Samhain festival: everything you need to know
Liam Gallagher, Annie Mac and full line up, stage times, transport directions and more – and enjoy the music
A scare in Lucan: Liam Gallagher headlines the Samhain Festival at Weston Airport on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters
If you live in Lucan, Co Dublin, and see someone hanging around on Sunday evening killing time while dressed as a giant rabbit, here’s why: for those planning to go to Samhain music festival this weekend, arrival times will be a tricky balancing act.
The two-day event has moved to a new location – a 4,000m2 hangar in Weston Airport, the first time it has been used for a concert – and gates open at 6pm on Saturday and 7pm Sunday. But for those wanting to get there early, the promoters MCD warn fans that early queuing “will not be facilitated” and said people shouldn’t arrive before the gates open.
Given that it is 20 minutes outside the city, but not on a public bus route, that’ll take some logistical planning. Add to that its billing as a “massive fancy-dress Halloween celebration”, with fans encouraged to wear fancy dress (but no masks, the organisers warn).
Let’s hope it’s not too windy or all those superhero capes will get in a flap as early arrivals hang around at a generous distance waiting for the gates to open at 7pm. Saturday night’s festival line-up sees Irish DJ and TV presenter Annie Mac coming home with a headlining DJ set, along with 2 Many DJs, Eats Everything, Mele, and Dublin DJ Kelly Anne Byrne. On Sunday Liam Gallagher headlines in the wake of his debut album As You Were, released this month. The lineup also includes The Strypes and Touts.
There are shuttlebuses to the new venue and MCD has revised its earlier advice that the venue was fully weatherproof and no wellies necessary. The promoter now advises that “due to the time of year it is likely to be cold particularly of an evening. Please wrap up and dress accordingly”. Umbrellas are not allowed.
The two days of rock concerts were in the balance after an objection was lodged by local residents near the airport. Judge Michael Conlan ruled the concerns raised by residents were addressed by promoters, and granted a licence. There is a lot riding on all going well this weekend. The judge said this would be the last time such an event will be held at Weston Airport if serious problems arise. He ordered that flights out of the airport stop by 3pm on the day of the first gig. Gardaí will be on hand to keep concert-goers away from local estates.
The public safety notice about the event on MCD’s website runs to over 2,000 words.
So what do you need to know if you’re heading to the airport for the music this weekend?
First, the good stuff: stage times
Saturday, doors - 18:00
18:00 Kelly Anne Byrne
19:30 Le Galaxie
20:00 2 Many DJ’s
21:00 East Everything
22:30 Annie Mac
Sunday, doors - 19:00
20:00 The Strypes
21:15 Liam Gallagher
What’s the story with tickets? There is capacity for 4,999 people each night. Sunday day tickets are sold out and Saturday tickets are available from ticketmaster.ie and outlets, and on the door at a Ticketmaster van. Saturday day tickets are €49.50, weekend €99.50 including booking fee. Credit card/box office collections are near the arena entrance in Weston Airport.
How about bags? No large bags and backpacks allowed, only small bags no bigger than A4 (8.27in/21cm x 11.7in/29.7cm), which will be searched on entry. The organisers strongly advise people not to bring bags, to avoid lengthy queues. Also, there is no cloakroom or storage so you are stuck with whatever you bring with you. Searches at the entrance may include a full body pat down and/or hand held metal detectors and anything which could be reasonably considered as a weapon or dangerous will be confiscated.
No alcohol or drinks are allowed in the venue, aside from up to 500ml of soft drinks in a sealed plastic bottle.
There is a whole list of other banned items on the public safety notice, from fold-up chairs to smoke and gas canisters to legal or herbal highs, to professional cameras, to “excessive amounts of cigarettes”. Anything confiscated will not be returned.
How about food and drink? You cannot bring your own alcohol but two bars will sell beer, wine and limited spirits. There will be two food units – El Chapo Mexican and a confectionary stall. So if you reckon you’ll get the muchies, and you don’t like Mexican, maybe bring a cheese sambo.
And the locals? On foot of the local objections, gardaí will have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol consumption in public areas, and criminal or anti-social behaviour. The notice warns fans to respect the property and privacy of residents, use the toilets provided and refrain from public urination, and littering, to use the car, coach and bus parks and not park illegally or in residential areas.
And the big one – getting there and back
The promoter is not operating transport to Weston Airport so it is up to ticket-holders to sort themselves out, by car-pooling, or booking the Marathon coaches service between the city and Weston, or booking a minibus or private service.
The festival stresses you MUST plan and book your return travel beforehand and leave plenty of time to get to and from the venue.
The options are:
Walking: Some of the surrounding roads are narrow with no footpath or lighting, so walking is not recommended. For safety, pedestrian access is via the R403 (Celbridge Road) from the direction of Lucan only. Access from both ends of Cooldrinagh Lane is restricted to residents. There is no access via the footbridge over the M4 from Becketts. This will be enforced by gardaí.
Private buses, coaches and mini-buses
Special Concert Shuttle: Marathon Travel has a special bus service from George’s Quay in the city centre direct to Weston Airport. Prices are €20 online before 9am on each concert day or €25 return for walk ups on the day. Buses leave George’s Quay from 5pm and return to Dublin at the end of the concert. Prebooking is recommended; tickets are limited and may sell out. Pre-booked customers get priority. bushiredublin.net
Other coach services: Express Bus has return services from south/west Dublin to Weston Airport. Route 1: Dundrum, Tallaght, Liffey Valley, Weston Airport. Route 2: Swords, Blanchardstown, Liffey Valley, Weston Airport. http://www.expressbus.ie
National coach services: Kelly Travel has return services from Limerick via Nenagh and Roscrea to Weston Airport. www.kellytravel.ie
Private buses and minibus parking is available within Weston Airport, access is via R403, but needs to be notified and registered in advance (even for drop offs) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Private hire bus, coach and minibus should use Junction 5 off the N4.
By car: Traffic and parking delays are inevitable and public transport or carpooling are advised. If you decide to drive, organisers advise you to plan your journey in advance allowing plenty of travel time, check the AA Roadwatch website for reports on traffic and delays.
There is limited parking in Weston Airport. Car parks open an hour before gates opening times. Don’t park illegally in surrounding areas, in local estates or outside local residences (you may be clamped or towed), and there is no overnight parking.
From Dublin City Centre: take the R148 out of the city and join the N4 towards Galway. Continue along the N4, exiting at Junction 5. Turn left onto the R403, follow event signage to carpark.
From M50: Exit the M50 at Junction 7, signposted N4 Sligo / Galway. Continue along the N4, exiting at Junction 5. Turn left onto the R403, follow event signage to carpark.
Pick-up/drop-off area: There’s a designated drop off area at Weston Airport: the entrance is via the R403. Traffic may be busy at the end of the event with exiting traffic so arrive to the pick-up area 30 minutes before the end of the show. Please use this facility on site.
Taxis: There is a taxi drop off area in the pick-up/drop-off area at Weston Airport. The entrance is via the R403, follow signs. Taxis are not guaranteed at the end of the night and they advise those who have not pre-booked a taxi, to plan alternative means of transport home.
The festival is strictly over-18s and you must be able to prove it with a passport, Garda age card or driving licence, while the bars operate a challenge 21 policy.
There may be strobe lighting.
Disabled parking is via R403 (follow signs to carparks); register or enquiries at email@example.com
There will be a strict no alcohol policy on public transport and private buses. MCD warns people not to arrive intoxicated or you will not get in. There is no readmission. There are no ATMs on site, but there will be Visa contactless payments at bars. The concert may be recorded for visual and audio broadcast. Gardaí will be inside and outside the venue.