Jim Carroll runs through the top 20 picks of the music festival season,
Here we go – again. The fields and parks are calling, the PA hire companies are loading their wares onto trucks and promoters are crossing their fingers, buying radio ads and dusting off their Child of Prague statues. If it’s the summer, that means dozens and dozens of music festivals and live shows – all organised and staged with one eye on the fabled Irish weather.
Between now and the end of September, outdoor festivals and shows will happen every single weekend somewhere on the island. The event organisers who are risking their shirts this season are fervently hoping that you will buy tickets for their events. While you probaby want to get as many of these shows as possible, chances are you’re going with your social network and the wisdom of the crowd will dictate who goes where.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing packed summer schedules but this year takes it to new extremes. With the exception of metal fans, who are always marginalised, every taste and genre is more than adequately catered for.
You want big superstar acts (or Bon Jovi) playing to thousands of fans in the pouring rain? You got ’em! You want a boutique festival full of hip, new bands that make you feel like a
Pitchfork writer? We have it! You want the old familiar reliables such as Oxegen or the Electric Picnic? Step this way!
But while there is something for (almost) everyone in the audience, the question is whether there’s an audience for everything on offer and live music industry observers will be keenly watching for signs of a soft market.
We’ve seen various festivals in the past succumb to the curse of “unforeseen circumstances” and not every event scheduled for the coming months is going to be a winner. After all, the break-even point for all events is quite high because of the costs involved, and the competition for sales is fierce. To quote a recently departed football manager, it’s squeaky bum time for festival bookers and music promoters.
Punters, though, will have no such concerns. They will just want to rock up to a field, hear some fantastic acts and have the crack. Here, then, are the 20 events we’re recommending for the next few months.