Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The rise of the festival looks to be continuing unabated

Since 2007, the number of Irish festivals and outdoor music shows has grown year-on-year. We know this because the On the Record blog carries out an annual crowdsourced census to tally the summer’s big music events. This number jumped from …

Fri, Aug 24, 2012, 09:14

   

Since 2007, the number of Irish festivals and outdoor music shows has grown year-on-year. We know this because the On the Record blog carries out an annual crowdsourced census to tally the summer’s big music events.

This number jumped from 65 in 2007 to 109 last year. At the time of writing, the total for this summer is 104, a small dip on last year’s figure.

While it does not claim to be definitive, the census does give a good snapshot of the state of the festival nation and data-mining does help to produce some interesting analysis and trends.

Despite the fact that some of last year’s new entries are not present this summer (events like Co Mayo’s Westfest and Co Westmeath’s Green Village, for example), there is ongoing growth and consolidation in the small festival sector.


The calm before the storm: scenes from last year’s Electric Picnic before the gates opened

These festivals are noteworthy because they attract new promoters as this is an area which does not appear to be of interest to the bigger firms like MCD and Aiken Promotions. Electric Picnic co-promoters POD, however, have a role in three of the smaller fests, namely Forbidden Fruit, Body & Soul and the rejuvenated Liss Ard festival.

It’s also striking how festivals who were new kids on the block back in 2007 like Castlepalooza, Glasgowbury, Knockanstockan and Indiependence are now established affairs. You can expect newcomers like Drop Everything and Body & Soul to become part of the furniture in years to come.

A continuing trend this year is the lack of heritage acts and big stars playing one-off shows in venues like the RDS and Thomond Park. Instead, you’ll find thse acts in big sheds like Dublin’s O2.

Looking ahead to 2013, it will be interesting to see what the return of Oxegen will mean for overall attendances. Maybe the new venue for that event could be the Phoenix Park?