Three fes­ti­vals ev­ery week for a year. Mark Gra­ham gets ready for dooms­day

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES -

IF YOU’RE READ­ING this, it’s safe to as­sume that you’re not stand­ing on a beach with Thom Yorke and his gui­tar, feel­ing fine with Michael Stipe, in­volved in a pre-apoc­a­lyp­tic mé­nage à trois with Nick Cave, and the world hasn’t ended. Not yet any­way. You may not be in a po­si­tion to shell out for the priv­i­lege of head­ing up a moun­tain with the bunch of well-heeled French folk who have sought shel­ter at al­ti­tude in an Ar­maged­don-proof shel­ter, Bruce Wil­lis sta­tioned on the roof. The un­fair­ness of the world (and of be­ing omit­ted from la guestlist) was re­flected nicely in some­thing an 11-year-old boy had to say to me about the whole sit­u­a­tion: “The world is meant to end this Fri­day. That’s the day we’re get­ting our hol­i­days from school. Typ­i­cal!”

So what do we do while we wait for the day af­ter to­day? We can start by re­veal­ing the re­sults of the Fes­ti­val Fit branch of The Ticket Awards 2012.

Just be­fore we do that, though (oh, the sus­pense!), might I sug­gest some ways we can make a bit like Prince and party like it’s Mayan cal­en­dar time. We don’t need too much of an ex­cuse for fes­ti­valling at the best of times. We’ve been throw­ing ses­sions of dis­tinc­tion on De­cem­ber 21st for 2,500 years be­fore the three wise lads rocked up to the sta­ble in Beth­le­hem to see Him­self blow out the can­dles. There is a school of thought that sug­gests the early-morn­ing light­show in New­grange was a pre­cur­sor to the Pink Floyd ex­pe­ri­ence. The preChris­tian party raged through the night, and when that shaft of light hit the pas­sage­way, the crowd would erupt into a frenzy more pro­nounced than when Born Slippy kicked in at the end of Un­der­world’s set at Home­lands 1999.

The Na­tional Win­ter Sol­stice Fes­ti­val, due to take place tonight at the Na­tional Show Cen­tre near Dublin Air­port, has alas been can­celled due to poor ticket sales. The or­gan­is­ers took the in­ter­est­ing step of pur­posely mak­ing this an al­co­hol-free event. I sup­pose if the world is end­ing, it might be handy to have your wits about you. Or not.

If you like your pa­gan party to be rootsy, fear not: there is un­doubt­edly a stone cir­cle some­where near you where Ire­land’s druidic and shamanic com­mu­nity will be gath­er­ing to do the rites right. Drombeg stone cir­cle in Co Cork will see some ac­tion. You’d be sur­prised at how many peo­ple don cloaks and prac­tise this way of life as a re­li­gion. When it comes to fes­ti­valling, this crowd have brag­ging rights; they’re at it longer than any­one else and, to be per­fectly hon­est, pa­gans know how to really let their hair down. Luck­ily, I’m an equal-op­por­tu­nity fes­ti­valler.

I can now re­veal the fes­ti­val you voted best in show for The Ticket Awards 2012. The re­sults re­flect not just the pop­u­lar­ity of the fes­ti­vals (all 10 es­sen­tial in­clu­sions on your cal­en­dar as far as I’m con­cerned), but also the amount of peo­ple who at­tended each fes­ti­val. Prob­a­bly should have weighted it by at­ten­dance, but I’m shite at sums.

It fin­ishes Elec­tric Pic­nic by a length. A thor­ough­bred, no doubt. Body and Soul give a strong per­for­mance in sec­ond place, with Knock­ans­tockan chal­leng­ing all the way on the out­side, fin­ish­ing third in a strong field.

If the world doesn’t end tonight, I’ll see you at the 2013 fes­ti­vals.

Safe trav­els, don’t die.


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