We are currently living in 2 worlds that mark the past, present and future of the Boom Festival. While some members of our team are dismantling what’s left of the 2016 edition and working on post-production, others are taking care of the agreement deal for the purchase of the Boomland. We are happy to share that the land is now ours! It has been a truly emotional rollercoaster for us. We feel deeply tired yet very happy about what’s happened during the Full Moon of August; at the same time, we feel a sense of accomplishment for giving Boom a home after seven years of intense work and resilience, 19 years after the festival’s birth.
Moments like these remind us of how fast life goes by, and this is why we are sending you this letter.
We often remember the philosopher Jurgen Habermas and his critical analysis of society, which stands for the idea that an active society is based both on its capacity for self-assessment and on the existence of an active public space. We believe that this also applies to festivals, and it is thanks to this exercise that we are able to improve it for you and with you. You are the co-creators of the festival.
For instance, we integrated hundreds of your replies into the feedback that we published on our website for this 11th edition.
It is also thanks to your contributions that we were able to acquire the Boomland on September 28th. We definitely expect that this purchase will allow a long-lasting connection with the festival after each edition. This purchase was only possible because we took out a loan, and we will continue the crowdfunding campaign for those who wish to participate in this new chapter of Boom history. You can learn more about this subject HERE.
There is one unchanging characteristic of the human species since the cognitive revolution 70,000 years ago. Humans are social beings: everything is done with other people, or in groups. Boom is not an exception. We started organising the festival in March 2015. By the end of September 2016 we counted that 1882 workers and 763 volunteers, coming from 47 different countries, came to help build the festival. Plus there were 895 artists, musicians, street performers, lecturers and dancers, more than 200 workshops and 138 therapists. Boomers came from 154 different countries.
Most important of all was the friendly, peaceful, positive and loving atmosphere that united people from all around the globe. Boom represents this interaction and beautiful celebration between human beings in an environment of freedom and mutual respect.
After the overpopulated edition of 2014 we decided it was best to reduce the number of available tickets for 2016. Considering demand we could have chosen to sell double that amount, but we chose to stay true to our principles. Our way of questioning the importance of growth, as well as our philosophy on ticket sales, may appear strange to some people. We’ve been accused of hypocrisy and of doing some sort of subliminal new age marketing. We can understand that the over-saturation of present days and social conditioning might cause distrust between one individual and another, which in this case remains very abstract – after all, Boom is a festival.
But festivals are people with principles and human values and these are our roots; moreover, festivals must not limit themselves to the sole purpose of entertainment or even disneyfication. It will definitely not be public pressure for growth that will change Boom, given the fact that our daily actions and the collective efforts of an extensive team are motivated by human principles.
This is why ticket limitation was one of the biggest issues of this edition. It created a huge controversy and frustration for those who were unable to purchase tickets and wanted to express themselves, mostly on social media. We felt the disappointment in each and every one of you, but those who were present this year can confirm that the reduction of people attending and the increase in services and facilities – which we promised in 2014 and achieved in 2016 – helped to improve everyone’s comfort and overall experience. Please see the table below.
We are happy with the reduction of people attending and we do not wish to increase the number of participants for Boom 2018.
Reality is constantly changing and we’re walking a path of continuous improvement despite your overwhelmingly positive feedback. 2016 edition was no exception.
We launched a new ticketing platform but experienced technical issues, namely a very slow response time to your e-mails, while in the first days of the festival we had problems with the water in the showers of Caravan Park B and in some restaurants. Nevertheless, there were 14% more showers and 28% more restaurants (with their inherent water requirements) than in 2014. Despite the enormous sincerity and genuineness of Boomers we detected some ticket counterfeiters; we identified some Peace Keepers who behaved negatively towards people, yet 357 stewards acted with professionalism and discretion; we set up a strategy for ticket exchange/reimbursement to avoid falsifications and protect you, but the deadline proved to be too tight – in 2018 we’ll extend the deadline for reimbursements; the amount of composting toilets increased by 40% but we had more issues with bad smells than ever before, despite the fewer number of people attending the festival; we wanted to bring more art and energy to the Chill Out Gardens and Alchemy Circle, as well as more artistic installations to the Boomland; however we had less complex decor at the Dance Temple. We set up a new system for the entrance at the gates, but unfortunately the waiting time was still too long, partly due to the region’s terrain.
Motivated by the will to improve, we developed brand new projects such as the Nataraj, a new dance stage. For activists there was the Eco Tech Hub, NGO Django and the Social Hubs across the campsite; we launched the Psytrance Convention (the first convention exclusively dedicated to psytrance); we installed 16 fire hose stations across 4 km of the Boomland to prevent fires; plus many more new services and support infrastructures than in any past edition.
The world is going through a phase where everything is normalized, from the food we eat to even human beings. This is why we think it is of the utmost importance to take risks with experimental projects. In 2016 we invited sound system manufacturers to present innovations such as ambisonics or new infrabass. However, we recognise that some things did not work out so well and in 2018 there will be some changes.
We’re happy with the diversity and quality of our music, as we crossed over into different concepts and artist generations, invited some of the most creative DJs/musicians/producers on the planet and reinforced our environmental message. Everyone contributed to turning the Boomland into an example of social, artistic, environmental and human awareness. All of you helped make Boom 2016 possible.
We do not wish to wreck the Boomland or trash its nature, but rather nurture it as a home for knowledge, creation and harmony. A place where human and environmental regeneration is possible. In December 2015 we initiated a long-term reforestation project in which we planted 550 new trees, of which 80% survived. We’ve also launched the Boom Karuna Project, a new cooperative project that shares monetary funds with local institutions.
Despite our reputation as a world festival, we’re aware of our responsibility towards independent culture in Portugal, so have made a great effort to promote its creative community. 100% of the Nataraj lineup was Portuguese or at least established in Portugal; 70% of the projects that performed at the Sacred Fire were Portuguese and Lusophone; 48% of the Chill Out Gardens music and 30% of the Alchemy Circle’s were local projects; for the first time ever a Portuguese band opened the Dance Temple; and dozens of artists from Portugal were invited to create art installations throughout the Boomland.
In our local area of Idanha-a-Nova where (according to the 2011 Census) the number of employed residents is 2,583, there are 4,495 pensioners, and the unemployment rate is 15,9%, we provided work for around 200 people from the region.
We are happy of what we’ve achieved, but we’ll always aim higher. We’ve a long, long list of ideas and each edition is limited in time and resources.
It is with these thoughts that we’re already preparing the 2018 edition, constantly remembering your smiles and friendliness.
To the Boomers, to the whole team, to the artists, to the volunteers, to all who contributed and everyone who made Boom 2016 possible – Thank You!
Our next newsletter will be the “(Eco) Letter to the Boomers”