Bad weather, mess and muck 'but the vibe was great'


MUSIC FESTIVAL:WHILE MOST people took shelter from the lashing rain over the weekend, festival fans in Co Carlow were partying outdoors into the early hours of the morning. Despite the flooding and severe weather warnings issued by Met Éireann, more than 500 revellers attended the Solas festival at Huntington Castle in the Co Carlow village of Clonegal.

Signposted as "the Switzerland of Ireland", the village is set in a picturesque valley between the Blackstairs and Wicklow mountains. That said, there could never be as much muck in Switzerland as in this village by the River Derry.

While the bad weather held off early on Saturday, revellers were not so lucky in the evening. Shortly after 10pm, the rain returned. The conditions did not dampen the atmosphere, though, and despite the mudbaths the music continued until 4am.

The rain, however, did deter many people from camping. Áine Corcoran from Dublin said: "We brought a tent but the rain was pelting down so we decided to sleep in the car."

The festival was headlined by Kila and the Republic of Loose. Other acts included God is an Astronaut, Autamata, Andy McKee, White Noise and Gavin Glass and the Holy Shakers. Other highlights included two double-decker buses serving hot food, a nice break from the rain.

The numbers were low, with the bad weather keeping many away. The lead singer of The Backdoors joked with the 40 fans present at the main stage that: "It must have been hard to get to the front row."

One of the event organisers, Kelvin Sheridan, from Wicklow, said: "We hoped there would have been a few more people but the weather wasn't on our side." He said they had sold 550 tickets by Saturday, but had hoped to sell in the region of 2,000.

Gavin Glass of Gavin Glass and the Holy Shakers said the festival was still good, despite the low numbers and muck, "but it has a good way to go in terms of organisation".

Men appeared to outnumber women, to the delight of the female revellers.

Tickets for the event were €120-€150 for the weekend, which included camping, or €75-€80 for a day ticket. Gardaí reported no complaints, aside from the rain.

Conor O'Sullivan, from Dublin, said: "The grounds were very messy and the weather was poor but the vibe was great."