fore­warn­ing: gird your loins for an Easter weekend of un­holy mu­sic ses­sions, warns Mark Gra­ham

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN&GAMES - ayearoffes­ti­valsinire­land.com

‘Ah c’mere, why didn’t you tell me that one was on?” If Bill Cullen had a euro for ev­ery time I’ve heard that re­frain from a for­lorn fes­ti­val ab­sen­tee . . . Easter weekend is loom­ing large, and it’s not just a time for self-flag­el­la­tion with egg wrap­pers and hot-cross buns. There’s a fes­ti­val storm of bi­b­li­cal pro­por­tions brew­ing.

This day week will see the sev­enth in­car­na­tion of the what the Barn Dance posse call “Ire­land’s only BYO mu­sic and arts fes­ti­val”. Venues, night­clubs and pubs all over the coun­try pull down their shut­ters for Good Fri­day, but the Barn Dance boyos en­cour­age people to hit the offy on Thurs­day to stock up for their mys­tery tour on Fri­day.

The venue for the fes­ti­val is a closely guarded se­cret, but once you catch the Barn Dance bus or train, it takes you about 50 clicks out­side Dublin to the ses­sion site.

Barn Dance is a bash that’s big on beats, buzz and bumper cars. Acts such as Her­mitage Green and Smash Hits sug­gest a main­stream commercial con­cern, but these are off­set nicely by The Min­utes, Booka Brass Band, and King Kong Com­pany (one of the early an­nounce­ments for Body & Soul). DJ Yoda and Jamie Jones are act­ing deck­hands for the evening, and any­one who’s caught Yoda’s thumpin’ and en­ter­tain­ing multimedia mix­ing will un­der­stand why he’s mak­ing a re­turn trip to Bun­do­ran this year to rock Sea Ses­sions all over again. Ex­pect Darby O’Gill to be dropped in the mix.

Buses for Barn Dance’s mys­tery tour leave from Cus­tom House Quay, and fes­ti­val trains from Con­nolly Sta­tion also stop off in Bray. On a day when eter­nal dam­na­tion might be a con­cern, I’d rec­om­mend get­ting the train: at least you can say you’ve done “The Sta­tions”.


An­other crew risk­ing the fires of hell in or­der to dis­tract you from your de­vo­tions are the folks be­hind Tramore Ska and Reg­gae Fes­ti­val. Neville Sta­ple, The Spe­cials roustabout, will lead the sea­side shuf­fle and skank on Good Fri­day. Keep sketch for The Toast­ers, a dy­namic New York City out­fit who spread the gospel of Ska state­side. The Two Tone fans at the hop in Trá Mhor will strive to prove that dancing can in­deed be a form of de­vo­tion.

If you miss the train to Skav­ille, fear not – Rub-A-Dublin is a one-day reg­gae fes­ti­val on Easter Sun­day, brought to the Dublin Mas­sive by Ir­ish Moss records. Tro­jan Sound Sys­tem (see in­ter­view, page 9) and Dirty Dub­sters will deal out the one-drop in The Twisted Pep­per, with some au­then­tic Jerk Chicken, rice and peas pro­vided for skank­ing sus­te­nance. Be­ware of Ras­tas swing­ing thuri­bles.

The Phase One Elec­tronic Arts Fes­ti­val in Car­rick-on-Shannon may not seem like a re­lax­ing Easter re­treat. But if the prospect of big beats and blind­ing bulbs doesn’t in­spire calm, the op­por­tu­nity to shack up in a Shannon cruiser for the weekend might just float some boats. Disco bun­nies will be drop­ping their eggs and shak­ing their legs at Ter­ra­nova, Sid Le Rock and An­drea Parker, while King Kong Com­pany sur­face here again on Easter Sun­day.

If those ses­sions aren’t sac­ri­le­gious enough for ya, more than 500 vik­ings will de­scend on St Anne’s Park in Ra­heny to reen­act some pil­lag­ing and monastery sack­ing. Luck­ily the ma­raud­ers at Clon­tarf Vik­ing Fes­ti­val are a friendly bunch who only sim­u­late slaugh­ter. Booka Brass Band pop up again here. Ra­heny should be an en­ter­tain­ing op­tion for any­one push­ing a pram.

The se­lec­tion of un­holy ses­sions on of­fer over Easter will un­doubt­edly at­tract hordes of heav­ing hea­thens, so get your san­dals laced up and your shekels sorted, lest you end up for­saken and cross in Co Lim­er­ick at the pas­sion play up on Nicker Hill. Con­sider this your burn­ing bush.

Safe trav­els, don’t die.



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