Sell-out festival puts others in the shade
BOASTING hand-made stages, art installations and a masquerade ball, the annual Body & Soul festival is like no other.
Maybe that's why, along with the cancellation of other festivals this year, the three-day event at Ballinlough Castle (about 20km from Mullingar, Co Westmeath) this weekend is almost sold out.
Campervan tickets have already gone and founder Avril Stanley said organisers are very confident about the festival's future.
"The reason we're selling so many tickets is that we respect the people who buy tickets. It's time for festivals to have integrity. We want people to leave us on Sunday night, renewed, refreshed and excited about their lives. We're not just about rock bands," she said.
But the event still has its musical attractions with over 80 acts taking part, including Spiritualized, Villagers and St Vincent.
Artists will perform on four bespoke stages, the largest of which Cork artist and architect Christy Collard was putting the finishing touches to yesterday.
"It's the opposite of the steel stages you see at rock festivals being put up and taken down. This is a permanent structure. The whole idea of it is to have as little impact on the local environment as possible," said Mr Collard.
And rather than burgers from takeaway vans, Michelin starred chef Gary Bell will present an "underground dining experience" with a French inspired cuisine served up in tents with white linen tablecloths and real cutlery.
Weekend camping tickets cost €99.