Ultimate guide to biggest Irish gigs and festivals of summer 2019
From Belfast to Cork and Cardi B to Bon Jovi, it’s time to start planning
Stormzy (left), Westlife (top centre), Spice Girls (middle centre), Cardi B (bottom centre) and Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters (right) are just a few of the acts stepping onto a stage in Ireland this summer. Photographs: Ian West/PA Wire, Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press, Mike Blake/Reuters
It’s time to air out your mouldy tent that’s shoved on top of your wardrobe and to hose down your crusty, mucky wellies that live under your bed. You may not feel like you’re ready but festival season is upon us. This summer, over 50 festivals, outdoor music events and concert series are taking place across the country, with the people of Ireland experiencing all of the highs and the lows that go with it, George Ezra seemingly taking up a semi-permanent residency here and the Spice Girls and Westlife sinking back into the mould of their former glory with gigs in Croker.
Entering the race this year are newbies Eastbound (May 7th-12th), the Dublin city centre music festival for emerging acts, Love Sensation (August 17th and 18th), the LGBT+ pop festival brought to you from the people behind Mother Dublin and the Pride Block Party (June 29th), in Dublin’s Royal Hospital, and the family-focused Kaleidoscope (June 28th-30th), a spin-off from Electric Picnic, in Wicklow’s Russborough Estate.
Even though Castlepalooza and Groovefest are taking a break this year, outdoor, non-camping gigs are on the rise, with Belfast’s Belsonic and Vital Festival, Cork’s Irish Independent Park and Live at the Marquee, Kilkenny’s Ballykeefe Amphitheatre, Dublin’s RDS, Iveagh Gardens, Trinity Summer Series, St Anne’s Park, Malahide Castle and Dún Laoghaire Pier increasing their turnout of gigs.
We won’t be stuck for things to do this summer but by the time September rolls around, we’ll never want to leave the house or look at a portaloo ever again.
May 7th-12th; Dublin; €13.50; ticketmaster.ie
Eastbound is the new festival that puts up-and-coming artists like Dundalk’s post-punk band Just Mustard, indie-pop singer Maisie Peters and R&B star Kara Marni at the forefront. Sprawling across six venues, no one has to camp out.
It Takes A Village
May 10th-12th; Trabolgan, Co Cork; €169-€259 pps; ittakesavillage.fm
Featuring Sister Nancy, go-karting, Gilles Peterson, underwater hockey, Ships and a boat party, which non-festival goers can attend, ITAV is for people who love the comfort of a bed, courtesy of Trabolgan’s holiday homes. Weekend and Sunday day tickets are available.
May 24th; Croke Park, Dublin; €59.50-€191; ticketmaster.ie
In exchange for a stadium tour, we have to accept the Spice Girls as a quartet. Minus Posh, whose plan B has worked out nicely, this is one of the biggest returns in pop. Tickets are still available.
May 24th-26th; Belvedere House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath; €95.25-€181 life-festival.com
Life has the honour of being the first camping festival on our list. Claiming to be Ireland’s most revered festival for electronic music, they also dabble in grime and hip hop, with Bicep, MK and Giggs headlining.
May 25th; Pairc Uí Chaoimh, Cork; €75-€139; ticketmaster.ie
In September, Rod Stewart released his 30th album Blood Red Roses to lukewarm reviews but, thankfully, he has some other tunes up his sleeve to entertain.
Rory Gallagher International Festival
May 30th-June 2nd; Ballyshannon, Co Donegal; €30-€70; rorygallagherfestival.com
For the last 17 years, fans and tribute acts from across the world congregate in Rory Gallagher’s hometown to celebrate the blues guitarist who passed away in 1995.
Kilkenny Cat Laughs
May 30th-June 3rd; Kilkenny; thecatlaughs.com
This cat has been laughing solidly for 25 years and to ring in a new era, Alison Spittle, Sally Phillips, Adam Hills, Tommy Tiernan Dara O’Briain and a slew of others are booked in for chuckles, giggles and guffaws.
