Everything you need to know about Knockanstockan

The Wicklow festival is aiming high ahead of its year off, and there’s a host of other great shows on around the country this weekend

KnockStock and five smoking boyos: Meltybrains? Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

KnockStock and five smoking boyos: Meltybrains? Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times


What’s the deal?
For more than a decade, Knockanstockan has been organising something strange and lovely on a farm near Blessington Lakes. Typically, the three-day festival has an emphasis on unsigned acts, but this year is slightly different.

The festival is taking a break next year, to give the land a rest and recovery, so before the temporary break in proceedings, the organisers have upped the line-up ante.

Those among you crying out for a more homegrown, authentic festival experience might just find what you’re looking for in Wicklow. Sponsorship is light, and you can still BYOB, on campsites and at the various stages; two of the seven stages are called the Burrow stage and the Faerie Field stage (which is of course in its own faerie field); there are more than 150 acts to choose from, with little or no hierarchy among the acts; and the capacity sits at a comfortable 4,500.

Who’s playing, and what’s all this about secret guests?
Already on the list are Overhead, The Albatross, August Wells, Meltybrains?, Fangclub, Lisa O’Neill, The Altered Hours and John Cummins, with five secret guest acts across the three days, which will only be announced when they walk on stage. We’re not at liberty to reveal who they are, but, hint hint, we can tell you that one of the acts is absolutely smokin’. (Rumours of Daft Punk being seen on a bus to Wicklow are somewhat wide of the mark.)

What time are they all on at?
Why click here, my good person.

Are tickets still available?
So far, yes. Head to knockanstockan.ie for details.

Hang on, this smells almost as rural as Marlay Park. How do I get there? Oh stop your whingeing. Festival Express Buses are available from Dublin city at Victoria Quay (Guinness Gates) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with return buses on each night at 2am and regularly on Monday morning. Times, prices and tickets are available here. (Scroll down a bit.)

A shuttle bus service will also operate to and from Blessington (Supervalu Car Park) regularly throughout the weekend until 1am approximately at a cost of €2 per trip.

I hate Wicklow. What else is there to do this weekend?
Sigh. Here you go then.


Richard Hawley
Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 6pm €40 ticketmaster.ie
A repository of calm for the city dweller, the Iveagh Gardens this week hosts Sheffield songwriter Richard Hawley, who knows how to strike the right notes and moods with his especially atmospheric music. Special guest is former Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson, whose resilience – and guitar style – knows no bounds.

Inside Moves
T13, Belfast 9pm £12/£10/£8 facebook.com/InsideMoves Belfast
Moodymann was so impressed by Dan Shake’s grooves that he made the London producer the first non-Detroiter signed to his Mahogani label. It’s easy to see what took Moodymann’s fancy: Shake’s tracks and edits are deep, soulful and masterful. Shake has also set up his own label and had a star turn at Boiler Room earlier this year. Tonight’s show marks his first appearance in Belfast, and there’s support from the residents.

Bastardo Electrico
Cyprus Avenue Cork 11pm €15 facebook.com/bastardoelectricorecordings
DJ Bone was last by the Lee four years ago for Bastardo Electrico’s big night out to mark a decade of techno and electro. The Detroit DJ/producer is back to show more of the raw, tough and uncompromising sound that has made him one of underground techno’s brighest stars. Be it what he does with the Subject Detroit label or the visceral way in which he rocks a room with those turntables, there really is no show like a Bone show.

Mary McPartlan
DC Music Club, Camden Row, Dublin 9pm €17/€15 musiclee.ie Also Sat, Leitrim; Mon, Galway
Ever the torch bearer for the folk tradition, Leitrim singer and Fulbright Scholar Mary McPartlan celebrates the rich legacy of Kentucky song collector Jean Ritchie through her latest album, From Mountain to Mountain. Tonight she embarks on a brief tour with her full band, including the inimitable Garry Ó Briain, Jimmy Higgins and Neil O’Loghlen.

Danny Diamond
Dublin Unitarian Church, St Stephen’s Green 8pm €15 tunesinthechurch.com
This fiddle player inhabits his instrument with a particular vitality and verve that’s all his own. A natural collaborator, Diamond goes it alone tonight, as guest of the fine summer concert series, Tunes in the Church.


Academy, Dublin 8pm €25 ticketmaster.ie
Formed in 1991 by ex-Throwing Muses guitarist/vocalist Tanya Donnelly, Belly resurfaced earlier this year after a break of two decades. That’s good news for fans of a certain age (we’re guestimating late 30s-mid 40s), for any fan who has ever taken a shine to Throwing Muses and/or The Breeders (another band touched by Donnelly’s talent), and for those who just like their alt.rock laced with pop.

Electric Garden
Galway 10pm €15/€12 electricgarden.com
The Galway venue’s fourth birthday comes slap bang in the middle of the city’s arts festival, so no excuse required for another shindig. Nightmares On Wax’s George Evelyn is the big draw on the main floor, a producer who has crafted and created hazy dancefloor fare for many decades. In the Factory, meanwhile, are Epoch host Detroit kicker, Drexciya tour DJ and balaclava fan Stingray 313, and Whiskey Disco nu-disco good times’ seeker Sleazy McQueen.

Tivoli, Dublin 11pm €20/€15/€12.50 facebook.com/anonymadublin
Charlotte de Witte is tonight’s name in the Anonyma frame, and a listen to her recent DJ Mag podcast provides plenty of reasons to check her out on this Dublin visit. The young Ghent producer’s tough Sehnsucht EP on Tiga’s Turbo label is giving discerning big rooms with a brash soundtrack. Support from Eve’s Lauren Kenny.

Button Factory, Dublin 11pm €10 soundcloud.com/willowmcr
Sophie Wilson is Willow, a Manchester-based powerhouse in the making. As part of the 808 collective in Nottingham, Willow’s melodic and hugely engaging output (such as last year’s Feel Me) have got her noticed in plenty of places. Esteemed German label Workshop recently swooped in to snap her up. Check Willow’s Boiler Room session for a flavour of what she’s capable of doing. JC

Dublin Maker
Merrion Square, Dublin 2 10am-6pm free dublinmaker.ie
This festival features “show and tell” experiences from inventors and makers. Among the things you can learn to do are assemble a skateboard, invent a language, paint a masterpiece, create your own synthesizer, brew a beer and build a coffin. Okay we may have made that last one up, but sure how hard can it be?


The Casey Sisters
Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen, Co Cork 8pm €20 087-1260327 Also Tues, Down
Three sisters who have forged their own careers with no small degree of success come together to celebrate the intuitive musical instincts that bind them. Fiddle, harp and vocals interweave with the kind of intimacy that can only be conjured by musicians with a shared genetic inheritance.

Festival of Curiosity
Various venues, Dublin Also Thurs-Sunday festivalofcuriosity.ie
Since Thursday, this festival of science, art, design technology has been running around Dublin. Choose from curiosity carnivals and urban escapes, night cycles and secret tours, dancing in the dark, virtual realities, immersive rooms and building robots. Extra points for really effective weapons on the latter. See the website for the huge selection on offer.

Brian Deady
Róisín Dubh Galway 8pm €18/€16 giaf.ie
Cork songwriter Brian Deady has been paying his dues over the past few years, and it seems that 2016 is his for the taking (he’s just signed a deal with Universal/Decca Records), thanks to the justified acclaim afforded his second album, Non-Fiction, as well as to his smoldering live shows. Special guest is another much-praised Irish singer-songwriter, Dermot Kennedy. As part of the Galway International Arts Festival.

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