Wood­stock it was not, but the Trip to Tipp was mighty

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE - Pure and Sem­ple: The Trip to Tipp in 1993 PHOTO: NLI COL­LEC­TION

and that on the back of a strong Bri­tish mar­ket­ing cam­paign, it was ac­tu­ally lur­ing pun­ters from those tra­di­tional fix­tures. The main stage was one of the world’s big­gest, and fit­ted with a state-of-the-art traf­fic light sys­tem warn­ing acts they had 10 min­utes (green), five min­utes (am­ber) and one minute re­main­ing (red) to clear off or face a fine. Pre­fig­ur­ing the boom, Féile was a mis­sion state­ment to the wider world from a newly con­fi­dent Ire­land along the lines of any­thing you can do, we can do bet­ter.

Some in­no­va­tions were fad­dishly of their time, like the Video Con­fes­sion Box dis­clo­sures broad­cast by Dustin The Turkey on the gi­ant screens of Féile TV. There were touches of in­ge­nu­ity, too. In the days when mo­bile phones were still bricky and patchy, mo­tor­cy­cle couri­ers with pagers were a key link in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work for a fes­ti­val that took over an en­tire town­land. Some of the big­gest stars on the planet, Bryan Adams in­cluded, dis­cov­ered that the eas­i­est way to move around the sprawl­ing site was to stick on a crash hel­met and move through the crowds un­no­ticed on the back of a mo­tor­bike as the courier’s spe­cial de­liv­ery pack­age.

There were down­sides. There was camp­site chaos at the sec­ond Féile when campers, un­able to sleep be­cause of the din, pulled the plugs on noisy gen­er­a­tors, lead­ing to scenes of pitch-dark chaos. And the queues for the ladies toi­lets proved an in­tractable never-end­ing story. A Féile spokesman didn’t help when he sug­gested it was an un­winnable bat­tle, say­ing: “Ladies just take longer than men in the jacks. The only way to speed them up is to re­move the mir­rors.” Chris de Burgh’s en­gage­ment of a scant­ily clad woman for ‘Pa­tri­cia The Strip­per’ em­pha­sised that Ire­land was still much closer in time to the 1970s than to 2018.

Throw­backs aside, the early Féiles were a sign­post to­wards an op­ti­mistic new de­par­ture, though for at least one band the Trip To Tipp turned out to be the end of the line. The out­fit ar­rived into the hospi­tal­ity tent af­ter fin­ish­ing a de­serted lunchtime slot. As they drowned their sor­rows, their gui­tarist an­nounced he’d had enough and was quit­ting the band. Hun­dreds looked on in as­ton­ish­ment, as his band­mates gave him a spec­tac­u­lar send off, punch­ing him across a big pic­nic ta­ble send­ing beer glasses fly­ing in a bar-room brawl scene worthy of Dodge City. It was shock­ing to watch, but it did in part in­spire the head­line ‘Teenage Mu­tant Binge At Thurles,’ which I’m proud to claim as all my own work.

When Féile left Sem­ple Sta­dium af­ter 1994 it was like Spurs re­lo­cat­ing to Wem­b­ley. Home ad­van­tage was lost and the at­mos­phere was gone. Most of all, though, the mo­ment had passed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.