Entertainment Festivals

Monday 1 September 2014

A Good Friday in store for 5,000 revellers at secret location

Barn Dance music and and arts festival aims to 'beat prohibition'

Sarah McCabe

Published 17/04/2014 | 12:31

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Some 5,000 revellers will be making their way to Barn Dance, a bring-your-own-booze music and arts festival taking place at a secret location on the outskirts of Dublin.

PUBS around the country might be shutting up shop tomorrow, but not everyone will be staying in.

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Some 5,000 revellers will be making their way to Barn Dance, a bring-your-own-booze music and arts festival taking place at a secret location on the outskirts of Dublin.

“The Easter fest starts on Good Friday, at a location 45 minutes away from Dublin. When all other doors are shut and prohibition takes hold, come away with us to our magical world” its tag line proclaims.

Acts confirmed include Krystal Klear, Welsh DJ Jamie Jones and reggae group Barley Mob. There's also art installations, comedy, theatre and artisan food - including an impromptu fine dining experience where festival goers can debate which band is best over medallions of Wicklow venison and Easter truffles.

The brains behind the six-year old event are entrepreneurs Brian McDermott and Jamie Deasy, who say Good Friday prohibition just isn't realistic any more. “Those rules came in around 1927” explains Mr McDermott (28). “It's fair to say they're outdated by now.”

What began as a fundraiser for a charity cycling trip to Argentina, attended by just 300 people, is now a full time job for McDermott, a Trinity geography and economics graduate, and Deasy, who previously ran his own events company.

They commercialised the festival in its third year, when it became too risky from both a financial and liability perspective to run as a charitable event.

“It's been a real labour of love, it's our baby,” Mr McDermott told the Irish Independent. “Our family and friends are equally as proud, they've watched it grow over the years”.

Barn Dance targets a slightly older crowd with the door policy is strictly over 21s and 70pc of attendees are over 25.

“That's largely because of the bring your own beer factor,” said Mr McDermott. “We'd rather people who have been legally allowed to drink for a few years, who know their limits. We've never had a bad experience, no incidents, no arrests, nothing like that.”

Word of mouth has been the festival's greatest source of advertising, he said. “We have a shoestring budget for advertising; it's only in the last year that we've really spent money on it.” The festival has never made a loss and is gradually becoming more profitable, he added. Tickets range from €50 to €60 - and with capacity doubled from previous years, there are some still available online at www.barndance.ie "There's lots of house and electronic music on the list, but he's keen to point out that there's something for everyone. “We have every style of music, from disco to a brass band,” Mr McDermott said.

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