Every two years, the small village of Idanha-a-Nova, in the interior of Portugal becomes Boomland, an organic village with strange and coloured structures and art installations. This is definitely a very special place with a spirit of its own. 

Boom is not just a festival, is transformational festival. According to the founders “it is a state of mind. Inspired by the principles of Oneness, Peace, Creativity, Sustainability, Transcendence, Alternative Culture, Active Participation, Evolution and Love, it is a space where people from all over the world can converge to experience an alternative reality.”

Compared to Burning Man (EUA) and Fusion Festival (Germany) it was created in 1997, started as a small festival that grew up becoming a reference in alternative festivals, attracting people from around the world. 90% of boomers come from outside Portugal and from 162 different countries. 

Finding a ticket is not easy. In the edition of 2016 there were only 33.333 tickets available for the seven days of the event, that sold out quickly, with a price range from 130€ to 150€. One of Boom’s particularities is its strickt “No Corporate Sponsors” so you will not find any corporate logos or VIP areas.

And what do you get in return?

The program is very wide and diverse. Boom believes in transcendence through music, thats why at Boom music is sacred: “The dancefloors are temples where to transcend ordinary states of perception and the limitations of our egos. Through dance and music, we can reconnect to our own individual divine essence, while in synch with the beating heart of the whole tribe. All in One” says the organisation at the festival website.  

Scattered across four stages, music at Boom is as diverse as it gets: electronic, acoustic, classic, any style is welcome and represented in a different area, live concerts, djs sets, solo artists, bands… Boom started as a psytrance festival and has developed into an inclusive gathering, unveiling the surprising diversity of quality underground soundscapes.

Besides music concerts you can attend workshops, exhibitions, performances, and enjoy countless art installations scattered all over the site. Other areas called “Boom transformation channels” as the Liminal Village, the Being Fields (formerly known as Healing Area) and the Visionary Art Museum. “Here our hearts, bodies and minds can receive a full download of information through workshops, presentations, rituals and meditations” says the organisation. For exemple, in 2016 the theme of the festival was Shamanism. 

This kind of festivals and experiences are emerging all over the world, trying to empower personal and social growth and spiritual transformation through music and other strong experiences. 

Drugs are an issue with frequent police raids, but the organisation addresses that partnering with the Portuguese Institute of Drugs and Addiction, trying to comply with the drug laws of the country and with psychedelic support, a manual for drug users (https://youtu.be/4Va6jY_0Fuc), and also with medical aid at the site called Kosmicare  “a safe place for grounding the galactic energies and intense experiences.” 

Sustainability is one of the main concerns of the festival. Since 2004 many actions were taken like organic construction, water recycling using biotechnologies, renewable power systems, organic food farming… leading this work to be recognised with several awards such as the European Festival Award, in the category of “Green’n’Clean Festival of the Year” and the Greener Festival Award Outstanding. In 2010 the festival was invited to take part on the United Nations Environmental and Music Stakeholder Initiative to promote environmental awareness. 

The engagement and enthusiasm of the local population are rewarded by the festival giving preference to local producers and suppliers. The festival treats 1500 jobs for each edition with 200 comping from local workers, were the unemployment rate reaches 15,9%. 

Giving back to the community is a big concern, thats why the organisation created The Boom Karuna Project ( “Karuna” is compassion in Sanskrit), a charity idea that supports local social initiatives, one of the oldest, poorest and with the lowest birth rate in the country, with part of the revenues. The commitment with the region is so strong that the organisation bought the area of the festival (Boomland) in 2016 using its revenues, a loan and crowdfunding. 

The program of the 2018 edition has not been disclosed but we’re sure that its going to be a unique experience. Did you get excited to experience Boom Festival? If you have been to Boom tell us about your experience and what do you expect for the next edition at our Facebook account. 

All photos © by Jakob Kolar | www.jakobkolar.com