Festival Fit


BELIEVE ME when I tell you that, although extremely enjoyable at the time, last weekend has shaved four years off my life expectancy.

Each of the weekend’s carnivals of commotion had something unique to offer. Liss Ard had the choons – an impressive line-up that had plenty for the serious muso to rub their chin at, but not so po-faced as to exclude the dazzling party on legs that is Chic. I smiled like a tool and threw shapes throughout their pristine and fabulously funky set.

There was a seasoned crowd here who knew how to enjoy themselves fully, indulging in considered chaos. A fair few managed to get wonderfully wasted without losing control. Experienced sessionistas.

The whole affair had a relaxed and safe atmosphere that lent itself well to old ravers who had brought the kids and dogs along for the weekend. The sideshows leaned heavily on gourmet grub, poetry and some Brechtian vibes. This felt like a festival in west Cork and that’s no bad thing.


Castlepalooza’s lineup offered a bit more edge and energy, attracting a younger, more exuberant and raucous crowd. Although some of the acts mightn’t enjoy the same critical acclaim and cache as those down in west Cork, they provided ample opportunity for buck-lepping, and there were some diamonds in the rough to be gathered here.

The big plus for the trip to Tullamore was mileage for moola. A weekend ticket with camping cost only €50 if you bought it early enough, and the cans of beer were €2.25 when bought with tokens. As one enthusiastic reveller exclaimed, “Sure you’re saving money getting locked at this thing!” A right shindig for Eddie Hobbs.

Scroobius Pip, band and guest vocalist were impressive. Has he given Dan the Sac?


A Turkish girl who’s in Ireland completing research for an MA in cultural studies arrived in Dublin on Thursday, bought a pair of wellies and ended up at Indiependence in Mitchelstown on Friday. “So what did you make of your first cultural experience in Ireland?” I asked her. “You are a bunch of animals,” she replied, smiling. I took that as a compliment. She’s obviously a very bright student and a fast learner – it took Páidí­ Ó Sé years to figure that out about the Kerry Football supporters.

What Indiependence lacked in headliners it made up for in head-the-balls. The mob needed a little mentalness to make merry in mud on a scale not seen since the trenches of the Somme. Walking across the site was like trying to negotiate a custard canal in a large pair of jelly jodhpurs and flippers. Turns out that a little loosener actually helped with plodding through the plop, just so long as you didn’t over-medicate. It’s all about balance, yo!

I saw one poor young fella throw a welly and not notice ’til his stocking mashed into the moist mulch. He tossed the sock and threw his arms around his comrades to retrace his step and reengage with his lost galosh. Complex maneuver in the dark, very late on the Sunday night of a three-day festival. They executed the procedure with NASA-like precision. The eejit had landed.

The Minutes, 2 Many DJs, Le Galaxie and Hang Sang (Ham Sandwich) all produced the goods, and Eleventy Four was wonderfully cute and quirky. I saw Monday’s sunrise sitting on the ground in the car park of an industrial estate in Mitchelstown; the glamour of this gets a bit grotesque at times. If anyone has a cure for trenchfoot and a method of extracting mud from the sinuses and frontal lobes, please give me a shout. I’m still 50 shades of shook.

Safe travels, don’t die.

* ayearoffestivalsinireland. com

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