Festival Fit

Fri, Jan 4, 2013, 00:00

Three festivals every week for a year. MARK GRAHAMgets a good vibe about the start of 2013

DON’T BE surprised if you’re knocking around Dublin tonight and you spot clusters of confused pastry chefs in the Temple Bar area. They’ll have thick French accents and have misunderstood what the Vibe for Philo is about. The Vibe is an annual event that celebrates the life and music of Phil Lynott, arguably the coolest Irishman who ever lived. Much better than a light pastry festival. Phil pretty much invented skinny jeans, and managed to pull them off (take that any way you want to) with flair and aplomb hitherto or subsequently unseen on this island nation.

Last year, the gig sold out and they were stuffed in The Button Factory like socks down Derek Smalls’s pants. There was more leather and denim on show than a Bonnie Tyler video shot in World of Sofas. It was loud, hot, sweaty and heaving; ideal for a Thin Lizzy night so. Expect more of the same tonight with rockers of every age, shape, size and state of excitement coming to pay their respects and enjoy the nightlife. Some of the seasoned Vagabonds of The Western World will have a gleam in their eye that belies their years and lends them a youthful enthusiasm reminiscent of a time when they shook their heads to the thump of Phil’s bass with such vigour that it would have given Mike Tyson whiplash.

What you’re going to get served up there tonight will be die-hard Lizzy fans from all over Ireland, peppered with more than a few foreign devotees who’ve made the pilgrimage, all rocking out to bands that are mainly and unashamedly Lizzy cover bands. Tough jeans to fill. They’ll be ready to rip it up in The Button Factory at 8pm tonight.

FIRST OFF THE MARK

First Fortnight is up and running for the first 14 days of this month in Dublin. This is an arts festival that sets out to promote mental health awareness through gigs, exhibitions, discussions and whatever you’re having yourself.

Similar to previous years the festival has teamed with Amnesty, Seechange, an Irish organisation which campaigns to reduce stigma and challenge discrimination surrounding mental health ( I now know who to call when you start calling me names) and Mental Health Reform.

I’ve waffled on before about festivals that have an ethos behind them, that are actually worth supporting – festivals where you’re not being bamboozled or ripped off, festivals that stand for something and have a positive impact on communities or interest groups – and how these should be the kind of festival that we hear more about, especially after the hyper consumerism we’ve all just emerged from.

Not only is the cause worthwhile, the exhibitions, shows and gigs are top-notch, the proceeds are being put to work and you get a decent bang for your buck. Could you ask for more? Le Galaxie and We Cut Corners in The Button Factory looks like being a musical highlight on the 12th. The play Solpadeine is My Boyfriend is surely worth checking out just for the title alone. See firstfortnight.iefor the lowdown.

Giving you a good heads-up for The Winter Muisic Festival in Sixmilebridge Co Clare later this month. If good acoustic music is your thing, the main evening concerts organised by the local

folk club will pluck your string. For those that like things a bit more raucous, you won’t be disappointed with what’s offered when the concert finishes and proceedings adjourn to pubs around the town where I can testify the entertainment is a bit more uninhibited.

The small village is a bit like it’s most famous son Davy Fitzgerald – not very big, but it can get very loud and lively when it wants to. Top- shelf national and international acts with a small shot of trad, it is County Clare.

Safe travels, don’t die.

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