August is peak festival time, and we set off to Portugal for 8 days of sun and psytrance at Boom festival. Every two years in a remote area of eastern Portugal, along the beach of Idanha-a-nova lake, Boomland is reborn. The festival grounds are vast, with 150 hectares of land separated into various camping areas and different zones where activities take place. It takes something like 300 experienced volunteers around 6 months on site to build, and they do a fantastic job. Boom has something for everyone: 24-7 dance tents, roving performances, playgrounds, workshops on permaculture, yoga, shamanic journeying, nutrition, meditation and movement, plus stalls of clothes and crafts, food from all over the world, and even a supermarket for those basics that may have been forgotten; all done under a good sustainability ethos.
We arrived a day in advance giving us time to settle in and explore before the party started; on the second day, the music started and people got dancing, raising the dust in the sunlight where it would remain dancing with them for the next week. Some nights we partied and made mischief, other nights we bedded down early to be up in time for the following morning’s workshops.
The grounds are dotted with art installations made from organic and recycled materials; each day (or night) we discovered something new. We attended talks on forest dwelling and re-wilding, herb uses, building with cob, and even learned how to make hang drums from recycled gas canisters. The earth building workshop was a highlight for us and provided us with some eagerly anticipated hands-on experience.
In between dancing and workshops we spent our time cooling down from the soaring 40º temperatures in the lake, relaxing in hammocks and up tree-houses, wandering barefoot, and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Boomland atmosphere. On the last day, a breeze picked up and we could hear the scrap metal sculptures gently clanging in the wind. We said our goodbyes, cooked up our last meal in the communal cooking kitchen, and prepared to leave the sun behind.
Now back in London, the sun is still shining; we’ve started making wines, foraging the last of summer’s fruits and berries, and picking out the last of Boom’s prickly holm oak leaves from our camping gear… get ready to hear all about blackberries! 😉