Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Ireland, festival republic: big rise in number of summer shows

For the last couple of years, the On the Record blog has carried out an annual census to tally the festivals and one-off outdoor music shows which occur over the course of the Irish summer. At the time of writing, …

Fri, Aug 12, 2011, 10:00

   

For the last couple of years, the On the Record blog has carried out an annual census to tally the festivals and one-off outdoor music shows which occur over the course of the Irish summer.

At the time of writing, the census total stands at 109, a significant 45 per cent increase on last year’s final figure of 75.

What’s immediately noticable is the ongoing growth in the small festival sector, something which was apparent in the 2009 and 2010 round-ups.

There may have been less and less heritage acts and big stars playing one-off shows at venues like the RDS and Malahide Castle this year, but there was a big increase in small festivals attracting crowds of 5,000 and under.

You’ve even now got an upper tier of established small festivals in the shape of Castlepalooza, Indiependence, Sea Sessions, Knockanstockan, Life, Glasgowbury, Vantastival, Temple House and Body & Soul.

One trend to watch for in 2012 will be more urban festivals on the back of this year’s well-attended Forbidden Fruit at Dublin’s IMMA and the continuing success of Belsonic in Belfast.

It will be interesting to see how the bigger promoters react to changes in the marketplace and the growing popularity of smaller, cheaper events.

For example, this year’s Oxegen attendance was noticably down on previous years despite the blockbuster array of acts. Radical changes are required and many will watch closely to see what promoters MCD do with what was once a valuable cash-cow.

Promoters will point out that many bigger acts were simply not touring in 2011 but it should also be remembered that there are now few guaranteed sell-outs like Take That and Kings of Leon. The game is changing again.

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