Saturday 20 July 2019

Which Irish music festivals offer best value for money this summer?

And are there any tickets left?

Sisters Ailbhe Garrihy, Aoibhin Garrihy and Doireann Garrihy at the #3Disco at the sold-out three-day festival at Stradbally, Co. Laois.
Sisters Ailbhe Garrihy, Aoibhin Garrihy and Doireann Garrihy at the #3Disco at the sold-out three-day festival at Stradbally, Co. Laois.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Tickets are selling out fast for Ireland's summer music and arts festivals so here's a rundown on what's left, which ones are good value for money (or not), and why...

Electric Picnic

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Emma Naughton (21) , Alison Walsh (19) , Grace Campbell (19) amd Olivia Naughton (18) all from Naas Co Kildare with their Rickshaw at Electric Picnic at Stradbally Co Laois.

When: August 30 - September 3

Where: Stradbally, Co Laois

Line-up: Kendrick Lamar, Massive Attack, NERD, Dua Lipa, Ben Howard, St Vincent, King Krule, St Vincent, George Ezra, The Kooks, Chvrches, Jungle, Wolf Alice, Nina Kraviz and more

Other: As well as music stages catering for every genre from Body& Soul to Other Voices to the Salty Dog and Trenchtown, the Big Daddy of music festivals has a wealth of other eclectic offerings from spoken word via Mindfield, to Theatre of Food, Comedy, the chill out delights of The Hazel Wood, futuristic art installation Anachronica, crafts via Greencrafts, dance workshops courtesy of the Dublin Dance Festival and more.

Tickets:  Tickets have been sold out for months.

Value for money: Loyal EP fans who availed of the loyalty ticket scheme which launched shortly after last year's festival snapped up an amazing deal - those who had been to EP three times or more got a weekend ticket for just €165. Given the expansive line-up and array of peripheral treats on offer that's fantastic value. Even those newbies who bought early bird tickets nabbed weekend camping tickets for a reasonable €205.   

Latecomers, however, will pay a high price to join them.  As the event is sold out, the only option is to purchase from a secondary sellery.  On Seatwave tickets range from around €354 each (family weekend camping tickets are €460 each) while a Sunday day ticket will set you back €271 on Seatwave.

Volunteers who offer 24 hours of work over the weekend get a free ticket (a refundable bond of €250 is required in case you scarper of course) so you can't ask for better value than that.

So, EP is excellent value for money - if you buy early (or volunteer).



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Ciara Russell and Zoe Whelan at the Heineken 'Live Your Music' area at Longitude Festival, Marlay Park. Picture: Andres Poveda

When: July 13-15

Where: Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin

What: Music festival

Line-up: J. Cole, Travis Scott, Solange, Migos, Post Malone, Diplo, Tyler The Creator, Khalid, SZA, Sigrid and more


Tickets: Three day weekend (€189.50), two day (Friday and Saturday at €129.50), Friday day and Saturday day tickets have all sold out. There's a limited number of Sunday tickets still available for €69.50.

Value for money: Not bad considering the number and variety of acts taking to the stage across the three days.  However, with no camping included there's the issue of accommodation, which isn't such a big deal if you live in Dublin, but if you're coming from further afield you'll have to shell out extra to rest your noggin (Travelodge had rooms from €79 a night).  Also, Longitude is all about the music, so the overall festival experience isn't quite as varied as you'd get at say Body & Soul (a mere €10 more for a weekend, including camping), or EP.


Bare Festival

When: July 6 and 7

Where: Borris House, Carlow

What: Music and more across 1000 acres under the Blackstairs mountains

Line-up: Obie Trice Trice featuring Kuniva and Swifty D12, God is an Astronaut, Gok Wan DJ set, The Lost Brothers, Seamus Fogarty, Kila, Tebi Rex, Mick Konstantin, Natty Wailer, Corner BOy and Wolff.

Other: Bare has teamed up with global talent discovery app MOBSTAR to find the best new talent across Ireland. Twenty places remain so hopefuls can upload to MobStar to be in with a chance of playing the festival.  There will also be spoken word, comedy, and wrestling (YouTuber Kathleen will take on Karl Spain).

Tickets: You can get weekend camping covering the two days for €100 with day tickets for Saturday costing just €50 (or €60 if you include camping).  Kids are just €15 with a camper pass for €30 and VIP upgrade ranging from €25 to €50.

Value for money:  You can't argue with €50 a day and adding a child or two won't break the bank.


