Forbidden Fruit gets the party started by bringing vibe into the city


That’s the first one out of the way, so. It’s festival season and for most people Forbidden Fruit is the starting blocks for a marathon of music and arts festivals plotted along this summer’s timeline.

Forbidden Fruit is more low maintenance than your average gig in a field. It is held in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin.

There’s no camping, mercifully no mud and the site is small and manageable. After the final notes ring out from the headline acts before midnight, a short stroll lands you back in the city centre. So for those jaded by tent pegs and traffic, a city festival is yer only man.

Alternative acts
Forbidden Fruit’s focus is small to medium-level alternative acts, with a couple of big guns and a dash of comedy, aimed at cool 20- and 30-somethings in the capital who have a couple of hundred euros in their back pockets and a lust for decent tunes. The line-up was greeted with a tinge of apathy this year, especially since mainstream Saturday headliner Kasabian was out of step with the largely hipster flavour.

Although overshadowed by MCD’s rival city festival Longitude, taking place in Marlay Park later this summer, Forbidden Fruit managed to hold its own. On Saturday night, Kasabian demonstrated their testosterone-fuelled rock poses, but the real action was on the Lighthouse stage where locals Le Galaxie almost brought the canvas down with a brilliant up-tempo set.

Earlier in the day, the crowd was buzzing about IAMAMIWHOAMI’s performance, as well as a dramatic jump from the main stage by MayKay, the frontwoman of Fight Like Apes.

Crystal Castles, the chaotic Canadian electronic act, bombarded the main stage with their blistering brand of bleepy synths and beats. The crowd was subjected to frequent invasions from frontwoman Alice Glass and lapped it up.


Forbidden Fruit Video

Later, Neon Neon, a side project of Super Furry Animals’s Gruff Rhys, fell slightly flat at the Undergrowth stage, a set overshadowed in that location by earlier performances from Los Angeles noise act HEALTH and fiddle-playing Irish producer Daithí, who is armed with some excellent pop tunes destined for bigger things.

Yesterday Bondax, an act contributing to the rebirth of house-tinged garage, missed their flight to Dublin, prompting a double set from Aussies Flight Facilities.

New Jackson, Cyril Hahn, Four Tet and Simian Mobile Disco all contributed to the more dance-heavy vibe of yesterday’s line up.

Last night though, the main draw was Chic with Nile Rodgers, even though the disco-funk band was playing support to Primal Scream. Rodgers has been introduced to a new generation thanks to his work on the tune of the summer: Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. And boy, did they deliver. For an hour-and-a-half, a small patch of Dublin was transformed into an epic disco party.

U2’s The Edge and Shane MacGowan hung out at the side of the stage and during Good Times crowds swarmed the band on the stage, dancing as if there was no tomorrow. You’d feel sorry for Primal Scream who had to follow them.

A nice touch to the festival that appealed to music nerds was Centre Stage, a tent presided over by blogger Niall Byrne aka Nialler9, where acts playing the festival were interviewed over the weekend.

Blips in behaviour
Although most people were well behaved, happy to down cider and whatever else in the warm weather, there were a couple of blips in behaviour.

According to witnesses, a brawl broke out between a number of men while the cerebral James Blake was playing the main stage.” That sentiment was at odds with a generally relaxed, friendly, and warm-spirited crowd.

Despite rumours of struggling ticket sales, the festival was busy both days, with a big push for Sunday day passes, as late last night the organisers made sure the festival vibe spread into the city centre.

The Irish Film Institute was set to screen the Talking Heads concert film, Stop Making Sense, Meeting House Square in Temple Bar was to host gigs from Canadian outfit Austra and rapper Mykki Blanco, whose Lighthouse stage set earlier in the day was met with enthusiasm. The Button Factory was the setting for DJ sets from Four Tet and Caribou.

That dedication to extending the festival into city venues is very much welcome, a great way of integrating the festival atmosphere into urban venues.

In a crowded market of festivals, Forbidden Fruit pulled their weekend party off. Appetites are now whetted for a busy summer, with Sea Sessions in Donegal and Body & Soul in Westmeath two upcoming highlights this month.