Entertainment Festivals

Friday 18 January 2019

Indiependence Vs Castlepalooza - which fest is best?

Indiependence takes place this weekend.
Indiependence takes place this weekend.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

It's a mammoth weekend for festivals as two of the best go head to head once again with Castlepalooza kicking off in Offaly and Indiependence rocking Cork from tomorrow until Sunday.

They've been facing off for years and most festival goers are firmly in one camp or the other but for those of you who are undecided here's a rundown on what's on offer at both.

Bear in mind that weekend tickets for Indiependence, at Deer Farm in Mitchelstown, have sold out and there won't be any for sale at the gates.  However, there are day tickets for tomorrow and Sunday still available.

Castlepalooza, meanwhile, has not sold out (at time of writing) so you can nab a last-minute ticket and enjoy everything the three day festival has to offer at Charlevill Castle in Tullamore.


Indiependence: Highlights include the Manic Street Preachers, Sigma, All Tvvins, We Cut Corners, and Tom Odell. There's also a wealth of Irish talent including The Coronas headlining Saturday night as well as The Riptide Movement, Morrissey and Marshall and more.  They also have the Spoken Word Stage featuring faces from the worlds of hip hop, comedy and more.

indie stage times.jpg

Castlepalooza: Treat yourself to Le Galazie and David Kitt, Shit Robot and Daithi. You can also check out 45 Live and there will be electrronic and club music programmed by Abstract & Bedlam at the Courtyard. Castlepalooza also offers a comedy line-up with PJ Gallagher and Deirdre O'Kane among others.

castlepalooza stage times.jpg

Best fest: There's a bit of overlap with Wild Beats an d Le Boom hitting both festivals.  Overall, for music we have to go with Indiependence, but Castlepalooza has a more eclectic offering.  So, it's a tie.


Castlepalooza: Charleville Castle is open to the festival goers who can roam through the medieval building and check out its restored rooms.  The castle will also host workshop and surprise performances and you'll have access to The Courtyard chill out area all weekend.

castle 1.jpg
Charleville Castle. PIC: Castlepalooza
castle 2.jpg

Indiependence: The festival is located on a deer farm at Mitchelstown in Cork, nestled in the valley to the south of the Galtee mountains, and spread across a tree-lined 52 acre site beneath. Picturesque indeed.

indie site.jpg
PIC: Indiependence

Best fest: You can't really beat a 17th century castle, can you?


Castlepalooza: There's a boutique campsite with 4 and 5 metre pre-pitched bell tents.  There are also Treat Yourself Tents - 2 and 4 man, pitched and ready on arrival with real beds, duvets and pillows.  But you must have a weekend camping ticket.  Campervan passes, meanwhile, have sold out at this stage.

Bell tents require a €100 deposit and a 4 man bell tent will cost €550 plus booking fee for four people while a 6 man bell tent will set you back €595 plus booking ffee.  Treat Yourself is €185 for two people and €285 for 4.  The €100 deposit here goes towards the overall cost.

There are also plenty of hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs in the Tullamore area although demand is high...

Indiependence: There's regular camping, family camping, Festi Huts and campervans.  A regular Festi hut costs €650, not including your ticket.  If you have VIP tickets you can book a Festi Hut for €1250.  Campervan spots have sold out.  Again, there are hotels, guesthouse and B&Bs in the Mitchelstown area, although good luck booking them at this stage!

Best fest: We're leaning towards Castlepalooza, because we like a bit of luxury.


Castlepalooza:  Expect the usual festival fare of burgers, hot dogs, breakfast rolls, sausages, pizza, crepes, smoothies, Thai food, and sandwiches.  Veggie and organic options available too. Full bars are open 10am to 10pm each day.

Indiependence: There will be food and drink, although what exactly is on offer remains a mystery.

Best fest: You can't beat Castlepalooza for variety.


Castlepalooza: There are real, flushing toilets on site beside and inside the castle as well as the usual portaloos.  You can also avail of a real hot shower.  There will be no ATMs on site and no newsagent. However, festival-goers can recharge their phone in the Vodafone Recharge tent.

Indiependence:  You can also charge your phone at Indiependence.  And there are brand new shower units at the campsite this year.  You can also shower at the Leisure Centre in Mitchelstown for €5. There are no ATMS here either though, and no shop/newsagent. 

Best fest: Both festivals are pretty on par when it comes to services - we'll take the availability of a hot shower as a win any day.


Castlepalooza say the festival “predominately an over 18s event but children are permitted with their parents/guardian. There is naturally loud music played late each night. Please see our accommodation page for hotels in the area."  They add, "It is strongly advised not to bring young children to the festival; if you decide to bring your baby/ toddler to the festival, parents must sign a disclaimer form on admission to the venue."

Ruth Medjber at Castlepalooza

Due to people abusing the sign in system (where teenagers 13-17 could be signed in with an adult), children that age are no longer admitted to Indiependence.  Children 12 and under can attend with their parents and use the dedicated family camping area.  There will also be activities for children on site.

Best fest: Sounds like Indiependence is a little more family-friendly.


Castlepalooza: There's a dedicated bus service departing Dublin tomorrow afternoon and returning on Monday.  Bus Eireann travels to Tullamore and it's a 10 minute walk to site.  Irish Rail also travels to Tullamore and it's also a 10 minute walk to site.

Indiependence: Bus Eireann operates several services to Mitchelstown and it's a 15 minute walk or €5 taxi ride to the festival site from town.

Best fest: They're both equally easily accessible.

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