Monday 11 December 2017

Monkeys and other Beasties on show

ARCTIC MONKEYS: Playing Malahide Castle, Co Dublin
ARCTIC MONKEYS: Playing Malahide Castle, Co Dublin
SNOW PATROL: Among the highlights at Oxegen at Punchestown on July7-8
THE WHO: Play Marlay Park Dublin on June 29 and the Marquee in Cork
Daniel McConnell

Daniel McConnell

HERE comes the summer, as The Undertones sang - and this is particularly good news for music lovers.

Gone are the days when summertime music was restricted to the annual pilgrimage to Slane Castle and a handful of smaller events elsewhere. In the Ireland of 2007, where there's a music festival on almost every week that cannot be missed, we are certainly spoilt for choice.

The Heineken Green Energy Festival got the season off to a good start last weekend, but what else is on offer this summer for music lovers?

Certainly the Big Two rock festivals are Oxegen (June 7-8) and the Electric Picnic (August 31-September 2),.

Oxegen, with its 80,000 capacity at Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare, is the undisputed kingpin of the Irish festival season, with an exciting line-up that includes Snow Patrol, The Killers and Arcade Fire.

However, organisers will be keen to avoid a repeat of last year's controversy, when there were reports of alleged violent incidents in the campsites. Also, the sheer size of the festival can be a a turn-off for some of the post-teenage crowd who may prefer the three-day Electric Picnic, at Stradbally, Co Laois. This year, the event is headlined by Bjork, Beastie Boys, Iggy & The Stooges and Primal Scream. The appetite of gig-goers for both events is evidently strong as both have long since sold out.

Elsewhere, The Garden Party (June 9) at Ballinlough Castle, Athboy, Co Meath, offers up a great mix of new and old dance music with the Pet Shop Boys leading the charge.

And the Midlands Festival (July 28-29) at Belvedere House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, is a must-see event for aficionados of country music, with a strong line-up on offer including Kris Kristofferson, Christy Moore and Glen Campbell.

Also, for the first time, dance veterans Groove Armada bring their LoveBox festival to Ireland for the first time when they play Malahide Castle, Co Dublin, with the help of the Super Furry Animals and The Rapture.

Apart from the festivals, there's a series of high-profile concerts at such venues as Marlay Park and the RDS in Dublin, and The Marquee in Cork.

The series of open-air concerts in Marlay Park in south Dublin will feature the likes of Peter Gabriel, Aerosmith, The Who, Foo Fighters and Damien Rice. In Cork, The Marquee is set to host Madness, Status Quo, The Who and Bell X1.

Sheffield tyros the Arctic Monkeys are set to play two nights at Malahide Castle, north Dublin (June 16-17), as are Bell X1 (June 30), while veteran rockers the Rolling Stones return to Slane Castle, Co Meath, for the first time in 25 years on August 18.

Pop stars George Michael (June 6-7) and Justin Timberlake (June 30-July 1) each play two nights at the RDS, while mega-diva Barbra Streisand plays her first Irish gig ever at Castletown House, Celbridge, Co Kildare, on July 14.

There are also foreign options to consider with the Glastonbury festival in England (June 22-24) returning with another typically strong line-up.

Also worth a look are the Roskilde Festival in Denmark (July 5-8) and the International Festival in Benicassim, Spain (July 19-22). Further afield, arguably the best of the lot is the Austin City Limits Festival in Texas.(September 14-16). Later, the autumn sees reformed '80s chart-toppers The Police will bring their geriatric rock to Croke Park, Dublin, on October 6. One thing's for sure: we're not short of options this summer when it comes to live music.

Daniel McConnell

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