“Hands down the best festival I’ve ever been to” – Dani, Faintest Idea

It’s just over a month until Boomtown Fair and we’re already excited for it. To spread that excitement, we caught up with some of  artists that are playing the festival this year. The following memories and thoughts on Boomtown Fair come from a combination of members of several ska, punk and folk acts that will be performing in our favourite district, Chinatown, including Millie Manders, Dani from Faintest Idea, Alison Elliot from Maid of Ace, Jason Stirling of Matilda’s Scoundrels and Ben Hannah from Nosebleed. This is just a first installment as we plan to catch upwith more artists playing the festival between now and the event.


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

Millie Manders: Yes! I’ve been the last three years in a row performing with The Snare and with my own band. I can’t wait for year four!

Alison Elliot: Always wanted to go but never got round to it! Now we’re playing it so it all payed off in the end!

Ben Hannah: We haven’t been to Boomtown before but it’s always been on our radar as a place we want to hit. Having been in bands for a good few years we get to hear things from friends who have played the festival and it’s always been very positive. There’s loads of really cool little DIY festivals about at the moment but Boomtown seems to be the only big outdoor festival that accommodates our little piece of the underground DIY scene so we’re so grateful to the Last Gang In Town to be given this opportunity to take our little Rock N Roll Circus to the summer masses.

Jason Stirling: This will be the second time we will be playing Boomtown, last year we were on the Last Stand but this year we’re playing the Devil Kicks so we’re all pretty stoked. It was so much fun catching up with mates and seeing rad bands, can’t wait to go back.

Dani: First year was 2012 and have been lucky enough to perform every year but one since then.


Broken Arrow Magazine: What has your experience been of the festival? Or if you haven’t been, what have you heard?

Millie: It’s AMAZING! I call it the ska and punk Christmas because the entirety of that scene descends on that festival every year like a massive family reunion and those four days are the biggest celebration. Each district is incredible. The time and effort that goes in to making Boomtown a completely immersive event is mind blowing. I get to see bands I’ve wanted to see for years that are personal heroes, and all my friends bands in one weekend!

Alison: Everyone would always rave bout it, its got a good buzz so will have to see what we’ve been missing!

Ben: Everyone seems to have a different experience of the festival, it seems like a Frankenstein of the independent creative arts culture where music meets, art and acting. Like a little Glastonbury for hedonists, misfits, punks and revelers. Dani was waxing lyrical to us a couple of weeks ago about the little subtleties of the secret areas. I’m pretty excited about it. Regardless of how you feel about Glastonbury, myself and Dicky our drummer love the place but the idea that a similar kind of cultural experience can draw influence from the kind of scene we’re from brings a whole new level of excitement to Boomtown. I guess a lot of the bands who are playing the Devil’s Kicks and Band Stand have grown with us in the last few years and most of them we are lucky to call friends. To see everyone develop into festival acts over such a short period has been really special. We can’t wait to spend the weekend enjoying it all.

Jason: My experience of the festival is that it is a full on non stop party where you always seem to bump into people you know and get to see some of the best bands and DJ’s around the different stages and areas in the festival.

Dani: Hands down the best festival I’ve ever been to. The amount of effort that goes in to the sets, stages and storyline alone before you even get to the killer line ups is incredible. Every year I think there isn’t any bands I’m gunna be that bothered about seeing and every year they put their line up out and there’s so many bands that even I didn’t know I wanted to see.


Broken Arrow Magazine: What have been your fondest memories?

Millie: Hanging out backstage with all my buddies, discovering amazing new bands, watching heroes perform, partying till the wee hours, stumbling through fairy light forests….. So many awesome times.

Jason: Running through a field of wheat being chased by farmers.

Dani: So many. Taking a load of shrooms and wandering about not knowing if I was real or not. Finding the secret Speak Easy behind the red phone boxes. Having a chat with Death and him giving me a lemon. Watching a hippy annoy everyone on the Sunday wandering around throwing powder paint over everyone before our mate walked up to him and tipped the whole box into his face. Being so smashed I spent 3 hours comparing everything to the popular film Face Off .

