Calm and positive shower set for Body & Soul gig


YOU CAN rain on our parade, but you can’t dampen our spirits. That seems to be the battle cry of Body Soul Festival director Avril Stanley, who was yesterday looking at the grey skies above Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, and laughing.

Besides, she infers, inclement weather isn’t a stranger to Irish open-air events, let alone one as becalming and bespoke as Body Soul.

“We can get so hung up on weather,” sighs Stanley. “We are, remember, an island on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. In the past history of the event, we have regularly had four seasons in one day – thankfully, the kind of people coming to Body Soul are super positive, so I can’t see rain impacting on that.”

Body Soul originated at Ireland’s premier boutique music/arts bash, Electric Picnic, but was such a festival-within- a-festival success story that three years ago it became a standalone event. In its brief history, it has expanded ever so slightly within its chosen pristine site of Ballinlough Castle, its remit to create an alternative and holistic music/arts event experience for fewer than 5,000 people still very much to the fore.

The site opens today at 6pm for those, says Stanley, “who want to come down ahead of the crowd”. All sorts of surprises are in store, apparently – acoustic performances in the Shrines Shack, cabaret and live acts in Natasha’s Living Food Emporium, DJs in the Jook Joint and (according to Stanley) “general mischief in and around the woods.” The Friday night line-up also includes a new BS stage, Reckless in Love, which will host, among others, acclaimed Irish DJ Donal Dineen. If none of these take your fancy, then a silver-service dining experience can be booked in underground restaurant, Faoi Talamh.

The Body Soul event proper gets underway tomorrow at noon; the Main Stage line-up gets into its stride from early evening, with performances from the likes of Shangaan Electro (7pm), Django Django (8.30pm), Villagers (10pm), Spiritualized (11.30pm) and Lee Fields the Expressions (1am). Sunday’s UpStage highlights include Land Lovers (noon), Martin Hayes (2.30pm), St Vincent (6.45pm) and Little Dragon (8.15pm).

It’s a pity, shrugs Stanley, she can’t thoroughly enjoy the event as a visitor. “Sitting back is not something that comes naturally to me when the festival is in full swing. I’m constantly on the move because I want to make sure that people are having the time of their lives.”

Boutique camping and campervan tickets are sold out. See bodyandsoul.ieand ticketmaster.iefor details.