Body and Soul: A one of a kind festival with a heart of gold (and green)

It's the 10th anniversary of the music festival that isn’t just that but rather more of a multimedia experience

Body&Soul 2015, Ballinlough Castle, Co West Meath

Body&Soul 2015, Ballinlough Castle, Co West Meath

 

What began as a constituent part of Electric Picnic is now a standalone music/culture event in its own right. Ten years on, Body & Soul remains one of a kind – a music festival that isn’t just that but rather more of a multimedia experience with a heart of gold (and green).

This year’s 10th anniversary music line-up is, perhaps, typical of the festival’s mindset in this area. Because of capacity (10,000) as much as demographic, the music is pitched at the discerning, knowledgeable fan, a person that ventures out more to smaller venues and shows than the overly commercial fare that 3Arena, Aviva and/or Croke Park present.

When we say that homegrown music is experiencing a luxurious, stretched-out moment, we mean that

We’re not saying there’s a typical Body & Soul participant, but we’ll hazard a guess they’re more into Kate Tempest than Nathan Carter. While the likes of Tempest, Modeselektor, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Princess Nokia, The Blaze, and iAMDDB (aka I am Diana De Brito) fill in the blanks for late-night clubbers and lovers of every kind of R&B/trap/urban jazz/hip-hop/electronic/pop fusion music, there is no way you should bypass the wealth of Irish acts that will be appearing across the weekend.

When we say that homegrown music is experiencing a luxurious, stretched-out moment, we mean that. You only have to casually glance through the selection of acts to know that you could catch an all-Irish line-up over the weekend and you’d still walk away knowing your time and money had been well spent.

Naming names can be invidious, totally unfair and downright sneaky, but what the hell: our tips include Soak, Just Mustard, Junior Brother, Meltybrains?, Laoise, Whenyoung, Murder Capital, Mango x Mathman, Pillow Queens, Roe, Talos, and Kitt Philippa. Oh, and Thumper.

Body & Soul isn’t merely a one-stop-shop music festival for the beats generation

And yet, as previously remarked upon, Body & Soul isn’t merely a one-stop-shop music festival for the beats generation. Over the past ten years, the programmers have been fully aware that culture comes in many forms, and as the festival has progressed those different strands have been fashioned, theremin-like, into an adaptable entity that is as much a reason to go as any other.

One of these strands is the festival’s Arts & Culture programme, which features a carefully curated sequence of events that includes theatre, conversation, spoken-word, comedy, and podcasts. Comedy shows include nominal headliners Lords of Strut, Alison Spittle, and Fred Cooke, but try also to catch Dreamgun Film Reads (a cinephile’s witty nightmare stuffed to bursting with live read-throughs of rewritten movie classics) and Waterford Whispers News Live (satire writ large, loud and extremely funny in the first festival performance of their live show, directed here by Après Match man, Barry Murphy).

Under the title of The Library of Progress, there is spoken word (Beats versus Rhymes, which sees Emmet Kirwan present/host an array of poets, including Natalya O’Flaherty, Stephen James Smith, Roxanna Nic Liam, Trudie Gorman), and podcasts (Taranoia, hosted by Tara Flynn; Sentimental Garbage, hosted by Caroline O’Donoghue).

Capping off the weekend is a career/life spanning interview, conducted by Hugh Linehan, with activist Ailbhe Smyth

The Irish Times gets its on-the-record festival vibe on via panel events and podcasts. The former includes The Breakfast Club (a discussion on climate change with the paper’s food and drink writers, Jess Murphy and Sorcha Hamilton, and cookbook author, Roz Purcell; hosted by Irish Times restaurant critic, Catherine Cleary). 

The latter includes Inside Politics (the live recorded panel includes feminist Unionist Sophie Long, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, journalist Simon Carswell; hosted by Inside Politics presenter Hugh Linehan) and The Women’s Podcast (the live recorded panel includes Tara Flynn, former Sydney Rose, Brianna Parkins, and spoken word artist, Felispeaks; hosted by Kathy Sheridan).

Capping off the weekend is a career/life spanning interview, conducted by Hugh Linehan, with activist Ailbhe Smyth, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people.

Is that it? You must be joking, dude. Food, wellbeing, family fun and games, talks, workshops and a sustainability strategy are in the mix, also. And, you know, perhaps a martini or two.

Body & Soul, June 21-23, Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath.

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