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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 21, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend … get Body and Souled

    Laurence Mackin

    Body and Soul: The weather might be refusing to play ball, but that won’t dampen the earthy spirits at this year’s Body and Soul festival. In 2011, the Ballinlough Castle fandango in Co Meath went down a storm and had most people calling it the best of last year’s fests. This year, the line-up is pretty delectable too. Choose from M83, Spiritualized, Villagers, St Vincent, Little Dragon, Gold Panda, John Talabot, Hollie Cook, Martin Hayes and many, many more. Take part in a masquerade ball (we’ll be the ones dressed as Mexican wrestlers). Plunge into a hot tub. Get lost in the forest. Or try and sneak into Ballinlough Castle itself to see how the other half lives.

    One cracking addition is the Wonderlust stages, curated by the good people behind the Trailblaze inspirational spoken-word events. They’ll be spinning stories and exchanging nuggets of wonder, with events to include Come Rhyme with Me, an Illuminati salon, Scientific Discovery, Cool Collectives, Chats and Lols, Cups of Tea, Fun and Games, Bingo, Bedtime Stories and a bespoke Choir Service.

    Tickets are still available for this festival, and I’ll be there for the duration, live blogging reviews and news on this blog, and bossing the @thetwicket twitter account to boot. So keep an eye on here, or send us a message via @laurencemackin if you are at Body and Soul and see anything that catches your eye or indeed your heart.

    Head west: Taking a more mainstream route this weekend is the Westport Festival in Co Mayo. Sure, the acts might not be as cutting edge as those to be found bothering the crowds at the likes of Body and Soul and Forbidden Fruit, but this festival has itself geared towards those who, rather than spending the night dancing in a forest, are more than happy to head to the comfort of Westport’s many hostelries and hotel rooms. We’re slightly jealous already, and come a rainy Saturday evening, there’s a high chance we’ll be practically drooling at the thoughts of a hot whiskey and a warm leaba. Mind you, Westport’s lineup is far from underweight. Among those taking to the stage are Ray Davies, Jools Holland, The Undertones, The Waterboys, The Chieftains, The Imelda May, The Lloyd Cole, The Duke Special, The Macy Gray and a whole bag more.

    Midsummer morsels: It’s that time of year when the festivals and events are coming thick and fast, and Cork is no exception. The Midsummer Festival gets up and running today, and with Tom Creed at the helm, the line-up is particularly intriguing. Chief among the theatrical offerings is Ciudades Paralelas, a series of theatrical shows that takes the audience into odd venues, from the Barry’s Tea factory, and hotel rooms that need cleaning, to train stations and hushed libraries. Peter Crawley has more on this particular strand in tomorrow’s paper.

    Ciudades Paralelas’s hotel library room service is excellent

    Also on the cards is Record, Dylan Tighe’s latest project. The man behind No Worst There Is None is exploring depression and the concept of “mental illness” in an ambitious project that starts with the release of his debut album and continues with an “alternative opera”, which draws on medical records, autobiography, fiction and 16mm film.

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    Hacked off: If you are looking for something of a more empirical nature, then make your way towards the capital city and get ready to pull it apart. Hack the City, led by the Science Gallery, is asking artists, designers, scientists and the public to retake the city and figure out how our public spaces and places can be improved. There’s an exhibition in the gallery itself and all sorts of workshops and events, from 3D graffiti workshops and a project involving robot drones, to an event that seeks to reinvent how we think about and design maps. Click here for more. Nobel prizes and white coats are not mandatory.

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