planning to leave sunday night, it took my 6 hours to get off site last year on the monday morning… no fun when travelling alone

Leo: That’s the plan! I’ve had a pretty bad history of ducking out early though… one year I practically broke my ankle after skanking on a loose stone in Chinatown watching Dirty Revolution and another year my cheap shitty tent flooded and everything was ruined (although The Pisdicables gang gave me all their clothes which I was incredibly grateful for). I was sleeping in 3 inches of water and I probably should have drowned.

Broken Arrow: Who are you excited to see at the festival?

Joe:All my friends!

Zoe: If I’m honest I haven’t looked into who’s playing on the other stages too much yet. The Devil Kicks Dancehall line up is unbelievable though. We’re looking forward to seeing it all. To many awesome bands to mention just a few.

Will: The great thing about Boomtown is you can wander into somewhere, have no idea who is playing, not know any of the people around you, and still have the best night of your life. In some ways the freaky “mini venues” and sideshows are the best bit so I always make sure to get around as many of them as possible. The one this year I’ll really be kicking myself if I miss is Cypress Hill. My 15 year old self would never forgive me.

Mikey: Our good friends Leadshot Hazard, and Faintest idea. There is so much going on its hard to keep up with

Eve: So many friends of Lead Shot, we’ll be making time to see Just Say Nay, King Punch, Captain Accident, Faintest Idea, Popes of Chillitown, Tree House Fire, Millie Manders and the Shutup, Big Red Ass, China Shop Bull, to name a few. Also, for me personally, I’m really excited about 7 seconds of love, Hepcat, Petrol Girls and the The Original Blues Brothers band.

Leo: Definitely The Specials, shamefully, I’ve never gotten round to seeing them, and I’ve wanted to see Hepcat and The Planet Smashers for over a decade. Boomtown’s great for just wandering around and discovering random places where bizarre things are happening and bands you’ve never heard of become firm favourites, so I’m certainly looking forward to discovering some new music too.

Jack T (Just Say Nay): I am excited because I like being outside and I can have fun with my friends. I like being with my friends almost as much as I like Pizza Express and travelling on trains.

“We’re so completely overexcited, you can expect some sort of band meltdown – hopefully after we’ve been on stage.” – Katy (Just Say Nay)


Broken Arrow: What can we expect from you at Boomtown this year?

Will: The same thing you can expect from any Counting Coins show – a ska-punk / hip-hop frenzy… Thursday night’s always pretty wild because everyone’s so hyped that the festival has finally come round, but only about half the stages are open, so they all get great crowds. There’s a lot of awesome bands playing across the weekend just on that one stage, never mind the rest of the festival, so it’s an honour to be picked to go on first – we feel like it’s up to us (and our friends in Popes Of Chillitown who are on before us) to set the tone for what follows, so that’s what we’ll be doing.

Zoe: Well, we were lucky enough to have played fairly well last year. There was crowd surfing and human pyramids aplenty. So this year we are hoping for more of the same. Expect frantic, fast paced hardcore with three singers and strangely catchy, shout-a-longable to songs. We have a lot of fun when we play and hopefully that’s what shines through. It will be our usual brand of raucous punk rock played fast whilst laughing at each other and trying not to fall over, maybe played whilst wearing shoes, maybe not. I do know that we cant wait to do some shouting at punks in a field.

Joe: I’m going to play a nice little set with a few of my friends, whoever is about to play at the time. Going to be a lot of fun. Always amazes me when I get attention to play my acoustic stuff at events like this.

Leo: Abject chaos?

Katy (Just Say Nay): We’re so completely overexcited, you can expect some sort of band meltdown – hopefully after we’ve been on stage.

Leo: We’re hoping to release our new EP just before the festival hits, so if we do you can expect to hear everything off of that along with all the classics. Can’t spoil too much about the show itself, but expect some questionable fashion and partial nudity too.

Mikey: Sweat, Skanks and beers

Eve: We’ve been beavering away at camp Hazard with new merch and a blow up set to go with it. Keep an eye out for our custom-built merch wagon, built by our very own Dave, which he’ll be wheeling around the festival.

Broken Arrow: What other plans do you have for the summer? Any other festivals?

Will: Boomtown is the last festival of the season for us but we have some big shows coming up in September and for the rest of the year including support slots with The Skints, The Real McKenzies, and The Slackers, as well as sharing the bill with some of our favourite bands from the scene like Stiff Joints, Unknown Era and Popes Of Chillitown, all around the UK. Between shows we’re writing and recording new material so watch out for that coming soon – for gig dates, releases, etc follow us on facebook.com/countingcoins

Leo: No other festivals on the horizon just yet, but we’ve literally just come back from playing Level Up Festival in London (shout out to Be Sharp, Fishlock and El Toppo for putting that beast together) which was completely off the chain. We got to see The Filaments, King Prawn, Big D and The Kids Table and the JB Conspiracy play our spiritual home in New Cross and it was an honour to get play alongside them. We do have a few gigs coming up in September, including supporting the legendary Chris Murray on the 29th September at the New Cross Inn as well, which we’re very excited about.

Zoe: We’re playing a mental all dayer in Oldham on the 19th of August, and then Matt (our bassist) is off on an adventure in Australia for pretty much the rest of the summer. We will be busy again from October. In the meantime, some of us will be putting on gigs in our hometown Ipswich with Uncomfortable Beach Party Promotions, and Simon will be off on a Euro tour with his other band The Domestics.

Joe: Not so many, now I’ve retired from touring full time. Been enjoying gigs with my new band traits, when I can.

Eve: We’ve actually played a few festivals already and Boomtown will be our final festival of the year. We’ve had a great year for festivals though, we played Level Up’s inaugural festival, SkankFest at the Fleece (if that counts as a festival), and HeroFest 2017, which was at the weekend. After Boomtown we’ll be chilling back a bit and concentrating on finishing the new songs we’ve got in the pipeline – once done, we’ll be starting work on an album, so 2018’s looking pretty exciting for us.

You can check out part one of ‘Questions with Bands’ here and our in depth preview of Boomtown here.

For more of each band