Thursday 18 January 2018

Festival fun

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots

Friday, April 29 to Monday, May 2

Various venues, Kilkenny City

Often overlooked in the annual merry-goround, Rhythm & Roots has been kicking off the festival season since 1998. And this year boasts a most impressive line-up. Beth Orton and Drive By Truckers have already sold out, so get on the case for the likes of Sam Amidon, Kort and John Grant.

Forbidden Fruit

Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5

Royal Hospital, Kilmainham (weekend €90/day ticket €49.50)

The Whit Weekend is bursting at the seams with festivals young and old. Bizarrely, music festivals in Dublin are still a rare enough occasion. Forbidden Fruit plugs this gap with a line-up that’s like All Tomorrow’s Parties meets Bestival. Aphex Twin is the pick of the bunch, playing an uber-rare live show. Album of 2010 close-rans Caribou also appear alongside local contenders Jape and Ham Sandwich.

Cork X Southwest

Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5

Lissard Estate, Skibbereen, CoCork (weekend €95/day ticket €55)

Lissard last ran for a whopping 10 days back in 1998. A gorgeous and underused setting, it’s where Nick Cave wrote much ofThe Boatman's Call album with Lime Tree Arbour immortalising its driveway into song. Echo & the Bunnymen, Patti Smith, Yuck, Jape, Favourite Sons, Interference and Ivan St John mark the comeback of a true gem.

Flatlake Festival

Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5

Hilton Park, Clones, Co Monaghan (€75 advance/€90on gate/€35 per day)

Kevin Allen and Pat McCabe curate another beguiling mix of literature, cinema, music, barn dancing and a delightful just-about-anything-goes policy. Allen promises some more politically calibrated artists than usual “in the face of all the bouncy castle ‘cheer-up-and-bepositive’ initiatives in vogue throughout this wounded land”. We take it that this certainly doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to have fun.

Body & Soul Festival 2011

Saturday, June18 and Sunday, June19,

Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath (weekend camping €99/Sunday ticket€55)

Last year’s winner of the Best New Festival award is by all accounts the antithesis to the madding crowds of the big two. Capacity is limited to 1,500, making this probably the most intimate festival in the land. Don Letts, Holy Fuck, Lamb, Lisa Hannigan, Darkstar, Cloud Castle Lake and Nicolas Jaar all appear on a wonderfully eclectic bill.

Sea Sessions

Friday, June 24 to Sunday,June26,

Bundoran, Co Donegal (€84.45)

Ziggy Marley, Bell X1, The Go Team Skatalites, Grandmaster Flash and Norman Jay... now that’s a line-up for the seaside if ever I saw one. Young Ziggy might even try a spot of surfing if he fancies braving the bracing Atlantic.


Friday, July 7 to Sunday, July 9,

Punchestown Racecourse, CoKildare, (weekend camping €224.50/three day€ 199.50/day €99.50)

Still the big one. Foo Fighters, Black Eyed Peas, Arctic Monkeys, Deadmau5 and Coldplay straddle the divides between rock, pop, indie, dance and what Alan McGee famously called bedwetter’s music. It’s another gigantic bill for the biggest music festival in Ireland hands down.

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