AS the by now almost unfamiliar sound of drums and guitars filled the night air at The Home Stretch festival at the Min Ryan Park over the weekend, it brought a big smile to the face of organiser Brian Byrne of Lantern Events. Finally, it will have felt like “we’re back”.
Brian’s wasn’t the only face decked out with a smile over the three nights of live music either, as a total of nearly 1,000 people got the chance to familiarise themselves once more with that long lost festival atmosphere.
The first major concerts to be held in the Min Ryan Park, Brian and his team were delighted with how things panned out.
“We’re delighted with it,” a tired Brian said on Monday morning. “The whole thing worked really well. We were really happy that we could run these events without causing any major disruption for people using the park during the day. What was also really great is that between staff, security, bar staff, crew etc, there were 30 people working at the shows each night. The acts were all delighted to be gigging too and it was just a really great atmosphere.”
As well as including national names like Bell X1, Hudson Taylor and Wild Youth, The Home Stretch also saw a strong local contingent performing with Ian Doyle, Jaxson, The Frisky Gypsys and Ryan Mack all putting on great shows and possibly gaining a few new fans in the process.
The setup, with a large covered tent, picnic tables and a big stage, was ideal and fit perfectly within the available space. While there were one or two grumbles about the noise from the huge sound system, which could be heard all over town, overall the atmosphere was one of positivity as people prepare for the return of big gigs.
Speaking of the return of big gigs, Lantern were delighted to announce the first act for this year’s Spiegeltent Festival in October – the return of The Coronas to the big top on the quay. With the band’s last outing at The Spiegeltent having obtained near legendary status at this stage, this year’s shows, taking place on October 22 and 23, didn’t require much promotion and sold out within two minutes.
"It was almost instant,” said Brian. “It sold out even quicker than the last time they were here. The last time the lads put on a really brilliant show. This is one of the smaller venues that they do, but they just loved the venue, the atmosphere, Wexford and the people, so they were keen to come back and perform for us again and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Further announcements in relation to the lineup for this year’s Spiegeltent Festival are due to be made this week, with Brian promising some old favourites as well as some exciting new acts.