So this is where I was shockin out last weekend and for those that don’t know about this one… This is Boom Bap Festival!!! The illest festival in the world and it’s based right here in the UK! Those that don’t know had better get to know!
This was the 3rd year running and the first year that I decided to go check out the hype and boy it won’t be the last I’m telling you! Something I feel that this is only going to get better with time, it’s a family affair which brings all the hip hop heads together in a field in the middle of the English countryside! There were a few Americans and Australians amongst the crowd, Polish and other strains of our European brothers and sisters reppin too! Strictly the nicest vibes were had here.
It had an absolutely impressive lineup of artists that are smashing the UK scene and some proper vetties too!
We arrived the evening of the Friday after stopping off in a village nearby to grab some cold beers for the list of 6 cans each that were allowed on the equipment list! During our visit to that village we were waved down by the local bobbies, the po’ po’ known worldwide who proceeded to question us, a few townies in a VeeDub estate, on where we were going; if we were going to the Hip Hop Festival that had come to shake up the sleepy Suffolk village! “No” we both replied, to which the cunstable replied “That’s funny, everyone we’ve asked seems to know nothing about this festival going on”, ‘I wonder why’ we both thought to ourselves with a boot full of tents, rucksacks and a beach ball! So anyways we arrived to the car park where we entailed a small convoy of cars pulled over for searches, however all they were interested in were weapons and paint. Not the 7 grams of sweet cheeba I had dashed down my boxers! That was left for the lineup of bag and body searches at the main entrance! Rumour had it that there were sniffer dogs doin the rounds, so obviously everyone was a little prang to say the least in what seemed like the longest que ever!
Luckily for me, I knew someone working on the site who came out to assist me with my party supplies to which I queued up without a bead of sweat! As I’d been waiting for my saviour and my line in the queue I could hear the main stage which was next to me and heard Verb T and Kashmere performing the whole of their ‘Backhand Slap Technical Illness’ ep, to those that remember this dope duo of a release on Low Life Records during UK’s golden era in the early 00’s you will know! After the invasion of privacy and mollestation I bowled through the gates to meet my amigo who had blagged a workers pass off our other chum and proceeded to pitch up next to the entrance to the heart of it all! We got our tents up, had a bit of banter with our neighbouring tent people, strapped a zoot, opened our beers and proceeded to enter the vibes!
What a wicked place! For Hip Hoppers or not! There was suttin for everyone! We had live graf goin on from some of the countries best and most prolific writers, sound systems in all four corners blastin Dub, Reggae, Drum n Bass and of course plenty o’ that good ol’ Hip Hop!
We mooched around checkin out the garm stalls and record benches, the various food stalls, ranging from the Hip Hop Chip shop, Wrappers Delight servin up a nice selection of wraps obviously; with an entertaining themed menu and we also had a corner shop on site with a few thugged out breahs serving up soft drinks, cigs, crisps, chocolate n’ all that healthy shizzle! There were two bars, who couldn’t keep up with this beer guzzling boom bap community and I think on two occasions we were told “no beer” as they awaited another pallet load of room temp Red Stripes, Carlsbergs and the likes to continue their license right the way through to 4am! We soaked up the atmosphere and prepared ourselves for a long time legend & self confessed UKHH advocate Chester P! Who was up on stage with his nephew, the son of Farma G; Remus! To which they performed an eclectic set of classics over the years to new born hits and continued to hype the crowd through the evening to the last set which I’d been truly buzzed to check from Ramson Badbonez so at this point we had some of North London’s finest up on stage! Truly wicked set, but was a little disappointed that “Foul Moods” was left off the list! Once the main stage had closed down for the night the crowd continued to keep the dance goin over at the Square One tent where High Focus Records collaborators ‘Dead Players‘ (Dabbla and Jam Baxter on vocals and GhostTown on production) were rollin out with ‘Problem Child‘ (Illaman, Dabbla, Dubbledge on vocals and producer SUMGii) keepin the vibes truly alive until the early hours of the morning!
On Saturday morning I woke up to the sounds of PortaLoo’s bein pumped out and the dogs barking back in the queue for the peeps that couldn’t make the historical friday night! It was roasting in my tent as the sun was out and beaming on the open fields, so I got up, took a piss had a wash in the provided taps along the fence row, strapped one and proceeded to queue for brekkie which was at this point a very tasty bacon (boom) bap buttie at a mere £3.50! Suppose it was a good shout after all the booze consumed the night before!