Groove Festival

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Groove Festival

When: July 7 and 8

Where: Kilruddery House and Gardens, Bray, Co Wicklow

What: Family friendly fun with music, comedy, a focus on great food, and plenty for the kids

Line-up: Fun Lovin' Crminials, Heather Small, The Stunning, Something Happens, Jerry Fish, The Riptide Movement, HamsandwicH and more

Other: Culture Vultures curated by Tony Clayton-Lea takes over the Live Lounge daytime on Saturday and Sunday. In the evening it becomes the Hardy-Har Comedy Club with names including Adam Burke, Eric Lalor, Aoife Dooley and Emma Doran.  Food comes courtesy of Sharon Shannon's Garden of Vegan, Saba, Teddy's ice cream, Kilruddery's chefs, and Box Burger.  Teens can take part in Hell&Back while little ones can enjoy entertainment from the Silly Billy team.  There will also be Zorbs on the lakes.

Tickets: Adult weekend are €106 (teens €53.50, child under 16 €20) and a family of two adults and three children under 16 is €225.  Adult Saturday or Sunday tickets cost just €65.50 each.

Value for money:  Again, it's just two days, so each day costs a reasonable €50 whether you attend on both or just one.  It's one of the better options festival-wise for families with the €225 family ticket allowing two adults and three children under 16 access across the weekend.


Body and Soul

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Revellers at Body & Soul Festival. Ballinlough, Co. Westmeath. Picture: Caroline Quinn

When: June 22-24

Where: Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath

What: Music and arts festival celebrating the Summer Solstice.  It has the vibe of a small boutique festival on a larger scale and offers a genuinely eclectic line-up that sets it apart.

Line-up: Fever Ray, Chronixx, Jon Hopkins (live), Iron & Wine, Arca, Baxter dury, James Holden & The Animal Spirits plus many, many more

Other: Plenty of peripheral festival delights including art installations, workshops, discussions, woodland discos, wood-fired hot tubs and gourmet food offers.  Arbutus Yarns Theatre, for example, is a quiet spot in the woods where festival goers can relax and listen to whoever avails of the open mic, whether it's poetry or an undiscovered artist.

Tickets: Tier 3 weekend camping and family weekend camping (each ticket allows for one adult and two children 12 and under) tickets are on sale now for €199.  Saturday only tickets cost €80 and Sunday only tickets cost €70.

Value for money: It's a smaller offering than Electric Picnic (a boutique 15,000 capacity as opposed to 55,000) and for some that's part of its appeal.  Price-wise it's pretty much on a par with EP with weekend camping tickets coming in at €199 and has a similar focus on a more rounded experience than music-driven festivals like Indiependence or Longitude. Great value.


Sea Sessions

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Sea Sessions. PIC: Discover Bundoran

When: June 22-24

Where: Bundoran, Co Donegal

What: Ireland's only surf music festival

Line-up: Dizzee Rascal, Walking on Cars, Rudimental, Hannah Wants, Hudson Taylor, The Hot Sprockets, Chasing Abbey, Jerry Fish, Kormac (AV Show), Delorentos and The Blizzards

Other:  There's a new campsite on the Wild Atlantic Way overlooking Tullan strand and you can watch some of Europe's top surfers take on Ireland's best.    There will also be tag rugby, volleyball and beach soccer to take part in as part of the barefoot Beach Olympics.It’s also in the middle of a town so you can go to the pub, eat elsewhere or continue the party in one of the local nightclubs.  If you don't like camping you can also stay in apartments, hotels, B&Bs or guest houses.

Tickets: From €109.90 for three days and €134.90 including four nights camping.  Limited singe day tickets are available for €49.50 and Surfer Bar (VIP) upgrades cost from €50 extra plus Glamping options.

Value for money:  It's excellent value for money at just over €100 for three days (or €134 including camping) with a great line-up, beautiful location, and something different to offer.



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Picture This at Indiependence 2016 (Photo credit Indiependence)

When: August 3 - 5

Where: Deer Farm, Mitchelstown, Cork

What: Music and arts festival

Line-up: Primal Scream, Jake Bugg, Walking on Cars, Everything Everything, Kate Nash, Le Galaxie, Sigala, Delorentos, Hudson Taylor, King Kong Company, Circa Waves, Cast, Mylo and more

Other: It's pretty much all about the music.

Tickets: Three day ticket €139, VIP Indie Garden tickets €179.  Camper van tickets have sold out. 

Value for money: Very good value for money, particularly if music is your focus.



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Charleville Castle. PIC: Castlepalooza

When: August 3 - 5

Where: Charleville Castle, Tullamore

What: Boutique music and arts festival

Line-up: All Tvvins, !!! (CHK CHK CHK), Detroit Swindle, Ships, New Jackson, Pins, Space Dimension, Controller, Dublin Ukelele Collective, Heroes in Hiding, Paddy Hanna and more

Other: Laughter Lab with Rubberbandits, Karl Spain, Eric Lalor, Colin Murphy, Georoid Farrelly

Tickets: Three day camping €139, three day (no camping) €109, one day (no camping) for Friday, Saturday or Sunday €49.  Campervan passes have sold out.

Value for money: Also very good value for money for a three day event.  The option of a day ticket for just €49 is a winner.

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