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I went to the Boom Festival in 2010 and again in 2012. 2010 was ok, as they didn’t oversell the event and it was a pleasant amount of people. 2012 was a different matter. I tacked the 2012 event on to the end of my conservation expedition to Indonesia, probably a bad move.

I left Medan on a flight to Madrid. Though it was going to stop in Jakarta and Doha on route. The flight had been expensive $700. Funny how I never realised how much until much later, closer to the flight. So much for my budget flight hunting. It was booked as one flight from Medan to Madrid but included two operators. The flight to Jakarta was quite easy though there was not enough time to get from the domestic arrival to the gate for my international flight. I got to the gate, and I did not go slow, and they said, ‘sorry, the flight is closed’. They then deliberated and said that they would let me on as there was no way for me to connect with a flight to Madrid if they didn’t. I had to run, though just before I had to pay another £15 airport tax, not nice. Admittedly they did escort me to the plane with a buggy ride thrown in. I boarded a half empty jumbo jet. The flight to Doha was uneventful I then had a 5 hour wait in the airport. A bit much after the last-minute dot com at Jakarta. Then after the next flight I arrive in Madrid, 24 hours after leaving Medan.

I spent two nights in a 12 bed dorm in the cats hostel in Madrid. The only reason was that the $700 flight would have been $300 more if I had arrived on the correct day. I went back to the airport and met the Boom Bus. I got there at 6am and was on the bus at 10am. They were reasonably organised but for the fact the girl rejected my phase 1 ticket saying I needed another form for the bus. I was made to go back to the airport and access the net to print out the ticket. I spent 10 euros on the stupid machine to find out that A. it would not print (or it was rocket science to work out how to make it do it) and B. the ticket was identical to the one I had in my hand, no bus ticket but for the words Madid A bus included.

So I go back and ask the main woman to sort it, the que is now huge (and in the sun), now way was I going to que again after arriving at 6am! She was very helpful, and I cursed myself for not heading for her first of all, in about 10 mins I was on the bus. After two and a half hours the bus stops for a break. I head to the toilet. Then I think I am hungry, having had a biscuit for breakfast. The que of fellow boomers is huge, and soon the bus driver will be on the horn getting us to go back. So I go back, hungry, lucky I had already bought a bottle of water in the hostel! So I wait on the bus for half an hour past the time the driver said for the other boomers to finish buying their huge feasts.

After another 2 and a half hours we arrive at the check in for the festival. There is no food for sale there. After about an hour we are checked in and head straight into the event. I pitch my tent and head straight for something to eat. Starving!

The event is not running yet as they are still building the stages. Getting the bus means you get in early. I soon find that there is only one good place to get coffee. The festival is over a huge area along the side of a lake with the healing area right down the end near the Sacred Fire stage where they have more traditional music. Closer into the camping area in the main dance tent with the ambient area and the techno area quite close to the restaurants which are next to the camping.

When I can I book for the sweat lodge at the healing area. I am no. 6 on the list. I get there at 8 in the evening on the first day of the Psytrance tent starting. We have a talk from the sweat lodge master and queue up to go in, of course, like I do I am last in the queue. We get to the last 4 and are told there is no room, go home. So much for the sweat lodge. Why someone who was no. 6 on the list doesn’t get in and loads who didn’t book do, I am not sure.

The next few days are a bit odd. I don’t settle on anything, after several months in Asia somehow it doesn’t jell. I reject the healing area as overcrowded. Each lecture is stupidly oversubscribed, with not enough room in the area’s. I hate the amount of queuing I have to do, especially with the amount of pushing in there is. Queue for the toilet, queue for a drink, queue for food, queue to ask a question, queue to plug in your phone, the queue festival.

Finally I find a place that is good, the Theatre on X-Island. Cabaret and various acts. I see one that is very good with a sort of tai chi, but the original Indian form.

Even this area is very badly organised. You are often told that there is nothing on until midnight, then every hour a show turns up, maybe.

I find that a day is about wandering up to a place where I can go to the toilet and then wandering back again later, maybe get a coffee when the queue is not 400 miles long. In the evening I check the theatre and dance areas. I find just slouching around works best.

The beer is pretty bad, a can for 2 euros of 5% proof. Makes me sleepy, but there is no other choice.

Camping: I had a nice spot next to a path, but one night a Belgian couple turned up and plonked their tent in the middle of the path, they also had a dog that barked at me, but who was my friend by the end.

Going home the bus is quite well organised and I am in Madrid airport with no real worries. At the stop I am wise and buy my water before I go to the toilet. There is no ATM otherwise I would have got more. The ATM at boom had a 1000 mile que on it. We get back on and the others bring there feasts with them.

I did not enjoy Boom much, but I think it was the previous months in Asia did not set me up well for it.