Cormac Lehnen recounts all the music events from the summer, that you might have missed.
As you may have noticed from the recent onslaught of photos posted on social media, Electric Picnic has come and gone for another year, and for many festival-goers, the three-day event in Stradbally has become a sort of ritualistic pilgrimage which marks an end to summer. Now it’s all over, we’re taking a look back on some of the highlights brought to us by the litany of festivals which have taken place in unique settings across the country this summer. From the crashing waves of Donegal’s Sea Sessions, to the picturesque woodland gardens of Curraghmore House, which hosted the inaugural year of Waterford’s All Together Now, here is your summer festival roundup.
Cast your minds back to the beginning of summer, when this year’s line-up of festivals kicked off with the return of Life, which took place in the stunning location of Belvedere House. The emphasis placed on female performers was fitting, as Life coincided with the weekend Ireland voted to Repeal the 8th. The electronic-infused sound of the festival delighted the mostly young crowd, many of whom swear by Life as the quintessential summer experience.
A few weeks later, nestled in the heart of Kilmainham, Forbidden Fruit returned for a glorious sun-filled three days of music, with acts such as Glass Animals and Justice kicking off the first day. Indeed, it was Forbidden Fruit’s stellar line-up that truly saved the festival, as the compact grounds may be growing tiresome for returning guests, who are given little to really explore around the grounds. Those who attended in 2017 may recall the wash-out which ensued due to downpours. Thankfully, this year saw crowds basking in the sun, which allowed the three-day event to live up to its potential as the blissful beginning of a scorching summer in the capital.
Donegal’s Sea Sessions celebrated its tenth birthday this year, with anthemic-indie band Walking on Cars topping the bill, alongside British acts Dizzee Rascal and Rudimental. The surf ‘n’ music infused festival offers its punters a truly unique experience which has earned itself a loyal following, and rightly so. The picturesque surroundings of Bundoran beach encapsulate the early summer feeling perfectly, and the crowds truly felt as if the holidays were just beginning. Once again, attendees were graced with sunny weather which, accompanied by the unbeatable shore setting, makes Sea Sessions a truly one of a kind experience.
Complete with a lake and gardens which were full of nooks and crannies waiting to be explored, Curraghmore House offers its attendees an authentic outdoor experience rather than bombarding them with commercial entities. The emphasis on visual stimuli gave All Together Now a unique character which you would be hard-pressed to find at the other festivals we’ve mentioned. Unlike Electric Picnic, punters were not stopped before entering the main arena, and were allowed to bring their own cans with them throughout the grounds which gave way to a more relaxed and immersive atmosphere, along with removing the feeling of being restricted that, unfortunately, many other festivals have had to resort to for security. The age policy of over 21s also helped the festival to set itself apart from the likes of Longitude, which is fast becoming known as a Transition Years’ retreat. Due to the older crowd and lack of expectation, there was a general feeling that people were actually there for the music. Perhaps the crown jewel of All Together Now was the fire-breathing Arcadia Spectacular Stage, which stole the show every night. This festival’s debut was an undoubted success and many are saying that it could become the new Electric Picnic if they continue with the same laid back approach as they did this year.
With early bird tickets having already sold out in record time, Electric Picnic continues to dominate the Irish festival scene. This year’s line up was surely their most pop-centric to date, with acts such as Dua Lipa and the ‘love em or hate em’ Picture This taking to the Main Stage. However, returning Picnickers were still spoilt for choice with a wide range of acts performing in tents scattered around the site. Queuing was the biggest problem faced by the crowds over the weekend, but with it being Ireland’s largest festival, that was to be expected. Notable highlights of the weekend included performances by Massive Attack, Nile Rodgers & Chic, King Krule, Nina Kraviz and the The Prodigy, to name a few. One thing is for sure, the Picnic is putting up a hard fight to remain the quintessential Irish festival.
Now with college back in full swing, we’ll have to wait until next year for the cycle of summer festivals to return, but until then, try not to curl up into a fear ridden ball every time someone posts a scaldy picture of a weekend you can cringe at, yet remember fondly simultaneously.