IT’S SHOW­TIME IN THE SPIEGEL­TENT!

Wexford People - - FRONT PAGE - By JIM HAYES

WHEN the idea of a fes­ti­val in a ‘tent’ on Wex­ford’s quays was first mooted six years ago, few be­lieved it had any chance of suc­cess.

Now, the Wex­ford Spiegel­tent Fes­ti­val is one of the high­points on the town’s en­ter­tain­ment cal­en­dar, bring­ing in acts who would not oth­er­wise con­sider a Wex­ford per­for­mance, par­tic­u­larly around the time of the Opera Fes­ti­val when the town’s premier per­ma­nent venue, the Opera House, is un­avail­able.

The se­cret of the Spiegel­tent Fes­ti­val’s suc­cess is the venue. Back in 2012, vi­sions of a mar­quee-type tent filled with plas­tic chairs and a ply­wood stage were quickly dis­pelled when the first spiegel­tent ar­rived on the ferry from the UK. Not so much a tent as a pop-up mu­sic hall, the or­nately dec­o­rated spiegel­tent, built of wood and can­vas, with mir­rors and stained glass fea­tures, had a vin­tage charm all of its own.

The draw of the spiegel­tent would not have been enough with­out the lo­ca­tion. Stick a spiegel­tent in a field and there’s no guar­an­tee the peo­ple will come; stick it on one of the coun­try’s best wa­ter­front civic spa­ces and there’s every chance they will. The oc­ca­sional clack­ety-clack of a pass­ing train only adds to the nov­elty value.

In the few years since the first Wex­ford Spiegel­tent Fes­ti­val, many no­table artists have fallen for the lure of the spiegel­tent - Bell X1, Paul Young, Christy Moore, Albert Ham­mond, Steve Earle, Mick Flan­nery, and Dono­van among them.

This year, Bob Geldof and the Boom­town Rats join that grow­ing list.

Never a man stuck for words, it will be in­ter­est­ing to hear what Geldof has to say about his spiegel­tent ex­pe­ri­ence, a far cry from the Rats’ pre­vi­ous Wex­ford per­for­mance 42 years ago in The Dol­phin at the top of The Faythe. That was be­fore Band Aid, Live Aid and even the hits, like ‘Rat Trap’ and ‘I Don’t Like Mon­days’, that brought the Ir­ish up­starts chart glory and fame across the Ir­ish Sea and be­yond.

These days the Boom­town Rats are among a moun­tain of acts ply­ing their wares un­der the um­brella of ‘nos­tal­gia’, but that will hadly stop Mr Geldof spitting the same venom as his younger self in the Spiegel­tent Par­adiso, if the mood takes him.

The Boom­town Rats play on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 28, and - in­cred­i­bly - it’s not yet a sell­out.

The same can’t be said for some of the Spiegel­tent Fes­ti­val’s other at­trac­tions. ‘Liv­ing Next Door To Alice’ hit­mak­ers Smokie play open­ing night, this com­ing Fri­day, and there’s not a ticket to be had for love nor money.

Other sell­outs in­clude Tommy Tier­nan on Satur­day, 13; The Stun­ning the fol­low­ing Satur­day; and broth­ers Harry and Al­fie Hud­son-Tay­lor, AKA Hud­son Tay­lor, on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 26.

At the time of writ­ing, tick­ets re­main for all the other Spiegel­tent shows: Wild Youth and Chas­ing Abbey co-head­lin­ing this com­ing Fri­day night, start­ing 10.30 p.m.

The Blind­boy Pod­cast (with Blind­boy of the Rub­ber­ban­dits) at 7 p.m. on Satur­day.

Bosco’s Gar­den and Cin­derella, for all the lit­tle peo­ple, at noon on Sun­day.

John B Keane’s The Match­maker, with Glen­roe’s Biddy (Mary McEvoy) and co­me­dian Jon Kenny, at 8 p.m. on Sun­day.

Lo­cal duos The Ocelots (twins Bran­don and Ash­ley Wat­son) and Bas­civille (broth­ers Cil­lian and Lor­can Byrne), 8 p.m., Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 16.

Johnny McEvoy, Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 17, at 8 p.m.

A trio of come­di­ennes, Deirdre O’Kane, Emma Do­ran and Julie Jay, Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 18, at 7 p.m.

Her­mitage Green, Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 18, at 10 p.m.

The Pro­hi­bi­tion Party, with mu­sic by the Elec­tric Swing Cir­cus, af­ter the fire­works, at 9 p.m. on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 19.

Paul Noo­nan, the Bell X1 front­man, solo in-th­er­ound, at 7 p.m. on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 20.

OTT Wrestling, noon on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 21.

Water­ford Whis­pers, the show spawned by the pop­u­lar satir­i­cal web­site of the same name, 8 p.m. on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 21.

The Pea­cock Par­lour hosted by Foxy P. Cox and star­ring spe­cial guest Jerry Fish, 8 p.m., Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 23.

Bren­dan Grace, 8 p.m., Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 24.

Paul Brady with Steve

Fletcher, Bill Shan­ley and Suzanne Sav­age, 7 p.m., Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 25.

The Aca­demic, the fourpiece from West­meath, 10 p.m. Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 25.

Neil De­lamere, 7 p.m., Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 26.

Deloren­tos, on their True Sur­ren­der Tour, 7 p.m., Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 27.

Some­thing Hap­pens, Tom Dunne and his band, who last ap­peared on the Spiegel­tent stage in 2016, back on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 27 at 10 p.m.

Hor­rid Helga’s Vic­to­rian Cir­cus prom­ises to fire up the imag­i­na­tion in crazy style on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 28 at noon.

Danny O’Brien, co­me­dian, on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 28, at 7 p.m.

The Wex­ford Male Voice Choir close the fes­ti­val in fine voice on Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 30, at 2 p.m.

• Tick­ets for the Wex­ford Spiegel­tent Fes­ti­val are avail­able on­line at www.wex­ford­spiegel­tent.com and at the Box Of­fice on Wex­ford’s Main Street (053 9199199).

1, The Boom­town Rats; 2, Some­thing Hap­pens; 3, Jon Kenny and Mary McEvoy in The Match­maker; 4, Foxy P. Cox, who hosts the Pea­cock Par­lour; 5, Bren­dan Grace; 6, char­ac­ters from Helga’s Vic­to­rian Cir­cus; 7, Wild Youth; 8, Emma Do­ran and Julie Jay; 9, Bosco. PIC­TURED... 1 3 2

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