Surf’s up at Sea Sessions

An open-air event where people go to get wet, a part of Donegal that’s breathtaking in its natural beauty, and a line-up that stretches boundaries. Here’s the best of Sea Sessions 2013


A surfing, skating and music festival? Beach soccer and volleyball? Tag rugby? Action sports? Bikestunts? The Barefoot Expression (that’s a surfing competition to you, bud)?

You gotta give this highly attractive event a round of applause. Sea Sessions is really one of a kind – a multi-strand event that blends music, extreme sports, surf contests, beach sports and (even) beach Olympics. The really good thing about the event, however, is that it knows exactly what it is – the constituent parts are delivered through a pop-culture sieve, and end up as a rounded weekend where music (all bases are covered) co-exists satisfactorily with the kind of activity that’s great to watch but also to participate in (even if those activities include high-octane, two-wheel mash-up, BMX freestyling).

The event is also perfectly located – in Bundoran, a town very much used to catering to the needs of not just the native holiday maker but those oh-so-cool types who jet in to flex their muscles.

So there you have it: an open-air event where people go to get wet (easy now!), an area of south-west Donegal that’s simply breathtaking in its natural beauty, and a bunch of music (see our Music Musts, below) that stretches boundaries without any of them snapping.


One of the most deserving success stories of the past year, Derry’s Soak continues to impress people – and win the right kind of friends – with her gentle folk/pop. Perfect for a sunny, breezy weekend.

Yes, they’ve been around for a while, but Cork’s finest, oddest pop group still have the smarts – just listen to their latest album, Greenwich Mean Time, for proof.

The best thing to come out of Cavan since the road to Dublin? Oh, boy, yes. Prepare to be blown away by the musicianship, the threads – and the cute way they might look at ya.

Is there a better electro-pop band in the country right now? No. No. No. Do you hear me? I said no.

On Saturday, June 22nd five of Northern Ireland’s best new (ish) bands will showcase their music: Rams’ Pocket Radio, Axis Of, VerseChorusVerse, Robyn G Shiels and Our Krypton Son bash it out slowly, quickly, smartly and passionately.

The Sea Sessions Unsigned Sessions 2013 contest will also take place on Saturday, June 22nd. Four bands will be chosen to perform onstage for the judges, and the winning act will play a full set on the Vodafone Stage on Sunday, June 23rd.

Are you ready for the Brushboarding
experience? Presented to the Sea Sessions by Mountain Dew Energy, Brushboarding is the world’s most realistic surf and boards sports simulator.

Not many people have seen this – nor, indeed, know to use it – but don’t worry: whether you’re a surfer, snowboarder, skater, or none of the above, the Mountain Dew energy instructors will be giving complementary Brushboarding lessons to help you develop your skills.

This experience is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, and it provides a full body workout while simultaneously developing balance, co-ordination and core strength. To make the experience even sweeter, there will be prizes for the best performers of the weekend. Check it out.

THERAPY? Q&A ( Andy Cairns)

How does a band like Therapy? find the inspiration to keep going?
Well, without wanting to sound horribly pretentious, there’s a line in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, that goes “Enough of your landscapes, tell me about the worms”, and that’s what Therapy? has been doing all the time: looking at the darker condition, without being theatrical or Grand Guignol about it. We’ve always taken bits of art, literature, movies, and put them into what we do.
Does the word “career” send shivers down your spine?
From day one, for us, it has never been about having a career plan; we do a record, get totally immersed in it, rehearse, write and record it, then we tour it. And then at the end we sit down and talk about whether we want to do another one. We then have a clean slate.

What is the fan base like?
We find we’re getting younger fans all the time – 15- and 16-year-old kids down at the front of the stage. It’s the “big brother” syndrome, where kids get into Korn, and then the older brothers might say, well, there’s a band called Therapy? – you might like them. So the back catalogue gets around. So it’s great to have young kids at the gigs. Punk rock and heavy metal were, in their day, effectively about the outsider, and anyone who still sticks to their guns and whatever their rhetoric on the world is, as long as it has a tinge of outsiderism then it gets respect from younger kids. If you’re playing only to old fans, then the game is over.


What are the primary obstacles you have had to surmount and how did you do it?
No money. Jumping for any support. Going anywhere to play. Going home to bars in Belfast, where I’d play mostly covers just to pay the bills.

Are you objective about your own music?
When you record an album under limitations of time and money, it’s just a snapshot of a particular moment. When you write songs you have no idea how they are going to be received. They’re a bit like children – you don’t know how they’ll grow up. Some will be popular, some will be shy. Hit singles are the brasher ones, but perhaps it’s the quieter songs you can live with the longest.

Is the lack of money a major issue?
I feel like I’m in between two worlds – there’s the normal rock’n’roll world, where you don’t get arts funding, yet it feels that the kind of things I’m trying to do are the things that might attract that type of funding.”

You should really be played more on the radio, don’t you think?
None of what I’ve done, ever, has been particularly difficult – it’s actually inherently melodic. But that’s just the way it is in the music industry – unless certain styles swing in a certain way then it’s difficult to get on radio. But we all know of great albums with no singles that have become very successful.

The SS app for iPhone and Android handsets can be downloaded from The app will allow you to access right-here-
right-now event information and the day-to-day line-up as well as updates on stage times for the duration of the event. The app will also provide surf reports and tides updates.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.