EP 2017: There’s no place like dome
A world first for EP: half a giant golf ball of sound
The Red Bull Soundome before the EP masses descended. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
The Red Bull Sound Dome rewards its pilgrims. You reach it by passing the Salty Dog stage, then Other Voices, to arrive at a gleaming geodesic dome in the woods. “What are we queuing for?” asks someone who has been drawn to spend time in half a giant golf ball.
The answer is a total surround sound experience, created by Kilkenny’s Tom Watts. His prototype was made in his barn, a 16-speaker dome that wraps you in music like a child in the womb. The new one has 46 speakers, and five subwoofers under its wooden flooring: you feel the music as you hear it. In the epicentre of the dome three friends compared notes: “If every gig was like this it would be amazing,” says Killian O’Shea, from Limerick. “It’s way more immersive than a club – you can pick out dynamic details,” approves Laura Buckley, from Cork. “I feel like you need more bass,” suggests Ava Kratzinger, from Pennsylvania.
A second later, the DJ obliges, and the crowd erupted in 360 degrees. Outside, its inventor took in the effect. “There has been a constant stream of people coming in.” It has spun his ambitions on to bigger things. “We’re gonna need a bigger dome.”