May 30th-June 3rd; Sherkin Island, Co Cork; €20-€170; openear.ie
With some of Ireland’s most innovative musicians (Radie Peat, Patrick Kelleher, Maria Somerville) and DJs (Club Comfort, SIAS, Aoife O’Neill) playing, Open Ear has the perfect balance of trad n’ techno to create something special.
May 31st-June 1st; Belfast; £49.50-£85; avafestival.com
For its fifth birthday, AVA’s line up is particularly delicious. Each name should suitably emit gasps from house and techno fans alike. Daniel Avery! Avalon Emerson! The Black Madonna! Honey Dijon! Ben UFO! AVA bookers . . . take a bow.
May 31st-June 1st; Beaulieu House, Co Louth; €50-€130; vantastival.com
Vantastival is celebrating “a decade dealing craic” and they’ve called in Irish acts Junior Brother, Lisa O’Neill, Sharon Shannon, Wallis Bird, Join Me in the Pines and more to dish it out. Camping and campervan options are available.
Cowboys and Heroes
May 31st-June 3rd; Drumcoura City, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim; €75; cowboysandheroes.ie
In between gun slinging, horse shows and line dancing, you can catch Ireland’s adopted son Nathan Carter, Mike Denver and Derek Ryan perform at this country festival. Glamping and camping options are available.
Dún Laoghaire Pier Concerts
May 31st- June 2nd; Dún Laoghaire Pier, Co Dublin; €39.90; ticketmaster.ie
Dún Laoghaire Pier is hosting three stand-alone, non-camping gigs this bank holiday, with Basement Jaxx (DJ set), Deacon Blue and Stereo MCS playing on May 31st, Madness, Lightning Seeds and Something Happens on June 1st and Primal Scream, The Charlatans and Fun Lovin’ Criminals wrapping things up on June 2nd.
St Anne’s Park Concerts
May 31st-June 2nd; St Anne’s Park, Dublin; €49.90-€51.96; ticketmaster.ie
Ticket-shifting reliables Kodaline (May 31st and June 1st) and Chic (June 2nd) are booked in for the Clontarf park’s first outing as a music venue. James Morrison supports Kodaline on both nights and Kaiser Chiefs are supporting Chic.
Forbidden Fruit Festival
June 1st-3rd; Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin; €69.50-€169; forbiddenfruit.ie
This year’s line up has nice mix of Irish and international acts of the indie, electronic and hip-hop persuasion. While Elbow and First Aid Kit will delight Monday’s mellow crowd, Saturday’s headliners Skepta and Danny Brown and Sunday’s Mura Masa will leave gig goers shook. This is a non-camping event.
Malahide Castle Concerts
June 7th-22nd; Malahide Castle, Co Dublin; €51.96-€72.37; ticketmaster.ie
Catch Snow Patrol (June 7th), The Cure (8th), Mumford & Sons (14th and 15th), Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (16th), George Ezra (21st) and Lana Del Rey (22nd), smugly knowing that you have a bed to return to.
June 8th; Slane Castle, Co Meath; €93.19-€284.01; ticketmaster.ie
After a nine year absence, Metallica make their return to Ireland with their Worldwired Tour. Promoters strongly encourage people to use public transport to and from the event to cut back on traffic. This is a non-camping event but there are camping options available in the area.
Live at the Marquee Concerts
June 8th-July 8th; Centre Park Road, Cork; €31.24-€69.50; ticketmaster.ie
Aslan kick off the Marquee gigs on June 8th and Nathan Carter (14th), Toto (15th), Versatile (21st), One Day (22nd), Kris Kristofferson (23rd) Bros (26th), The Academic (27th), Jenny Green & the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra (28th), RTÉ Concert Orchestra & Country Roads (29th), Tash Sultana (July 4th), Tommy Tiernan (5th), Christy Moore ( 6th) and David Gray (7th) follow suit until it comes to a smooth finish with Hall & Oates on July 8th.
