Body and Soul festival celebrates fifth year with formidable line-up

Weekend tickets now sold out but some tickets still left for Sunday

 Gary Numan: one of the headline acts appearing on the summer solstice.  Photograph:   Simone Joyner/Getty Images

Gary Numan: one of the headline acts appearing on the summer solstice. Photograph: Simone Joyner/Getty Images



The Body and Soul festival in Co Meath this weekend celebrates five years in existence with a masquerade ball, a summer solstice party and a formidable musical line-up.

The festival, in the grounds and walled gardens of the 17th-century Ballinlough Castle, has increased its capacity by 2,000 to 8,500. “We didn’t know if we would get over year one; we didn’t know if we would survive year three,” says Avril Stanley, the festival’s founder. “We’ve grown slowly and organically with integrity and without comprising our values. For us, it’s a big celebration on every level.

“This year we have meticulously gone through every inch here and made what I think is the most outstanding festival site on the planet,” Ms Stanley adds. “We have gone through every area, how it looks, how it feels, every stage, every art installation; each area has a different sensation.”

For the first time, the festival will be opening its main stage tomorrow for Nicolas Jaar’s electro act Darkside.

On Saturday, the celebrations coincide with the summer solstice. There’s also a wild card-themed masquerade ball, along with headline slots from Jon Hopkins, Goldfrapp, Gary Numan, John Grant and Buraka Som Sistema.

Along with its two main stages, the festival has nine other stages scattered in its gardens and forest, including a Decadent Dining tent, a Soul Kids area and a Good Time comedy lounge.

Recycle artist Shrine is “painting everything he can get his hands on” and is building an installation around the Pagoda stage. Other features include Steve McDevitt’s Garden of Disco light installation and Sheila Rodgers’s Hanging Gardens.

Weekend tickets are now sold out but there are some tickets left for Sunday. Patrons are allowed to bring alcohol from the camp sites into the main festival area, but glass bottles are not permitted on site.The weather is forecast to be fine, with no rain and temperatures of 18 to 20 degrees. Festival buses will leave from Custom House Quay in Dublin and the organisers are asking drivers to follow their directions carefully, as the Kells road races are also on this weekend.

“There’s this real sense of vibrancy down here; it’s electric, the place looks amazing, everyone is smiling,” Stanley says. “It’s a moment you wait for your whole life when you run a festival. The sun is on our side; all we’re waiting for is for the right people to show up, dance, party and participate. We’re having the times of our lives.”

Full transport advice and information is available on The Irish Times will be reporting from the event; see irishtimes. com/culture for stage times, daily reviews and news.

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