Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Why are Irish music fans heading for festivals abroad?

The seasonal exodus is underway. This morning, a couple of thousand Irish music fans are waking up in Barcelona after the first night of the Primavera music festival. Between now and the end of the summer, the same scene will …

Fri, May 28, 2010, 10:29

   

The seasonal exodus is underway. This morning, a couple of thousand Irish music fans are waking up in Barcelona after the first night of the Primavera music festival.

Between now and the end of the summer, the same scene will be repeated at other European festivals from Glastonbury to EXIT, as Irish fans go abroad in their droves to get their festival kicks.

Of course, the number of Irish fans heading off out foreign is small enough compared to those who will attend Oxegen and the Electric Picnic. The 65,000 people who were in Punchestown last July have not decided en masse to do Benicassim instead this year.

However, there is no doubt that festival tourism does make a dent in the size of the audience for domestic events as punters go abroad rather than go to one of the many Irish fests on the calender. At a time when sold-out festivals and gigs are very much a thing of the past, any slippage in numbers is probably viewed by promoters as a cause for concern.

So why are Irish music fans heading abroad? After all, when you factor in travel and accomodation costs, there’s not much ittle savings to be made by going foreign. It’s not like shopping at Aldi or Lidl.

But the appeal of a foreign festival experience is about more than just cash. A festival like Primavera offers a bill of acts which you will never get in Ireland because the demand for those acts is just not there to justify the same booking policy.

If you want to see Pavement, Broken Social Scene, Liquid Liquid, Thee Oh Sees, Sleigh Bells, No Age, Moderat, Les Savy Fav, Diplo and Harlem on the same bill, you really have to pay your own homage to Catalonia.

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