Party sorted

Get the tent out of the at­tic. Get the wellies out of the shed. Lo­cate the denim cut-offs. It’s time to party. Jim Car­roll on the Ir­ish fes­ti­vals com­ing to a field near you

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

YOU KNOW the Ir­ish sum­mer is on its way when lists like this ap­pear. Be­tween now and the end of Septem­ber, there are mu­sic fes­ti­vals and out­door shows hap­pen­ing al­most ev­ery sin­gle week try­ing to at­tract you, your wal­let and your wellies.

This sum­mer, it’s not just the weather and those over-used wal­lets , though, that will de­cide at­ten­dances at events. There’s also Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine and the Olympics in London to di­vert at­ten­tion from live mu­sic. How­ever, such com­pe­ti­tion hasn’t stopped pro­mot­ers from ply­ing their wares and hav­ing a go.

There are some no­table ab­sen­tees from this year’s cal­en­dar. For starters there’s no sign of Ox­e­gen. The Punchestow­n fes­ti­val is tak­ing a break this year, though few ex­pect it to re­turn in the same for­mat or at the same site again. Last year’s Ox­e­gen was tired and bor­ing – a re­jig was long over­due. In­stead, pro­moter MCD is hop­ing Ox­e­gen fans will splash out on a trio of shows at the Phoenix Park with The Stone Roses, Swedish House Mafia and Snow Pa­trol top­ping the bills.

Up to 10 days ago, Sum­mer Ses­sions would have been on this list, but prob­lems de­liv­er­ing de­posits to high-pro­file acts such as The Hu­man League and The Stran­glers and a lack of ad­vance ticket sales scup­pered the pro­posed three­day bash at Dublin’s Iveagh Gar­dens. It’s a warn­ing to new­bie pro­mot­ers of the per­ils of putting on a fes­ti­val while the re­ces­sion shows no signs of abat­ing. Sadly, there are other fes­ti­vals listed here that will un­doubt­edly run into sim­i­lar fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties this sum­mer.

What is pleas­ing to see, though, is the re­turn of events such as Sea Ses­sions, Castlepalo­oza, Indiepen­dence, Knock­an­stockan and Body & Soul. There may be a no­table public shift away from the big come-allye – Ox­e­gen’s dis­ap­pear­ance has as much to do with re­duced box-of­fice ap­peal as any­thing else – but there’s a cor­re­spond­ing growth in smaller, niche fes­ti­vals. These events know their au­di­ences and their mu­si­cal likes and dis­likes and book their events ac­cord­ingly. That these fes­ti­vals come back year in, year out is to be ap

plauded. Here’s what lies ahead on the Ir­ish fes­ti­val and gig­ging agenda over the next cou­ple of months. We’ll see you out

there. Bel­lur­gan Park, Dun­dalk, Co Louth, May 4-6. Week­end tick­ets ¤89, day tick­ets ¤40

God is an As­tro­naut, Cathy Davey, Frankie Gavin & De Dan­nan, The Spook of the Thir­teenth Lock, Le Galaxie, Orig­i­nal Rude­boys, Ham Sand­wich. Friendly fest in a smash­ing part of the coun­try, which wel­comes folks with and with­out camper vans. Var­i­ous venues, May 4-7 Tick­ets ¤10-¤20 de­pend­ing on act. Alabama Shakes, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Amanda Shires, Willy Vlautin/richard Buck­ner, Rod Pi­cott, Char­lie Parr, Dan Baird & Home­made Sin. The fes­ti­val that has been pro­vid­ing choice Amer­i­cana and roots fare since 1998 in the Mar­ble City. T13, Belfast, June 1-2. Week­end tick­ets £66, day ticket £39 New Or­der, Happy Mon­days, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Fac­tory Floor, Anna Calvi, Ghost­poet, Er­rors. ex­cited gen­tle­men of a cer­tain age will be gush­ing over the Happy Mon­days and New Or­der play­ing within sight of the old Har­land & Wolff gantry cranes. Killinchy, Co Down, June 1-3. Week­end camp­ing £35, Satur­day £20 Mojo Fury, Not Squares, Mmoths, Fight­ing with Wire, Lafaro, Jog­ging, Square­head, RSAG, Tier­an­niesaur. More than 1,500 giddy mu­sic fans turned up for last year’s event and or­gan­is­ers ex­pect even more for this year’s fifth it­er­a­tion of the fes­ti­val with the coolest name of all.

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