Four years ago yesterday, The Mighty Boosh teamed up with Mean Fiddler’s Vince Power to create Booshfest – a whole day of music, comedy, costumes and more at Hop Farm in Kent.
In our recurring Forgotten Favourites strand, Velveteers Mog & Paulyne reminisce about this memorable moment from the peak of Booshmania.
It became a significant event for thousands of fans. Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt picked up the phone to their extensive and impressive line-up of talented mates, and managed to bag Gary Numan, Har Mar Superstar and of course a bit of Jazz from Polar Bear (who were a perfect kick-start to the day). Then there was The Charlatans, Robots in Disguise, The Kills, Peaches, plus a DJ set from Jarvis Cocker!
Along with the music, a festival organised by comedians wouldn’t be complete without some comedy, and this was catered to by the popular and over-populated Velvet Onion tent – sadly before TVO itself took the name and ran with it. Featuring on this bill were TVO favourites Matt Berry, Matthew Holness, Arnab Chanda and Paul Foot, amongst others.
The merchandise and food stands even stuck with the theme; selling ‘Loud Hats’, ponchos, soup, pie & mash and even Eels! It seemed no rock had been left unturned and it certainly gave off the feeling of stepping into a literal Boosh world. We’re sure if they could have used Euros as currency they would have!
As well as planning the day, we also got to see the Boosh simultaneously promote it all over TV, radio and print. They appeared on the front cover of NME (one of many covers in this period), as well as a slot on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, which also teased at their then forthcoming live tour, Future Sailors.
With The Boosh taking an unexpected turn in their careers with this event, the press were not always going to be complementary. Of course, the event sparked reviews stating “Punters failed to get a handle on the odd line-up” and “The atmosphere was lacking from the off.” We’re not sure which festival they were at, but from what we saw there wasn’t a fan on Hop Farm that wasn’t glowing with the Boosh spirit!
The Velvet Onion may have only existed as a comedy tent back at the time of Booshfest, but Velveteers were there in mind, body and spirit. Indeed, Mog ‘s over-excited review of the day made it into Cheekbone, the Boosh fanzine of the day. Much to her embarrassment we’ve dusted it off in celebration of that glorious day four years ago.
The sun shone and the crazies came en masse to worship at the altar of The Boosh. Even the queue to get into the site had a Boosh vibe; it was a circle, with no beginning or end. We traipsed around the circle twice, and somehow got in.
Bang. The scale of everything overwhelmed us. Beautiful Boosh flags. Nabootiques. Booshy people everywhere. The Boosh are MASSIVE! When did that happen? The realisation makes us tearful.
First stop: Booze.
Next stop: Eels pants
These two things are connected.
The Robots. Dee and Sue’s infectious energy gets the party started, a satsuma fight in pants homage next to the Bouncy Castle after the Robots’ set. The most gloriously ridiculous bunch of nutters I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. The boys would have been proud of us – it was messy and full of love/bummings.
The afternoon passed in a haze of colour, joy, silliness and professional sunburning. We met Jarvis, we OD’d on Haribo, we Vince-danced to ‘Cars’, we ran about like big kids, we didn’t get into the comedy tent but didn’t care because everything was so much fun anyway. Evening sunshine Charlatans took me back to my student days and we danced like 90s indie-kids.
Har Mar Superstar, and we start working our way forwards. Big fat hairy gut in our faces. He’s hysterical. The perfect link between music and comedy in preparation for the Big One. Peaches scares the parents next to us who shield their kids’ ears and minds from her naughtiness. We pogo and sing along to ruffle feathers.
It’s getting close. Our hearts start pumping, adrenaline flowing. We push forwards a few more feet. Right in the thick of it. We pray to the Bladder God to make ours strong. Cos we aint moving.
Twilight on a beautiful day. And then The Moon appears. Our Moon not the everyday one. The excitement is palpable. I’m smiling in every cell of my body and it’s not even started. The Moon guides us through a countdown of wrong – hilarious and perfect. Deep breaths….then Vince in a sparkly new mirrorball suit (we pulled the sequins off the old one at Cargo. Sorry, Noel) on a silver pirate ship, Howard in a rubber dingy, Old Gregg, The Hitcher, Julian’s astonishing guitar skills, Nanas, Crimps, Giant eels, Moon Jay-Z, Gilbert & George pastiche projections. Fireworks and glitter. It’s like all the best Christmas parties I’ve ever been to brought together in one place. We spend the next hour gawping open-mouthed in wonder. Our senses hurt, there’s so much to take in. The richness of everything makes my brain gag – I could never do it justice in writing.
Then it’s over.
They go too suddenly and too soon.