Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The big count: OTR’s outdoor music shows and festivals’ census for 2011

As we’ve done in previous years (see 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010), it’s time for OTR’s crowdsourced census to try to establish the number of festivals and outdoor shows which occured in Ireland this summer. Last year, the number came …

Tue, Aug 9, 2011, 09:47


As we’ve done in previous years (see 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010), it’s time for OTR’s crowdsourced census to try to establish the number of festivals and outdoor shows which occured in Ireland this summer.

Last year, the number came in at 75, which is about average for this census. What we’ve seen this summer, though, is a continuing reduction in the standalone big artist show. In years gone by, you had tons more gigs at the RDS, Lansdowne Road, Cork Park, Punchestown, Marlay Park, Malahide Castle and other venues. This year, there was Take That, Neil Diamond (we’ll never forget those radio ads, Neil), The Script, Bon Jovi and Prince at those Dublin parks and that was that. Everyone else took shelter (and a fee) under a festival umbrella rather than trying to go it alone.

But that doesn’t mean a huge dip in the overall tally because there has been a corresponding growth spurt in the number of smaller festivals. Over the course of this census, we’ve seen an increased profile for the likes of Castlepalooza and Indiepedence and they’re now joined in the “established” category by events like Sea Sessions (the only survivor of the music-and-surf fests following the cancellation of Cold Pro and the non-appearance again of Cois Fharraige, despite plans for it to move to a new site in Co Wexford), Knockanstockan, Life, Glasgowbury, Vantastival, Temple House and Body & Soul. We can confidently predict a couple of more additions to the “city festival” list in 2012 following the successful debut of Forbidden Fruit. Small is the new large and that’s a trend which will be apparent again in 2012.

Please feel free to list any festivals I’ve overlooked in the comments field below and I’ll update the list as they arrive. Please note: (1) only events which run over the summer (ie from May Bank Holiday weekend to September) are counted, (2) “outdoor shows” cover gigs in tents, (3) festivals include multi-day or multi-act events in conventional venues and (4) we count Live at the Marquee and @ the Park as one event.

Current total at the time of writing is 109.

Oxegen (Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare)
Electric Picnic (Stradbally, Co Laois)
Castlepalooza (Tullamore, Co Offaly)
Indiependence (Mitchelstown, Co Cork)
Sea Sessions (Bundoran, Co Donegal)
Forbidden Fruit (Dublin)
Body & Soul (Ballinlough Castle, Co Meath)
Knockanstockan (Blessington, Co Wicklow)
Glasgowbury (Moneyneany, Co Derry)
Prince (Malahide Castle, Dublin)
Take That (Croke Park, Dublin)
Life (Belvedere House, Co Westmeath)
Neil Diamond (Aviva Stadium, Dublin)
The Script (Aviva Stadium, Dublin)
Bon Jovi (RDS, Dublin)
Live at the Marquee (Cork)
@ the Park (Dublin)
Vantastival (Dunany, Co Louth)
CorkXSW (Skibereen, Co Cork)
Vital (Bangor, Co Down)
JLS (Thomond Park, Limerick)
Planetlove (Shane’s Castle, Co Antrim)
Live at the Beach (Portrush, Co Antrim)
Temple House Festival (Ballymote, Co Sligo)
Summerfest (Killarney, Co Kerry)
Dublin City Soul Festival (Dublin)
Northside Music Festival (Dublin)
Belsonic Festival (Belfast)
Le Cheile (Oldcastle, Co Meath)
Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival (Ballyshannon, Co Donegal)
Bell X1 (Big Top at the Galway Arts Festival)
De La Soul (Big Top at the Galway Arts Festival)
Blondie (Big Top at the Galway Arts Festival)
Afrocubism (Big Top at the Galway Arts Festival)
Sibin Festival (Slane, Co Meath)
Midsummer Festival (Cork)
Earagail Arts Festival (Co Donegal)
Flatlake Festival (Clones, Co Monaghan)
Bulmers Live (Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin)
Spraoi (Waterford)
Waterford Music Festival (Waterford)
Festival of the Fires (Co Westmeath)
Junction Festival (Clonmel, Co Tipperary)
Bump (Clonlara, Co Clare)
Open House Festival (Belfast)
Arthur’s Day (Dublin)
Revive (Thurles, Co Tipperary)
The Green Village (Castletown Geoghegan, Co Westmeath)
Spirit of Folk (Dunderry Park, Co Meath)
The Reich Effect (Cork)
Kinsale Arts Week (Co Cork)
Forfey Festival (Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh)
Willowstone Festival (Killyleagh, Co Down)
Greystones Americana & Roots Weekend (Greystones, Co Wicklow)
No Place Like Dome (Temple House, Co Sligo)
Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (Belfast)
World Fleadh (Castlebar)
Sligo Jazz (Sligo)
Mystik (Blessington, Co Wicklow)
Bandon Music Festival (Co Cork)
Clonakilty Waterfront Festival (Co Cork)
Feile An Phobail (Belfast)
Youth Rocks Arts Festival (Portlaoise, Co Laois)
Kings Of Concrete (Wood Quay, Dublin)
Jigs & Rigs (Rathlin Island, Co Antrim)
Decades Festival (Cork)
Sunflowerfest (Co Down)
Buncrana Music & Arts (Co Donegal)
Bray Summerfest (Bray, Co Wicklow)
Celtic Rock Festival (Killarney, Co Kerry)


Stendhal Festival (Co Derry)
Heineken West Fest (Limerick)
The Marquee at Drumlish
Westfest (Mayo)
Pitch Party 2011 (Ballinhassig GAA Club)
Ill Divo (Kilruddery House Gardens, Co Wicklow)
Colm Wilkison (Kilruddery House Gardens, Co Wicklow)
Blue Breeze Music Festival (Co Offaly)
Shamrock (Cavan) CANCELLED
Kings Of Leon (Slane – yeah, I know, how did I forget that one?)
Live at the Milk Market (Limerick – Coronas, Villagers)
Fairy Hill Festival (Galway)
Bryan Ferry (Kilruddery House Gardens, Co Wicklow)
Escala (Kilruddery House Gardens, Co Wicklow)
Navan Live (Co Meath)
Ballyanne Fest (New Ross, Co Wexford)
Rockin’ Road (Drumcondra, Dublin)
Ballina Music Festival (Co Mayo)
Healyfest (Ballycastle, Co. Mayo)
Cold Pro (Co Clare) CANCELLED
Lark In the Park (Co Down) CANCELLED
Celtronic (Derry)
Dublin Fringe Festival
Castle Variations (Co Kilkenny)
Little Big Weekend (Cork)
iPicnic Family Fun Day (Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare)
(Oranmore Celtic Festival (Galway)
Homegrown Music Festival (Killarney, Co Kerry)
Carrickmacross Summer Festival (Co Monaghan)
KIlkenny Rhythm & Roots Festival
Kilkenny Arts Festival
Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival (Co Waterford)
Castlebar Blues Festival (Co Mayo)
Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Festival (Cobh, Co Cork)
Galway West End Music Festival (Galway)
Fleadh Cheoil (Cavan)
Ukulele Hooley by the Sea ’11 (Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin)
Helium (Ballymahon, Co. Longford)
NorthSouth (Dundalk Co Louth) CANCELLED
Ballyfermot Rocks (Dublin)
Secret Garden Festival (Martinstown House, Co Kildare)
Johnny Kennan Banjo Festival (Longford)
Ballyshannon Folk festival (Co Donegal)