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Boomtown’s music programming head honcho Kaptin Barrett

Boomtown 2017 preview

Boomtown Fair, the UK’s craziest and most ambitious independent festival, returns once again to Matterley Estate, Winchester from Thursday 10th-Sunday 13th August
© Jesse Webb

"The size of the stages has got mad, as well. The Lion's Den, for example, has always been there but it wasn't anything like what it is now."

Building on and exnding their vision once again, Boomtown’s ludicrous display of immersive stages, entertainers, mini-venues, art vehicles and other silly “things to do” is completely unmatched by any other UK festival.


OX’s Jack Rayner spoke to Boomtown’s music programming head honcho Kaptin Barrett to find out more.

Hi Kaptin, you must be getting excited for this year by now.

Yep, it's getting closer.


How long have you been involved in Boomtown? How did you get involved in the first place?

I've been down since the second year. I went to the first one, and I've known the family for many, many years. I came to the first Boomtown and at the second one I began hosting the town centre stages. That turned into me becoming Mayor of Boomtown, somehow, and then I started programming the acts about four years ago.

What does your job involve nowadays?

Organising the programme and curating the artists, mostly. I keep an eye on the overall feel of the festival as a whole and look over the other stages and other programmers, as well.

Who are you particularly looking forward to this year?

I'm really looking forward to a lot of the younger Jamaican artists, because a lot of them don't get a chance to play over here that much. I'm looking forward to some good jazz up on the Whistlers Green stage, as well. People like GoGo Penguin, Sons Of Kemet and Portico Quartet. I spend the whole festival going from band to band, from 11 in the morning to 4 in the morning – it's rare that I'll actually get to see a whole set.

It must be mental for you to have seen Boomtown grow from what it was in the beginning to what it is now.

Yeah it's crazy, but at the same time, it feels like a natural growth – even though it is a world away from what it was. The last two years, in particular, felt like a completely different entity. I speak to various people who haven't been for the past four or five years, and they get quiet confused when I talk about it – it's not the Boomtown they remember.

I've been going for six years, and even in those years it's evolved beyond recognition.

People don't know that some of the areas are even there. We have a massive kid's field, folk stages, chill-out areas, a whole psytrance area... It's definitely a different beast to what it used to be. The size of the stages has got mad, as well. The Lion's Den, for example, has always been there but it wasn't anything like what it is now.

The Lion's Den has got to be one of the most impressive festival stages I've seen.

It's a beast. We love reggae, and there are a lot of these bands who we've wanted to put on for ages... You've got to put them on a proper stage, you know?

You're a DJ in your own right. What sort of music do you spin?

I play incredibly varied stuff. Over the years, I've grown up playing on loads of different slots so I've very much got used to playing all sorts of music. At the moment, my DJ name is AAA Badboy – which started as a joke about how to get to the very top of every alphabetical artist listing. Anyway, I don't stick to one thing but I do play a lot of reggae, and I just did a soca mix for BBC 1Xtra with Jus Now. I'll play everything from hillbilly, to grime, to Irish punk.

Excellent! And finally, any news as to where Boomtown's story is going to go this year?

Who knows where the story's going to go? There'll be some clues on the way...

Thanks Kaptin.


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