Boomtown FAQ: The questions the festival won’t answer

I’ve been spending some time recently helping to answer people’s questions on the Boomtown Subreddit and on the Boomtown Chat Facebook page. So I’ve decided to put together a Boomtown FAQ of the most common asked questions.

There are some questions the festival won’t answer, and I’ll try to give an honest and balanced answer to them. Whatever you do this year, please remember this years respect campaign. Look after yourself, each other, and Boomtown itself.

The rest of them are just regular old questions I see being asked everyday.

Boomtown Tribe Of Frog

If you feel like you just spent 12 straight hours in Tribe of Frog, and found more questions than answers… Read on to find enlightenment.

This FAQ was written in the weeks running up to Boomtown 2018, and answers questions mostly about arrival at the festival. You can find my latest coverage of Boomtown 2019 by clicking here.

Questions include:

  • Can I take more than 16 cans into Boomtown?
  • What about sprits?
  • How strict are the gate security on drugs?
  • Best way to smuggle my goodies in?
  • How long will the queue be?
  • What time should I arrive to beat the queues?
  • Where is yellow car park?
  • How do I buy a car park ticket?
  • I’m under 18 with an adult ticket! Help?
  • Can I take my booze into the arena?
  • How is mobile data?
  • When are stage times released?
  • Where is the best place to camp?

Scroll down to find out more.

Can I take more than 16 cans into Boomtown? How strict is it?

The festivals official policy is that you can only take in one of the following:

  • 16 cans of beer or cider
  • 17 cans of premix spirits
  • 3 Litres of boxed wine
  • 7 Litres of beer or cider in plastic bottles
  • Spirits are prohibited
  • No alcohol on re-entry (No runs back to the car/supermarket to restock)

What you really meant to ask, is can you get away with bringing more alcohol into the festival than allowed? Over the years, many people have taken in more than their allowance and gotten away with it. Others had to throw it away into the confiscation bins. Sad times.

If you don’t want your festival to get off to a bad start, I recommend sticking to the limit. It’s not even that easy to carry much more than 16 cans, when you have the rest of your stuff with you too. You can always buy more alcohol inside the festival. It’s more expensive, but it will be cold, and probably a lot nicer than the warm Strongbow Dark Fruits you carried in with you. I hate that stuff.

Dark Fruits Ice Cream
Disgusting. At least it’s not warm like the cans in your tent.

What about spirits?

If found, they will be disposed of. Attempting to bring them is at your own risk. There are various well documented methods you can find online for concealing alcohol. There are hundreds of different suggestions and instruction videos on Youtube. Taking excess alcohol into Boomtown is not necessarily illegal, but it does violate the terms and conditions of entry. If it gets poured away you will be sad, and you don’t want to be sad at Boomtown.

How strict are the gate security on Ketamine / NOS / MDMA / LSD / Weed…

Security at Boomtown is some of the strictest on the UK festival circuit when it comes to searches for controlled substances. I wish I didn’t have to say that, but you asked how strict it is, and that’s the truth. Police drug dogs, bag & pocket searches, pat downs, and even wallet and sock checking, are all in various operation at the main gates.

Thousands of people will try and smuggle drugs into the festival anyway. And many of them will succeed. But if found in your possession at the gates, this years policy is to have you immediately evicted from the site with no refund. If you are really unlucky you may also be handed over to the police. It’s a big risk you are going to have to take on arrival day.

It sounds harsh, but it’s a fair warning of a possible outcome. No matter what you do, how well prepared you think you are, or how little you have on you. There is always that chance that you just get unlucky. Another statistic on the confiscation and eviction figures. You need to know that it’s a risk. And I don’t want this to be the outcome for anyone’s weekend!

Future of the festival

Please also consider that the future of the festival depends on ensuring the safety of ticket holders, particularly those using drugs. After several deaths attributed to drug use at Boomtown over the years, the future of the festival is seriously in jeopardy if things don’t improve.

Boomtown want you to have fun. But with the police and local authorities giving them a hard time in recent years, Boomtown have to make some compromises in order to not be shut down. If everyone uses their drugs safely and discretely, Boomtown will be able to operate for many more amazing years. 

Stay Safe

If you insist on bringing drugs, please stay safe. Bring only a sensible personal amount, keep it discrete, and stay within your limits. Don’t try anything for the first time at Boomtown, it’s an intense environment if you’re inexperienced with a substance. The Loop provide free drug testing on site if you want to check what’s really in the baggie.

Blue Punisher MDMA
Blue Punisher pills contain over 300mg of MDMA, but it’s too much. Use the break line.

No one wants to hear the sad news of another tragic death in the aftermath of this years festival. Please look after each other, and yourselves as well.

Yada yada, so what is the best method for smuggling in my goodies then?

If you need to ask this question you are doing it wrong. Festival security teams are well aware of all the latest tricks being posted online. The best way is to use your imagination and think of your own unique hiding places.

