Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Small is beautiful, if Irish festivals are anything to go by

Some predictions do come true and the continued rise and rise of the smaller music festival is something which has been on the cards for quite some time. Over the last few years, On the Record’s annual census of Irish …

Fri, Jun 18, 2010, 10:25

   

Some predictions do come true and the continued rise and rise of the smaller music festival is something which has been on the cards for quite some time.

Over the last few years, On the Record’s annual census of Irish festivals and outdoor shows has pointed to a steady growth in the number of festivals which are thinking small rather than going extra-large.

This weekend’s debut outing for the Body & Soul festival at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath and next weekend’s Sea Sessions in Bundoran, Co Donegal are just two examples of the move away from the mass tribal gatherings.

Over the next few months, festivals like Glasgowbury (Draperstown, Co Derry), Castlepalooza (Tullamore, Co Offaly), Indiependence (Mitchelstown, Co Cork), Cork X Southwest (Skibbereen, Co Cork) and Temple House (Ballymote, Co Sligo) will be opening their gates and hoping people turn up to see everyone from Mercury Rev (Castlepalooza) to Bonnie “Prince” Billy (CorkXSW).

Even though most of the festivals are capped at a 5,000 capacity – you’re into licensing scenarios once you go over 5k – getting the folks into the field is still a considerable ask.

As every promoter knows only too well, 2010 has been the year when the notion of an instant sell-out has gone right out the window. People are waiting until the week of a show before getting their credit cards out. The amount of radio and print ads for shows which would previously not require such a push has been unmissable.

However, the growth in volume alone would indicate those behind the fun-sized fests believe Irish fans are prepared to take a punt on their events. It seems to be the case in these recessionary times that small rather than large is way of the walk.

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