Artists still rolling up for summer shows
Just when you thought there was absolutely no room left for anyone else on the Irish summer festival bandwagon, along come 50 Cent, Elton John and Sister Sledge looking to get onboard.
Fiddy and Elton are the latest additions to the Live at the Marquee season in Cork. It is probably the only summer fest on the planet where you will find Slayer, Antony & The Johnsons and Duran Duran on the same run as Cascada, Christy Moore and Podge & Rodge. They really do things differently in Cork.
Meanwhile, Sister Sledge are the headliners at Castle Palooza, the festival at Charleville Castle in Co Offaly which features not just Irish and international stars, but also flushing loos as a festival attraction. Irish talent appearing at this one includes the excellent Fight Like Apes, The Chapters and Prison Love.
All these new additions indicate that there is still a considerable appetite amongst Irish music fans for live music in the open air or under canvas, no matter how many new shows are added. While criticisms about high ticket prices have been aired (whines as regular and predictable as students moaning about the holding of elections on a Thursday), they have not impacted hugely on attendances, if the number of sold-out shows is any bellwether of the seasonal trends.
It’s interesting to compare the Irish situation with the British festival experience. Across the Irish Sea, over 450 events will take place this summer. Aside from the main headline-grabbers and hugely commercial events such as Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds and V, there are now dozens and dozens of more esoteric and smaller-scale festivals on the calendar.
A piece in the Observer newspaper profiled such potentially fascinating gatherings as the Underage Festival (aimed exclusively at under-18s), the End of the Road festival, Tapestry Goes West, Sunrise Celebration and the Secret Garden Party.
There would most certainly be a warm welcome in many quarters over here for similar smaller, specialised and non-commercial festivals to join the ranks of Oxegen and Electric Picnic. While the likes of Life, Day Of Darkness and the excellent Mantua tick all the right boxes in this regard, there is still probably room for more would-be festival chiefs to have a go. Maybe next summer?
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