June 12th-28th; Ormeau Park, Belfast; £29.50-£49; belsonic.com
Catch Slash (June 12th), Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike (14th), Stormzy (20th), Ben Nicky (21st), George Ezra (22nd), The Killers and Lewis Capaldi (25th), Marshmello and Jax Jones (26th), Hozier, David Keenan and Maggie Rogers (27th) and Tiesto and Loud Luxury (28th) in the city centre location.
June 13th; RDS, Dublin; €79.50; ticketmaster.ie
Fleetwood Mac are making six European stops this summer and Dublin luckily made the cut. Lindsey Buckingham won’t be there as he was, eh, fired from the band last year so joining Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie is Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Neil Finn (Crowded House).
June 15th & 16th; RDS, Dublin; €93-€115; ticketmaster.ie
Their first tour in six years, Bon Jovi are returning to the RDS, a venue they’ve played five times before. In an unusual pairing, Welsh act Manic Street Preachers are supporting them on both nights. Saturday’s show is sold out but tickets are available for June 16th.
June 18th; RDS, Dublin; €69.50; ticketmaster.ie
When Pink puts on a show, she’s puts on a show. Her Beautiful Trauma tour features aerial stunts, an inflatable Eminem (apparently), pyrotechnics and consistent live vocals. Unfortunately, after that hard sell, this show is totally sold out.
Irish Independent Park Concerts
June 20th-26th; Irish Independent Park, Cork; €49.90-€59.90; ticketmaster.ie
Cork’s Munster rugby HQ is lending its pitch to George Ezra (June 20th), Walking On Cars (21st), The Coronas (22nd), Liam Gallagher (23rd), Hozier (25th) and Ms. Lauryn Hill (26th). Hill’s 3Arena show was met with high praise in November; mark her appearance as a must-see.
Live at Botanic Gardens
June 21st-June 27th; Botanic Gardens, Belfast; £43.50-£55; aikenpromotions.com
Using the Victorian gardens as backdrop, we have Picture This (June 21st and 22nd), Van Morrison (23rd) and Bros (27th) breaking the sod of Belfast’s new festival.
Body & Soul
June 21st-23rd; Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath; €70-€199.50; bodyandsoul.ie
Join The Blaze, Modeselektor, Princess Nokia, Talos, Dream Wife, Wyvern Lingo and a rake of others to celebrate 10 years of Body & Soul. Weekend camping, family and campervan tickets are available and Sunday day tickets will be released closer to the event.
June 21st-23rd; Bundoran, Co Donegal; €54.90-€149.90; seasessions.com
With Sigrid, Clean Bandit and Two Door Cinema Club headlining the surf, sea and music festival, pop plays a prominent role but with Sugar Hill Gang, Kormac and Bitch Falcon on the bill, all tastes will be catered for. Camping and glamping options are available.
June 28th-30th; Russborough Estate, Co Wicklow; €17.50-€125.75; kaleidoscopefestival.ie
Aimed at “modern parents, discerning children and all-knowing teens”, Kaleidoscope is the new festival that takes inspiration from Electric Picnic’s Little Picnic. Headliners Bell XI and Tom Odell and things like Baby Discos, water sports and woodland spas should keep everyone happy.
Mother Pride Block Party
June 29th; Collins Barracks, Dublin; €18.83-€32.78; eventbrite.ie
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the stonewall uprising and the birth of the pride movement, 2019’s Mother’s Pride Block Party is the biggest Pride Block Party this country has seen. Joining headliner MØ is Daithí, Pillow Queens, Panti Bliss and many more.
