Theatre, hot tubs, and a Masquerade Ball - it's more than music at Body & Soul this weekend
It's the music festival that's as much about the experience as the music. Here's how to make the most of it...
Five years in and Body & Soul, held in the picturesque grounds of Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, has found its groove. In summers crammed with competing options for the fervent festival-goer, it manages to stand out with an intimate, boutique feel, eclectic music acts, and more.
Some would say it's the 'more' that's the real draw for Body & Soulers. As many people are drawn to festivals these days for the experience as the music, to wander around and mingle, and some may never cast an eye upon a stage from arrival to departure.
That's not to say Body & Soul doesn't deliver music-wise. You can't argue with Goldfrapp, or Gary Numan, or John Grant, but rather than push massive headliners, the assembly of acts is designed to cater for eclectic tastes.
There's piano man and Ivor Novello-nominated composer Jon Hopkins and Reggae legend Max Romeo. Then there's the Radioshack in the Orangerie boasting 'classic Northern Soul, Reggae, Hip Hop, African Latin rhythms, strange weird sounds, big songs and the marvelous journey through dancing.'
Musos will be more than sated as they potter around and sample the sounds. But if music isn't your thing (and even if it is) there's also a whole lot more to keep you entertained.
Body & Soul prides itself on the 'other' and the 'more', the little things you happen upon that you weren't expecting but which make your experience all the richer.
There's a Bathhouse & Sauna in the Lakeside Sanctuary & Spa if you fancy chilling out, Artisan food yurts, the Midnight Circus, Woodlands Banquet Feast, and comedy from the Good Times Comedy Lounge.
The Wonderlust stage offers debate, theatre and readings. TheatreClub are presenting The Holy Show - Love is The Answer - a live chat show hosted by 'modern day spiritual guru and recovering sex addict' Neil Watkins (of Year of Magical Wanking fame) with Rachael Keogh (Dying to Survive), Veronica Dyas plus a live set from Buffalo Woman.
Twinkling pathways lead to yoga and shiatsu by the lakeside and there will be four-poster picnics and woodland acrobatics. It's as far from hedonistic crowded-surfing as you can get.
The annual Masquerade Ball on the Saturday night is legendary so those festival-goers who fancy fancy costumes are in their element.
One of the big pulls of Body & Soul is its family-friendly approach. This year there's a Soul Kids area, family camping and a host of workshops for little ones.
Body & Soul runs June 20-22 at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath. Tier 5 tickets are still available for €139.50 including booking fee and VAT. Family tickets, family camping, and combined event and bus tickets also available. Check out www.body&soul.ie for more info, www.buseireann.ie for travel, and www.ticketmaster.ie for tickets.