Next on the main stage we saw Mystro skankin out to a half baked crowd of morning heads, followed up with TY who sadly lost some of the crowd to which I presume the time of day and the blazing sun on a lot of hung over people had taken cause! Throughout the day I witnessed EatGood Records own SonnyJim play in the background as I watched Tizer and his crew of writers go to work on a blank canvas, followed up with a smoked out set from Black The Ripper and Harry Love playing numerous collaborated tracks, Kyza with old classics and new material from his ‘Hibernation’ album soon to be released! I think it was at this point, we then had an unannounced entry from UK veteran SkinnyMan! Who performed on a more entertainment level and conversed a lot with the crowd bringing forward a hip hop karaoke tip where we sung along to classics “Itchy Town”, his verse from “Hold On” from the first Foreign Beggars album, many tracks such as “Fuck The Hook”, “Day to Day Basis”, “Loves Gone From The Streets” from his ‘Council Estate of Mind’ album as well as classic freestyles from over the years ending the set with multiple bags of smoke thrown out into the crowd! Mans a Don! We then had Northumberland’s own Big Stig of the Dump accompanied by Pete Cannon on the beats. Then one of the best sets of the day, in fact the weekend from Yungun and Mr Thing which was consistent and clear from start to end, performing classics from back in the day “The Art Of Celebration”, “City Breaks”, “Liquid Love”, “What Eye See” to “One Step Beyond, “Forget Me Not” and new hits from his recently released ‘Middle Man‘ album. Throughout the day, there was a bit of a High Focus Records takeover around the various sound systems, however the ‘Lion Pulse’ Sound system set up by some Bristol heads, was without a doubt the best system in the venue toppin the sound from the main stage even! Where they were bussin’ out Dub Reggae all weekend every day for the one foot skankers and blazers! Then the heavens opened up and it pissed down for a few hours to clear the air for the warm up set for Ghostface Killah performed by Triple Darkness (Solar Black aka Phoenix Da Icefire, M9 and Malachi) amongst other crew members who swarmed the stage to spit fiery tracks such as Knuckle Dust, Heartless Island and other badass tracks from various members. These dudes just smashed it man!!!
Then we had the grand entry from Ghostface with his hype man Sheikh Louch who just completely proved that this old timers still got it in him! He performed plenty classics from ‘Ironman’ and WU verses, to bringin a highlight to the night where he called up peeps from the crowd to spit Meths and ODB’s verses from “Protect Ya Neck”, unfortunately none of us had the balls! All too blazed and afraid to freeze on stage! But one man did!!! BVA from High Focus! Gotta big up his ches’ man! I hope he got a collabo out of this!!! I’ve found a video, posted below is this memorable moment! No need to say anymore…
Sunday was another wakey bakey morning, nicely chilled out but had done all my dough and had about 4 zoots left which was all good but needed to eat! I plotted in my tent & rummaged around for any loose change whilst the sounds of Onoe Caponoe‘s set fired up on main stage. I found a few golden nugs so I bought us a couple of Mars bars from the corner shop to keep us going for the day. A little later in the day we vibes’d out to a nice set from Rag N Bone man, Leafdog and more of the High Focus collective, we had Brothers of the Stone, Dirty Dike and a banging’ set from Dr. Syntax and The Mouse Outfit playing classics from last years ‘Escape Music’ album. Finally for all us stamina daddies & mummies! We were greeted for the last set from UK veteran Blak Twang who played hits from ‘Dettwork Southeast’ and the ‘Kik Off’ albums which was really good to hear and see!
It was great to be a part of this Festival/History in the Making! To witness acts I hadn’t managed to catch live in all the years I’ve grown up listening to their music! Bearing in mind, a lot of these guys were doin their thing before digital and the internet age. Looking at my record collection now, most of it was only released on vinyl!
We took our tents down, loaded up the car and left in peaces! Another highlight was getting lost on the way back home for Watford, but found a nice city called Ely where we had a well overdue cold, cold lovely cold beer and a beautiful roast dinner! This just topped off a great weekend!
Boom Bap… I’ll see you next year!