Ballykeefe Amphitheatre Concerts
June 29th-August 31st; Ballykeefe Amphitheatre, Kilkenny; €15-€30; ballykeeffeamphitheatre.com
Channelling the atmosphere of an open-air Italian theatre, Ballykeeffe calls on Marty Mone (June 29th), Finbar Furey (July 6th), Villagers (20th), The Stunning (August 3rd), Ronan Tynan (10th), Chasing Abbey (17th), Atlan (24th) and Aslan (31st) for a summer of gigs.
Trinity Summer Series
July 1st-7th; Trinity College Dublin; €49.90-€56.91; ticketmaster.ie
The Pav is often associated with sunshine and cans but since the dawn of Trinity’s Summer Series in 2017, things have changed. Playing the cricket pitch this July is Vampire Weekend (1st), Foals (2nd), Janelle Monáe (3rd), Paul Weller (4th), Stereophonics (6th) and New Order (7th).
Iveagh Gardens Concerts
July 4th-20th; Iveagh Gardens, Dublin; €35.15-€69.50; ticketmaster.ie
The city centre park sees two jam-packed weeks of music with Tash Sultana (July 4th), Hall and Oates (5th), Damien Dempsey (6th), Jenny Green & the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra (7th), Idles (11th), Villagers (12th), Aslan (13th), Mac DeMarco (14th), Garbage (18), The Academic (19th) and Burt Bacharach (20th) playing.
Forever Young Festival
July 5th-7th; Palmerstown House Estate, Co Kildare; €107-€197; foreveryoungfestival.ie
1980s icons the Human League, Kim Wilde, Marc Almond, T’Pau and Midge Ure are on the bill for Ireland’s first 1980s festival. Camping is optional (with VIP camping and glamping on offer) and shuttle buses will be running to and from the Naas venue each day.
July 5th-7th; Marlay Park, Dublin; €79.50-€199.50; longitude.ie
Having cancelled last year’s appearance to focus on her pregnancy, Cardi B finally makes her Irish debut. Joining her on this hip-hop and R&B heavy, non-camping weekend is Chance the Rapper, ASAP Rocky, Anne-Marie, Aminé and H.E.R. Kids, leave the parents at home. This one is for you.
July 5th & 6th; Croke Park, Dublin; €82.78-€93.19; ticketmaster.ie
Back in 2002, Westlife played a record breaking 13 nights in The Point (now 3Arena) and to mark 20 years of key changes and stool routines, they’re getting the gang back together . . . minus Brian McFadden.
Willie Clancy Summer School
July 6th-14th; Milltown Malbay, Co Clare; scoilsamhraidhwillieclancy.com
As trad musicians from around the world attend the Willie Clancy Summer School, the local pubs spill over with music and music lovers. By day, the musicians study (for a €140 fee) and by night, the rest of us get to enjoy their education.
Earagail Arts Festival
July 10th-28th; Co Donegal; eaf.ie
This bilingual (Irish and English), multidisciplinary festival uses Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way to showcase performances from musicians, theatre makers, film makers and more. Lankum, Joan as a Policewoman and Moonlight Benjamin are among the artists confirmed so far.
Bob Dylan and Neil Young
July 14th; Nowlan Park, Kilkenny; €162-€189; ticketmaster.ie
This double whammy is just one of two that Bob Dylan and Neil Young have announced for this year, with the first outing taking place in London’s Hyde Park on July 12th. Fans are expected to travel from all over the world for this but tickets are still available to buy.
Galway International Arts Festival
July 15th-28th; Galway; giaf.ie
With film, theatre and panel events filling up Galway city, the Heineken Big Top in Fisheries Field will host gigs by Villagers and John Grant (18th), Bell X1 (19th), The Academic and Wild Youth (20th), Macy Gray and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (21st), Burt Bacharach (22nd), Two Door Cinema Club (26th), Orbital (27th) and The Coronas (28th).
July 19th-21st; Blessington Lakes, Co Wicklow; €65-€155; knockanstockan.ie
This camping festival uses the nooks and crannies of the Wicklow Mountains and lakes to lend stages to emerging Irish and international acts. Powpig, Bouts, Thumper and Joshua Burnside are some of the Irish acts confirmed.
