A selection box of sessions
There’s so much on this weekend, in all corners of the country, you might get FOMO, warns Mark Graham
‘Are there actually three festivals happening in Ireland every week?” A common response whenever I try to explain the obsessive festival behaviour I’ve been prone to. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t totally sure of the answer until recently. We’ve been averaging about 10 decent festivals a week for the last two months, but the impending bank holiday weekend sees this average spike like odds on Alex Ferguson being asked to be godfather to Roy Keane’s next Labrador pup (wonderfully loyal dog, the Labrador). It’d be easier to have quiet pint at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival than list every festival that’s happening in the country this weekend, but I’m going to have a stab at rattling off some possible highlights.
There are two festivals in particular that have caught my eye this weekend; I’m finding them more difficult to separate than an amorous Argentine bishop and his housekeeper. Fading Light in Caherdaniel, Co Kerry, is going to be a wonderful mix of music, arts and outdoor pursuits in achingly picturesque surroundings. Some of the crew from Homebeat have a hand in this one, and they’re well practiced at bringing tasty live gigs to people’s parlours. After a spot of surfing, running technique instruction or yoga on the beach, there’ll be a backdrop of good sounds and spoken word as you nestle up to a creamy pint of porter. Keep sketch for Mark Geary and Ghosts.
It sounds like a special weekend, but so does Hunters Moon in Leitrim. The first outing of Phase One Electronic Arts Festival in Carrick-on-Shannon earlier this year was hugely impressive, partially because it exposed the area as something of a hotbed of cutting-edge creativity. The ante is being upped big-time at Hunters Moon where the weird and wonderful are being exposed in all their glory. Sound, film, visual art and electronic rag-and-bone freakery will be wheeled out to expand minds, shake eardrums and blow retinas. A performance by Cat Piss Brain Rot is something not a lot of festivals can boast.
Every town in the country has some cauldron of Halloween broth on the boil, from community events like Frightfest in Tramore, Co Waterford, to the Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin, but if it’s something really freaky that you’re after, Hunters Moon is going to be the kookiest client of all.
The celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, kicks off a week early in Croke Park this Sunday. Music, dance, grub, fireworks, spirituality and heaped helpings of multiculturalism will be served up all day. Interestingly, there’s another Diwali event out in Citywest the following Sunday; hitting up both will ensure that Lakshmi bestows her blessings upon you.
No Experience Necessary is the hook that Wexford Festival Opera has been using to reel in new punters – and it’s working. I’ve never been to the opera before and the last time I wore a dickie-bow was when the girl I brought to my debs got off with a fella who crashed the gig. I’m apprehensive, but willing to suffer auto-asphyxiation-induced flashbacks to sample a toot of a magic flute.
If you’d like to dip into something a little more tried and tested, Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford and Belfast Festival at Queen’s build to a crescendo this weekend. Guinness Cork Jazz Festival will always have a couple of gems, or you could sink your teeth into Savour Kilkenny, get lost in lolz at the Bulmers Pear Comedy Festival in Galway (added bonus of a spooky Macnas parade on Sunday evening) or embrace the beats at Sligo Live.
If I hear anybody say there’s nothing to do ever again, I’m gaffa-taping them to the front of Wanderly Wagon and doing a lap of the country.
Safe travels, don’t die.