With perfect timing, Mark Graham brings his three-year Protest of Positivity to an end
‘W e lost the run of ourselves” - a summary of the bubble bath of bad banking decisions that led to our collective submergence into economic hot water that steams me up like Davy Fitzgearld in the grip of disallowed-goal-rage.
WE didn’t leave the immersion on (safe to assume the politicians and high-ranking bank officials who had their fingers on the switch and hands in the hot-press don’t frequent this patch of papier real-estate). The throwaway refrain boils my blood so much, it built up a head of steam powerful enough to propel me through a three-year campaign to attend as many Irish festivals as physical and mental well-being would allow.
It wasn’t just the accusation that I had contributed to our economic woes that set me off on a steam-powered sulk. I’d squirreled away a 10 per cent deposit for a house, but mortgage applications were met with deaf ears. In one instance I was told that if I amassed a 20 per cent deposit within three months, I could reapply. Feck that! These clowns had a worse credit rating than I did and they were expecting me to kowtow to them?
I used the deposit to buy a fourthhand VW camper and I decided to opt out of our broken banking system, venturing out on what I initially called a “Protest of Positivity”. It was really just an elaborate scheme to cheer myself up. It worked wonderfully.
The plan was to attend three festivals every week for an entire year, but I overshot the target somewhat. During the first 12 months, I hit 183 festivals, and unable to stop, I continued these en-fete frolics for three years – and was lucky enough to be afforded the opportunity to pepper these pages with my meandering misadventures for most of the trip.
Every shindig in Ireland
Having attended every shindig in Ireland that I’ve ever wanted to sample (and several I never want to see again), the frenzied festivaling is being called to a halt. This is the last Festival Fit and my irregular blogging will be grinding to a complete halt.
It’s not that I won’t be going to festivals any more, I’ll just be choosing more wisely, spending some quality time at the good ones – and the intensified midweek fear that writing post-festival analysis used to bring will be banished. It’s not a huge transition, I was never the most diligent of festival correspondents, the experiential ap- proach always won out.
As the leaves start to fall on our fields and on my festival journalism, I’ve earmarked a few autumnal chestnuts to keep up my post-paper festival fitness – Spirit of Folk Festival in Meath next week, the celebration of gypsy jazz and craft beer in Co Tipperary at Cloughto-berfest at the beginning of October, and Fading Light Festival in Caherdaniel Co Kerry over the October Bank-Holiday weekend. There’ll also be a spin to The Matchmaking in Lisdoon during September to indulge once more in the deranged debauchery that see’s the usually quaint Co Clare hamlet transformed into Ibiza for boggers. I can’t resist it.
After three years spent sampling sessions all over our shores on this precarious protest of positivity, I’ve learned a thing or two. The only way Monasterevin Venice of Ireland Festival resembles La Serenissima is that I sighed deeply on a bridge there. I would rather dip my genitals into a starved cage-fighting rottweiler’s bowl at feeding time than attend the Bray One Act Drama Festival again.
And most importantly, even though we might still be short of a few bob, the people I’ve been lucky enough to encounter at festivals all over Ireland have a wealth of character, creativity, curiosity, imagination, generosity, divilment, wildness and a deep reserve of laughter. Thank you all for making the last three years the best of my life (so far!) and thanks for reading.
Safe travels, don’t die.
Divilment brewing: One more cuppa before you go
I need a match: Hughie displays his wealth of character