Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Your shout: unforgettable Irish festival memories

Christy Moore at Carnsore Point in 1978, The Pogues at Siamsa Cois Laoi in 1987, Boomtown Rats at Self Aid in 1986, Ray Charles at Tramore’s Fleadh Mor in 1993, Orbital at Homelands in 1999, Arcade Fire at the Electric …

Sat, Jul 2, 2011, 08:24

   

Christy Moore at Carnsore Point in 1978, The Pogues at Siamsa Cois Laoi in 1987, Boomtown Rats at Self Aid in 1986, Ray Charles at Tramore’s Fleadh Mor in 1993, Orbital at Homelands in 1999, Arcade Fire at the Electric Picnic in 2005: they’re just some of the 20 memorable festivals and peformances from down the years as detailed in this piece in today’s paper.

Keeping it to 20 was hard work because it could just as easily have been 60. As you can see from the piece, the highlights span all the decades from the 1970s right through to the more recent past. While we start with Rory Gallagher at the Macroom Mountain Dew festival , the piece could also have started with some mad gigs on Sherkin Island in 1975 and 1976 with Planxty, Clannad and De Dannan supplying the soundtrack or, as Philip Flynn notes below in one of the many comments the piece has already received, the Ballisodare, festival which ran from 1977 for six years.

One of the events I completely forgot about when I was compiling the piece – and one I remembered over the weekend – was the Occasion at the Castle festivals in Castlebar which ran in the town in 1980 and 1981, with Madness, The Pretenders, Ian Drury and the Blockheads, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Boomtown Rats, The Furey Brothers and Davey Arthur and others on the bill. Just as there’s competition between Oxegen, the Electric Picnic and others, the Castlebar bash considered itself a rival for Macroom and Lisdoonvarna until the plug was pulled due to “substanial financial losses”.

There are probably many more festivals from the 1980s and early 1990s that I’ve forgotten about which will get hopefully get mentioned in the comments below and jog readers’ memories. When it comes to more recent festivals, what about Gillian Welch with Dave Rawlings at the short-lived Midlands festival in 2007?

Keep ‘em coming. What are the festivals and performances which stand out in your mind from five decades of Irish outdoor festivals. And, more importantly, why?

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