IT’S back, and it’s bigger than ever – one of Hampshire’s most unique festivals kicks off today.

With a line up bursting with ‘boombastic’ international stars and coveted local acts, BoomTown Fair is ready to welcome 38,000 revellers for four days of music, arts, theatre, comedy, art, and Arcadia.

This year sees Shaggy, NoFX, The Cat Empire, and Jimmy Cliff headlining the stages as well as Lady Saw, Raggasonic, Playing for Change, Boddika and Chas n Dave.

They will be joined by 400 other artists including Ms Dynamite, Friend Within, Eats Everything and Kry Wolf.

The family-friendly festival takes place at Matterley Estate, near Winchester, and runs until Sunday, August 10, with ska and party bands from across the globe.

Hampshire Chronicle:

The site is made up of nine distinct ‘districts’, each with its own theme from folk, reggae, and country and western, to cabaret, gypsy and dub.

It revolves around the Heart of the City, which as the name suggests, sits in the middle of the notoriously outrageous fair, before branching out into ‘suburbia’.

Centrally revellers can find OldTown (Pirates, Balkan & Gypsy), TrenchTown (Reggae and Dub), Mayfair Avenue (Electro Swing and Glamour), Wild West (Bluegrass and Cowboys) Whistlers Green (Folk and World Music), and not forgetting the kids, KidzTown, with PG-rated musicians, workshops and interactive games.

Venture to The Outskirts to find Barrio Loco (Breaks and Bass) DownTown District (Drum & Bass and Jungle) and ChinaTown (Ska and Punk).

Aside from the music there’s cabaret, comedy, spoken word, a range of stages, an anarchist theatre, lots of site art and many areas to explore with plenty of catering options, all the normal facilities you’d expect at a festival and a massive emphasis on eco-friendly initiatives.

Attendees are encouraged to go all-out with fancy dress, the fancier the better!

Despite increasing its capacity by 20 per cent tickets have sold out for the sixth consecutive year.

For the full line up and city guide go to