Boomtown 2023: portraits of the people behind the madness

Boomtown 2023: portraits of the people behind the madness

Photographer Alice Louisa captures the passionate organisers, dedicated artists and devoted attendees that make up the UK’s most extraordinary festival.

Over the second weekend of August, ​​Boomtown Fair opened its doors to celebrate its 15th birthday. Some 66,000 revellers came together for a five-day adventure full of sweating, dancing and connection in the Matterley Bowl – a large natural amphitheatre on the outskirts of Winchester.

Born out of the late-00s recession, Boomtown is founded on the values of social equality, environmentalism and all things counterculture. Essentially a living theatre with an ongoing narrative (this year’s instalment was dubbed ‘Chapter Two: The Twin Trial’), each summer it transforms a seemingly ordinary part of England into a fantasy realm where the boundaries of reality are blurred and imagination takes flight.

Delving beyond its wild stage designs, bewildering art installations and bewildering performances from headliners like The Prodigy, Nia Archives and Cypress Hill to the smaller stages where you’ll find names like Mr Tea and the Minions and DJ ADHD, photographer Alice Louisa aimed to capture the people behind the madness. The passionate organisers, dedicated artists and devoted attendees who travel from all over the world to make Boomtown everything that it is.

Zanzi & Jack. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“I’ve been to Boomtown four times.I love it because it’s fun, brings everyone together and the music and vibes are always amazing.” – Zanzi

“I’ve been to Boomtown two times now. It has the best atmosphere and a lot of realness going around. I love the people!” – Jack

Manifestation Agent / Insecurity Guard. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“This is my second time at the festival. I’m a walkabout act and get people to be their silly selves. Best thing about Boomtown is the freedom, expression and immediacy present.” – Manifestation Agent / Insecurity Guard

Christopher. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“This is my first time at Boomtown – I drove here from Gottingen, Germany. In my depression time I saw the video [of Boomtown] and it was so wonderful. Drum and bass is therapy for me, so I thought it would be awesome. It is.” – Christopher

Pixi & Taylor. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“Boomtown this year was a really beautiful festival. I approached it with caution as last year was my first time and it was a major anxiety pit for me. This year however, was a different experience. The atmosphere was really vibrating – as was the floor, from the town – and there was so much love coming from all angles. I really felt a shift in our society as human beings this year. The age of Aquarius is working – it’s magick and it’s beautiful to witness. We’ve still got some way to go but the important thing is we are on our way.

The thing I love most about Boomtown is you can never be bored. It’s so big there's a handful of things you could be doing all at once. The fact that there’s a back story is really cool. Next year I plan to follow the story to get whisked off down the rabbit hole!” – Pixi Dust

Chris. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“It’s my second time at Boomtown. I camped here both times in solo camping which is great as you get to meet new people. Best thing about Boom is the music and people.” – Chris

Ian, Organiser at Ecowarriorz. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“It’s my second time at Boomtown. It’s not my cup of tea, I think my 24 year-old self would have enjoyed it, but my forty-something self doesn’t. I like that I get to give people the opportunity to come through the work I do with Ecowarriorz! Not everyone can afford to go to festivals so it’s nice that we can provide that.” – Ian, Organiser at Ecowarriorz

Ellie. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“It’s my first time at Boom! Love the tunes and the music. It feels like home.” – Ellie

Madhatter. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“I love the wonderful creativity shown here. I brought my friend along and she’s been coming for the last two years.” – Madhatter

Countercultural Kaleidoscope, ft. Dogtooth, King of Boomtown, Tallulah, Liv and a volunteer for Oxfam. Photo: Alice Louisa.

“I was born here!” – King of Boomtown

“I’ve been here every year. I’m a Boomtown veteran. I love the wonderful atmosphere and the freaky people that come.” – Dogtooth

“Magical.” – Tallulah

“I travelled from New Zealand to be here. It’s very amazing and mind-blowing.” – Oxfam Volunteer

Follow Alice on Instagram.

Enjoyed this article? Follow Huck on Twitter and Instagram.