Artists still rolling up for sum­mer shows

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

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?

Guess who? Rocket man for Cork

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