Tuesday 17 October 2017

Sea Sessions 2015 review - 'the most Irish beach party you could ever attend'

Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

Now in its eight year, Sea Sessions showcases exactly why you can hot-foot it to a music event in any location on the planet, but there’s something incomparable about the craic agus ceol at a festival in your native country.

If there’s one thing that tends to dampen the spirits of festival goers - literally and figuratively - it’s buckets of rain, thunder storms, and winds from the Wild Atlantic Way threatening to send your tent flying off into the Donegal sky.

But 5,000 revellers refused to let the temperamental weather rain on their parade as they enjoyed the music and activities that Bundoran’s Sea Sessions festival had to offer.

Since its inception in 2008, Sea Sessions has become one of the most highly anticipated events in the now-crowded calendar of festivals that continue to dominate the Irish summer. However, what makes Sea Sessions different from its larger and more well-known counterparts is the amalgamation of surfing, sports events, skating and live music in the backdrop of a picturesque arena overlooking the beach.

Despite the aforementioned weather, throngs of people gathered each day to engage in tag rugby, Frisbee, or watch surfers from Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico take to the waves with their boards.

For those braving the elements, there is a makeshift campsite formed on the local GAA pitch, while others wisely booked into hostels, B&Bs, self-catering apartments or loaded up their camper vans. Although the conditions were not for the faint hearted, there’s nothing that compares to the craic of a campsite, bonding with random punters from Malin Head to Mizen Head and bumping into someone you went to the Gaeltacht with ten years ago in the queue for the portaloos. Even when it is raining the proverbial cats and dogs, Irish people have an amazing ability to take it on the chin and pack twenty people into a tent to share warm cans of cider and a few packets of Tayto.

The main arena is a stone’s throw of a walk from the campsite, allowing attendees to take in the great view of the Donegal coastline while the hype for the night ahead builds up. Unlike previous years, this year Sea Sessions welcomed a more contemporary line-up, which no doubt was a big factor in the event selling out completely a few weeks before hand.

Over the three nights, international deep house and dance acts like Klingande, Cyril Hahn and Alex Adair joined home grown heroes such as Le Galaxie, Wyvern Lingo and Interskalactic across two stages. The roster of talent catered for an array of tastes, and the festival bosses finally succeeded in booking 74-year-old American blues icon Seasick Steve to perform for the crowds.

A special mention has to be given for one of the local nightclubs, Jumping Jacks – a place so wild and unrestrained that it makes Coppers look like afternoon tea. After hours of dancing away at the tents and stages in the main arena, the party continues each night in Jumping Jacks, with the DJ playing the classics – Maniac 2000, Gigi D'agostino’s La Passion and Special D’s Come With Me.

Sea Sessions continues to grow steadily but hopefully it will never lose its niche as one of Ireland’s most eclectic, unique, enjoyable and multi-faceted festivals. Sure they don’t call it Fundoran for nothing.

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