It’s probably the hipster in me talking but there’s definitely an appeal to going a little bit off the beaten track this summer, especially in terms of festivals. Maybe it’s the shorter lines at the portaloos or the bragging rights when you ‘discover’ an as yet unheard of act or maybe you just like things that are a little bit left of centre. Whatever your reason, here’s a list of my top 5 quirky Irish festivals.
Set in the grounds of Charleville Castle in Tullamore, Castlepalooza is a hidden gem in what will be festival-packed August Bank Holiday weekend this year (a nod to Indiependence and the Galway Races.) Complete with a moate and castle, Castlepalooza has some of the most impressive camping options you’ll find anywhere this summer! Watch out also for the restored 17th century castle which throws open the doors and allows punters to use the toilets! With a wide ranging line-up including Oh Boland, Hvmmingbyrd, Farah Elle, Spud Gun, Le Boom and an impressive comedy set up boasting comedians like Deirdre O’Kane, Fred Cooke, PJ Gallagher among others this boutique festival promises to be another excellent outing.
Tier 3 weekend camping tickets are available via Ticketmaster and priced at €139 + BF
Castlepalooza Main Stage, 2015.
4. Live on Air
Until David McGowan hauled a decommissioned Boeing 747 to his Quirky Nights glamping site, I’d never even heard of Eniscrone, Co. Sligo. Determined to capitalise on the popularity of the ‘Big Yoke’ and put Eniscrone firmly on the map for once and for all, McGowan is launching Live on Air, a new mixed-genre festical which takes place on May 26th and 27th. The lineup has a distinctly homegrown flavour with acts such as the Riptide Movement, Hothouse Flowers, Wyvern Lingo, Meltybrains? Hermitage Green, Moxie, Disco na mBo as well as recent Choice Music Prize winners, Rusangano Family, all featuring.
Weekend camping tickets, priced at €100 are now sold out but day tickets are still available via Eventbrite.
3. Ériu – Irish Decompression (June 9th – June 11th)
Dubbed as Ireland’s Burning Man, that sets the bar remarkably high for this festival. Details are sketchy and with performance submissions still open, there are few lineup details. However, if the hype surrouding this gather is to be believed this is a weekend not to be missed. Based around the 10 principles of Burning Man, one of which is participation, there is a heavy emphasis on community and volunteering. Only 500 tickets are sold, with ticket revenue funding the cost of running the festival. This year’s decompression takes place in Stradbally from June 9th – 11th and further details can be found on the Facebook event page.
Low income tickets are available via Eventbrite.
2. Beatyard (August 5th & 6th)
Beatyard has been knocking around for the past couple of years but this year’s lineup has certainly propelled it to the forefront of my mind. Eh, Mark Ronson anyone? This 2 day event takes place in Dun Laoghaire and the theme is nautical boogie. It’s an urban festival so perfect for those who are fond of their creature comforts and don’t fancy the rough and tumble of actually camping. The lineup has plenty to be excited about with the aforementioned Mark Ronson appearing alongside the likes of Rusangano Family, Horsemeat Disco, Candi Station, Bananarama, Fish Go Deep and Kila.
Weekend tickets are available for €89 + BF via Eventbrite with single day tickets priced at €59.
1. Townlands Carnival (July 21st – 23rd)
Nestled in amongst the byroads of Macroom, Townlands Carnival is Cork’s best kept secret. With an extensive collection of stages and props that a festival 5 times its’ size would be proud of, Townlands becomes its own utopia for the weekend. Mimicing an old saloon town, complete with swinging doors and shuttered windows, stages are nestled behind elaborate facades that would not look out of place in Acme Acres. The Irish-inspired Sibin stage is home to a number of homegrown rising stars while the other stages play host to a huge variety of musical genres; everything from electronic to techno to reggae to folk is catered for. The hugely diverse lineup attracts people from all walks of life and creates great vibes around the campsite. This year’s line up includes Hermitage Green, Stomptown Bass, Jack O’Rourke, Rubberbandits, Neon Atlas, Le Boom and many more to be announced.
Tier 2 tickets for Townlands Carnival are priced at €105 + bf.
Jerry Fish playing the mainstage at TLC in 2016