Smuggling Drugs
You can’t look in there! That’s harassment.

No matter how well you hide something, if you get really heavily searched, there is always a chance it will be found. No amount of asking on the internet for the best hiding places will remove that risk entirely.

Please be careful out there. I don’t want to hear about anyone having their weekend ruined.

Disclaimer: At Boomtown Source we don’t know what “goodies” are. We assume they are some kind of 100% legal delicious snacks which are stolen by hungry security staff. We certainly don’t condone smuggling anything illegal into the festival.

How long is the queue going to be?

Queues this year are going to be pretty smooth in comparison to before. Bold words I know. But we now have 4 different pedestrian entrance gates, and an enormous amount of extra gate staff. Not to mention Wednesday arrivals to smooth things out over 2 days.

This is a big focus for Boomtown this year. Let’s hope they can deliver.

When should I arrive to beat the queues?

A question without a totally clear answer. This mostly relates to those arriving by car, as public transport users already know when they are arriving.  Overall the queues won’t be anything like last year, but there will of course be a fairly long wait at the busiest times.


Those arriving on Wednesday should find a fairly smooth operation, regardless of arrival time. Entry will be mostly via West Gate, with the option to walk over to North Gate as an overflow if it gets busy. You will be instructed by staff after parking up to use the North Gate if necessary. You will be parked in Purple.


After last years mayhem with queues on Thursday, a lot of people are planning to turn up very early. It’s kind of a flawed logic because the queues last year were actually mostly focused at the West Gate, which is primarily for public transport and drop off. Those arriving by car on Thursday this year will almost certainly be parking in the new White car parks, and entering at the newly located East Gate. The new East Gate will exclusively serve only the car parks.

If all this talk of gates and car parks is confusing you please check out my Boomtown Map.

car park queue:

I predict the queue to get into the car park will be at it’s worst from 7am to midday. Remember that the car park doesn’t officially open until 10am, but it may open as early as 8am if demand requires. If you arrive a long time before the car park opens, you will be directed to a temporary holding car park some distance away from the festival. Don’t get stuck in there.

M3 in 2016
The M3, Boomtown 2016
Gate queue:

Even once parked, those who arrive early will have to wait in line the longest as the gates don’t open until midday. If you don’t want to queue, the later you arrive in the day the better. The queue at East Gate will rapidly start to decrease in size after midday with this years much improved gate procedures.

If your motivation is to turn up as early as possible to get your ideal camping spot, or just to be the first one in, than by all means do so. But if it’s just to beat the queues, then it’s not the best strategy. When 10,000 cars all try to turn up at between 7-9am it will not be the “beat the queue” experience you imagine. Arriving by car in the late afternoon will almost certainly find a near queue-less East Gate.


Sail right on in with ease you champion.

Help! Where is yellow car park though? You haven’t mentioned that.

Car park tickets are yellow. There is no yellow car park. You will park as directed by Boomtown crew on arrival. Just sit back and relax and follow the long line of cars to your own space.

I didn’t buy a parking ticket, now they are sold out!

Don’t worry, you can pay on the door £40.

I’m under 18 and I have an adult ticket. What’s the deal

Everyone need’s ID to prove the name matches the name on the ticket. Challenge 25 is operating on the gates. You will need an ID that shows you are 18, or there is a very good chance you will be turned away with an adult ticket. Teen tickets are available, but you need to be accompanied by someone over the age of 30.

Under 18
Under 18s enjoying activities with their age 30+ guardian

My ID shows I’m over 18 but is out of date…

It’s probably OK. You would need to have a very anal crew member to pull you up on this. To be safe it’s probably better to bring something in date.

Can I take my booze to the arena?

What are you even talking about? This is not some shitty arena festival, like Vfest or some crap. Once you are inside Boomtown, that’s it. No lines, no ticket checks, no searches. It’s just the one entrance gate at the beginning to get through, before you can totally immerse yourself for the rest of the weekend. Take all your stuff wherever you want anywhere. Some campsites are right next to the stages.

How is mobile data?

As at any festival it’s very spotty. It work’s best in uptown areas, rather than the bottom of the hills. It will work the best when everyone is asleep not using it. Not that I’ve ever spent a morning trying to get to sleep at 6am, staring at my phone screen….

When are stage times released?

Officially, at the festival in the program. Unofficially, they might leak online first. I’ll keep you posted here on this blog with any developments.

I’m coming by myself. Who can I camp with?

Check out the Camp Solo Polo facebook group. 200 members strong this year, get involved! You can find out the location of Camp Solo this year on our map.

Where is the best place to camp?

You are in luck because I created an entire guide to every public camping area. Check out my best campsite guide.

Sunny Boomtown 2016

Hmm, I think that’s it for now. If you have suggestions of questions I could add, contact me on the usual social media channels: FacebookReddit