The upcoming Hard Working Class Heroes festival is a hotbed of unsigned talent, as Cormac Duffy finds out

In musical spheres, the word ‘festival’ conjures an elaborate image of mud, tents, alcohol, mud, casual sex, and of course, mud. Mercifully, there is an annual Dublin-based event to remind us that one need not sacrifice the comforts of civilised society for the sake of quality music. Hard Working Class Heroes (HWCH) will be taking over the city centre on the nights of October 6th, 7th and 8th in order to showcase the best in new Irish music.

Speaking to Otwo, festival director Angela Dorgan explains how “It was set up to help promote Irish bands in an Irish music industry context.” Now in its ninth year, the festival has established the esteemed reputation of being a vital event for both fans and industry insiders to attend.

Fans will spend the three nights hopping between six of Dublin’s best venues (including the Button Factory, the Workman’s Club and the Grand Social), all of which are running simultaneous showcases. While audiences are subjected to an element of speculative hype, with everyone trying to determine what band could be the next reasonable-sized thing, it’s easy to take it in the here and now. A densely packed underground of music exists in Ireland, and much of it bypasses us before we have the chance to really take it in.

The festival gives attendees the privilege to surround themselves with this music for the weekend. When not playing Dublin’s best venues, bands will also be doing daytime gigs across the city, performing in everything from cafes to furniture shops.

With a line-up of one hundred bands, Otwo ask Dorgan to recommend a single act. “That is like asking me who is my favourite child!” she replies with a laugh. She does offer a suggestion to those unfamiliar with the acts however, advising that they check out the curated showcases, where bands performing are those selected by journalists as the ‘ones to watch’.

The days are also taken up by panel discussions from some of the brightest in the music business, aimed at new bands looking to get publicity. Talks are being given from concert bookers, festival organisers and members of the press. As Dorgan puts it, it is “information straight from the horse’s mouth from those you need to encounter as your career develops.” The keynote panel, ‘The Free Agenda’ tackles whether or not giving away free music can be a gateway to success. Given that this year is shaping up to be the tipping point for mixtape culture online, it’s an apt choice.

With a full pass costing a bargain €45, there’s no excuse for you to miss out on seeing your local musical heroes.

For the detailed line-up and schedule of events, see