FORGET Oxegen, forget Glastonbury, Mitchelstown is the place to be this coming August bank holiday weekend as the revamped Indiependence Music and Arts Festival gets underway.
Thousands of music fans are expected to descend on the north Cork town for the two-day festival, billed as the largest of its kind in the south of Ireland.
Festival favourites Ocean Colour Scene and Welsh psychedelic rockers The Super Furry Animals have been lined up to headline the event, with more than 50 other top Irish and international acts set to join them on the line up.
Other acts already unveiled for the two-day musical extravaganza include Meteor awards winners The Blizzards, Mundy, Director, Fred, The Frank and Walters, The Chapters, Dublin hiphop giants Messiah J and the Expert and Dark Room Notes.
Festival organisers have also taken the ambitious step of relocating the festival to a hew home, a green field site at O'Connell Park less than five minutes from the town centre.
Over the coming days the ten-acre site will be totally transformed to accommodate the Bavaria main stage, the 800 capacity Cyprus Avenue Arena and the Red Bull Village.
The site will also encompass two festival bars with live music and DJs, numerous gourmet food stalls, picnic areas and dedicated 'chill out' zones.
However the most important aspect of the festival is of course the music with organisers pulling out all the stops to build on the success for previous Indiependence festivals.
Festival co-ordinator Shane Dunne told The Corkman that he expects up to 10,000 people to attend the festival over the two days – generating more than €1 million towards the local economy.
"The festival has generated a huge amount of interest from music fans not only in Cork but all over the country. Tickets have been selling really well and we are confident that the venue will be full to capacity on both days," said Shane,
"The idea behind this years event was to create an Electric Picnic style vibe with something for everyone. Aside from Oxegen and the Electric Picnic, this will be probably the biggest music festival anywhere in Ireland this summer. Indeed, there is no festival of this size in the country, or for that matter in the UK, with the calibre of acts that we have on the lineup," he added.
As one might expect an event on this scale is not cheap to organise, which is why for the first time in the history of the festival a cover charge will be in place for the weekend.
Weekend passes for the festival will cost €59 with day prices priced at €39.
Shane did admit that organisers had hoped to keep the festival free of charge but pointed out that the admission charge is relatively small given the number of top quality acts playing the festival and on site facilities.
"We felt it was important to extend the event and took a long hard look at how we could do this while at the same time making sure it was still affordable," he said.
"We see this as being a natural progression for the festival. The important thing for us is that we put every cent of profit we make this year back into the festival in order to develop it into the future. There is no reason why Indiependence could not become the South of Ireland's answer to the Electric Picnic."
Tickets for the festival are available from www.ticketmaster.ie.
However, The Corkman is this week offering readers the chance to win two weekend passes for two for the event courtesy of the organisers.
For your chance to win simply name the town that is hosting Indiependence 2009.
Answers, with a contact telephone number, on a post card to 'Indiependence', The Corkman, The Spa, Mallow. Entries must be in by 5pm on Monday next.
Winners will be notified and their names put down on the festival guest list.