Jim Car­roll runs through the top 20 picks of the mu­sic fes­ti­val sea­son,

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FRONT PAGE -

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.



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