“I call it the ska and punk Christmas” – Millie Manders

Broken Arrow Magazine: Are you planning to stay all weekend?

Millie: Every. Time.

Alison: We would’ve but we’ve managed to box ourselves in with gigs either side, We’re doing a string of dates with The Creepshow so not all bad! I think Leeds the day before and bedford the day after…so if you cant make it to boomtown come party anyway!

Dani: Of course! Unfortunately like last year we’re touring up to Boomtown so will miss the Friday, but as soon as we’re there we will be very much involved.

Ben: Yep! Without a doubt!

Jason: We are playing a couple of gigs with the Dead Maggies on the first couple of days of the festival so shall be hitting the Saturday and Sunday to check out bands and have a few beers.


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

Millie: Cypress Hill, The Specials, Skindred, The Official Blues Bros band, Maid Of Ace, Popes Of Chilli Town, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Pizza Tramp, Unknown Era…. Many, many awesome bands.

Alison: Not sure whos on the same day as us but hoping all our Mates; Matildas Scoundrels, Wonk Unit, Petrol Girls, Faintest Idea, Bar Stool Preachers!

Dani: The big one for me this year has to be Cypress Hill. I’ve never seen em before so I really hope they’re not on the Friday.

Ben: I guess there’s two sides to what we’re looking forward to, there’s the DIY traveling Circus bands who we seem to spend most of our weekends with like Faintest Idea, Matilda’s Scoundrels, Casual Nausea and Wonk Unit, then there’s the other side of huge bands like Cypress Hill, Frank Turner. It’s pretty surreal to see all these names on the same bill.

Jason: So many great bands are playing this year just like all previous years. It’s a solid line up but some we are most looking forward to are Ska N Ska, The Dreadnaughts, Subhumans, The Filaments, Faintest Idea, Casual Nausea, Inner Terrestrials, Pizzatramp, Maid Of Ace, Wonk Unit, Tim Loud, Jake And The Jellyfish, Nosebleed and loads more. The list could go on and on.


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

Millie: We have a few new songs since last year and we have gotten heavier, which I LOVE. So more grit, more bounce, more horns. More.

Dani: Onstage the same as ever. Jumping, dancing, shouting. Offstage, bumbling about trying to work out if I’m real or not again probably.

Alison: Ohhh you’ll have to wait n see!

Ben: Short, lively, sweaty songs.

Jason: We don’t want to give to much away but we will try and mix things up a bit and just do our thing, you won’t want to miss it.


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

Millie: We are playing Festival Too, Nozstock, Coundon Calling, Rebellion, Skabour and Wotsit Called Fest. We have only got about 20 gigs left to the end of the year because we want to get some more writing and recording done, which is really exciting. The gigs we have, are rad line-ups with rad people, so quality over quantity this summer. Whoop!

Alison: yeah catch us at Wonkfest, Mighty Sounds, Back To Future, Panic Fest, Art Sonic, Rebellion, Outcider Festival n check out our full summer tour dates at www.maid-of-ace.com/gigs

Ben: We’ve got a busy June, July and August playing up and down the country. We just played Manchester Punk Festival and Strummercamp and we have Boomtown, Outcider festival (Somerset), Glastonferret (Preston), Turbo Jugend Dirty Weekend (Brighton) and Wotsit Called Festival (Hastings) coming up. We’re off to WonkFest too just for fun. Good times ahead!

Jason: We have a busy summer which includes a European tour when we will also be playing Mighty Sounds Festival in the Czech Republic. Back in the UK over the summer we have loads of gigs and festivals including Rebellion, Outcider and Beautiful days. We’ll be releasing our debut album this summer as well which we’re all really excited for and can’t wait for people to hear it! It’s going to be a rad summer!

Dani: We’ve got quite a busy summer again this year, we’re just about to go off on tour round Europe in July and hitting a fair few festivals over there. Then touring with the Planet Smashers up to Boomtown in the UK. We’re never far away!

For more of each band