On the record
JIM CARROLLon music
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 65 in 2007 to 109 last year. At the time of writing, the total for this summer is 103, 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 such as Co Mayo’s Westfest and Co Westmeath’s Green Village, for example), there is ongoing growth and consolidation in the small festival sector.
These festivals are noteworthy because they attract new promoters to an area which does not appear to be of interest to the bigger firms such as 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 lsuch as Castlepalooza, Glasgowbury, Knockanstockan and Indiependence are now established affairs. You can expect newcomers 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 such as the RDS and Thomond Park. Instead, you’ll find these 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?
Jesse Boykins III
One of the must-see acts on the Body Soul stage at next weekend’s Electric Picnic, Jesse Boykins III is a Chicago singer/producer making next-level r’n’b and hip-hop like no-one else. Expect much buzz around his upcoming Zulu Guru collaboration with MeLo-X for the Ninja Tune label.
While Tommi Koskinen and Hanna Toivonen had form in a couple of other Finnish acts, it’s their collaboration as Phantom which has been causing all the wows. Their free-to-download Scars EP features gorgeous, slo-mo, soulful indietronica and to find out why the likes of The xx are already fans.
Sam Howard is Halls, a London-based producer whose debut album Ark is set for release in October on No Pain In Pop. Going on the basis of album taster White Chalk, we can expect an album awash with broody, sombre, magnificently elegant soundscapes.
Cat PowerSun (Matador)
Chan Marshall’s ninth album is a joyous, sunny, occasionally melancholic feast of fine, strong, infectious songs.
The xxCoexist (XL)
Beautifully sparse, minimal symphonies, delicate ballads and nocturnal moods on the Londoners’ second album
AlunaGeorgeYour Drums, Your Love (Island)
More adventures in new-school sonic subtleties from Aluna Francis and George Reid. Debut album due 2013.
A fascinating, compelling and menacing rush of blood to the head provided by another act from Copenhagen’s fertile punk scene.
The RootsUndun (Def Jam)
Current album from Questlove and his band soundtracking our preperations for The Daily Ticket at the Electric Picnic next week.
For more see irishtimes.com/blogs/ ontherecord