Saturday 20 January 2018

7 compelling reasons to head to KnockanStockan this weekend

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Festival season is jam-packed with events the length and breadth of the country from small, local town festivals to the behemoths like EP. This weekend is KnockanStockan in Wicklow and if you're wondering whether or not to go, consider our very compelling seven reasons why you really should grace it with your presence...

Lovely lakes...

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Blessington Lakes, KnockanStockan

If picturesque locations where you can lie on the grass and listen to music and admire stunning scenery are your thing then this is the festival for you.  Located on an elevated site overlooking the beautiful Blessington Lakes in Wicklow, KnockanStockan is mesmerisingly pretty, not least because three dimensional art installations like Graphic Designer Geraldine's Disco Limbs (below) serve only to enhance the natural beauty of the area.  If you do nothing but saunter around the site for two days you'll have had a rather lovely weekend.  Even the drive up to the site is spectacular!

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Disco Limbs at KnockanStockan

Another benefit of the location is that it's easy accessible from Dublin, the south, the west, everywhere except perhaps Malin Head.  Buses from Dublin are just €15 return and it's just a 40 minute journey.  And if and when you want to leave, as sometimes happens, you're not stuck - buses leave from Sunday midday and will continue until everyone is off site.

Quirky line-up...

Loah. Photo: Eve North Photography

There are 100 acts playing and you may not recognise a single one.  It's an eclectic mix of artists with acts like The Eskies (read more on them HERE) and Loah (get the lowdown HERE) as opposed to mainstream stadium fillers.  Whether you're in love with the line-up or haven't a clue who's who it's brilliant - indulge in your faves or, if you haven't a notion, broaden your horizons and emerge sounding like you actually know a little something about something!


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KnockanStockan is small enough to feel boutique but big enough to prevent boredom.  It's also just 2 days so it's short enough to ensure you don't lose your marbles or succumb to foot rot.  And there are just four stages so you won't spend several days trekking from one stage to another a la Glastonbury.  An added bonus are the campsites' locations - right by the site.  The furthest is just a couple of minutes away.  No more dragging your wellies through two feet of sucky mud only to realise you can't find your tent in a field that stretches beyond the horizon.

Sound sleeps...

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KnockanStockan camping

Organisers have promised more camping space this year with options including bell tents, tipis and yurts.  There's also a campervan site and all sites are serviced with water points and food stalls and "many, many more toilets" which is always a very, very good thing.

Cheap beer...

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KnockanStockan - pic Michelle Geraghty photography

... should you so desire.  You can bring your own beer to KnockanStockan although it doesn't have to be cheap (and it can't be contained in glass, obviously).  Should you run out there's plenty to buy on site.  Add this to the fact the two-day festival costs just €80 and it's a weekend that won't break the bank, unless you want to break the bank, in which case work away with your fancy craft beers - it's your money.


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Homegrown festivals like Knockanstockan do a lot for Irish music but there is a call for radio stations to do more to support local talent

Let's be honest about it, the weather matters.  It really matters when it comes to Irish festivals.  Anyone remember the washout that was Creamfields back in 2001, or was it Homelands in 2000?  Or that time at EP where torrential rain drove everyone to squish awkwardly into stalls and pretend to browse bracelets and tees in an effort to avoid a soaking?  It's not fun.  Neither is mud, despite what those Glastonbury revellers would have you believe.  Sun is predicted for this weekend.  So, lie on the grass, take in the view, drink your cheap beer, and enjoy!


As promoter Roisin O'Brien explains, "The festival is run by dedicated volunteers who have grown it over the past 9 years from about 500 people close to 5000 now. We are proud of the fact that this year is the first year that we've been able to ensure that every act who performs gets paid and we offer them as much industry support as we can in the lead up to and even after the festival itself. We are all about supporting and promoting Irish musicians and this is evident in our work. We really push the fact that we are an independent festival and have no commercial sponsorship."

Something to keep in mind...

No festival is perfect and punters should bear in mind that there are no ATMs or credit facilities on site so you'll need to bring cash.  There are also no plug in power points at which to charge your phone, not that that's a bad thing.  You can live without it for two days!

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