All Together Now
August 2nd-4th; Curraghmore Estate, Co Waterford; €70-€208; alltogethernow.ie
Back for a second year, John Reynolds’s final contribution to the Irish music scene is one of the most anticipated camping festivals of the year. Sold out already, its line up boasts Patti Smith, The National, Pussy Riot and Father John Misty.
August 2nd-4th; Mitchelstown, Co Cork; €109-€189; indiependencefestival.com
This male-centric line up includes Bastille, Biffy Clyro, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Gavin James, Lewis Capaldi, All Tvvins and Wild Youth. The three acts with women involved are Le Boom, Dagny, Call Me Loop and Hannah Wants.
August 2nd-4th; Waterford City; spraoi.com
The street arts festival is set to brighten up the city of Waterford with parades, music, creative workshops, murals and theatre once again for 2019.
August 3rd & 4th; Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin; €59-€99; the-beatyard.com
Groove Armada, Todd Terje and Grandmaster Flash are leading the charge at Bodytonic’s Beatyard Festival. Taking place at Dún Laoghaire Harbour; mud has no place in the line-up.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann
August 11th-18th; Drogheda, Co Louth; fleadhcheoil.ie
The Fleadh is Ireland’s biggest traditional Irish music festival and Drogheda will be teeming gigs, courses and workshops all week long.
Another Love Story
August 16th-18th; Killyon Manor, Co Meath; €182-€204; anotherlovestory.ie
The cosiest and possibly the loveliest festival returns for its fifth year. Christian Loffler, the Redneck Manifesto, Lubomyr Melnyk and Maria Somerville are among the first acts announced and Glasshouse Ensemble will perform Holocene: The Music Of Bon Iver.
August 17th and 18th; Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin; €116.25-€126.25; lovesensation.ie
Love Sensation is the new and long-awaited pop festival aimed at the LGBT+ community and their friends. Lily Allen, Clean Bandit, Kelis and Gossip are the top billers and Panti Bliss will modestly – ahem – MC the main stage .
Belfast Vital Festival
August 19th and 24th; Boucher Road Playing Fields, Belfast; £40-£49.90; ticketmaster.ie
The day-to-day breakdowns for Vital could not differ any more. Foo Fighters will take care of business on August 19th and, leaning towards chart-friendly acts for teens, Timmy Trumpet, Jonas Blue, Fedde Le Grand and MaRLO are playing on the 24th.
August 21st; RDS, Dublin; €79.50; ticketmaster.ie
Following on from their Belfast gig, this is the first time that Foo Fighters have played Ireland since their 2015 Slane Castle appearance. This event is completely sold out but tickets for their Belfast gig are still going.
August 22nd; RDS, Dublin; €85.75; ticketmaster.ie
Having just played to a full house in Dublin’s 3Arena in February, Post Malone is bringing his blend of sad rap to the RDS for his first headlining outdoor gig in Ireland.
August 30th-September 1st; Stradbally Hall, Co Laois; €95-€205; electricpicnic.ie
Sold out since December, the Picnic holds onto its title as the most in-demand music festival in Ireland. While headliners the Strokes, the 1975, Florence and the Machine and Hozier have their draw, the teen sensation Billie Eilish is the act everyone actually wants to see.
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival
August 30th-September 29th; Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare; matchmakerireland.com
Switch off your dating apps and let Willie Day do the work for you. Join the 40, 000 people who descend on Lisdoonvarna every year to have a dance and maybe fall in love. Or lust, at the very least.
Sounds from a Safe Harbour
September 10th-15th; Cork; soundsfromasafeharbour.com
Rounding up a summer of festivals, this year’s festival will see more collaborations by PEOPLE (37d03d) and immersive music, dance, visual art and conversation events spilling out across the city, with plenty of free events to explore.