by Fiona O’ Connell
As we form a collective slump through the doors of the Boole, a little on the plump side from all the Roses and the stuffing sandwiches, and a little on the sleepy side from relentless ‘casual’ catch-ups in the local, it’s difficult to refrain from dreaming of the next break, unrestricted by assignment deadlines and lectures. While it may seem a bit of a stretch to be talking about Summer and all that it brings already, I think it’s important to always have something to look forward to; be it that next road trip, exciting holiday destination, or even a festival. Festivals aren’t exactly on the cheap side nor is travelling to get there, so here is a compilation of our own little island’s top festivals that you should consider attending this Summer.
Body & Soul is one of Ireland’s longest-running and most successful music festivals. Nestled in the heart of the woods, Body and Soul provides a truly unique experience for attendees. What once catered for a very niche market has grown and expanded into an ever flourishing wonderland, filled with art installations, workshops, trucks filled with various global cuisine, and of course, a wide array of interesting indie music acts both from all over the world. Playing host to just under 10’000 visitors last year, Body and Soul has gained a reputation as one of the highlights of the Irish Summer. With a shifting focus between inspiring musical performances, rejuvenation and wellbeing in the form of seaweed baths and wood-fired hot tubs, the festival also places a strong emphasis on sustainability with their banning of single-use plastics on site. Just this year Electric Picnic announced that the Body & Soul arena of their festival would not feature in the 2020 edition of the festival in Stradbally. This was lamented on various online forums and social media as many Electric Picnic goers saw the area as one of the best features of the festival – in case you needed any more reason to visit the actual festival in its all of its glory.
Where: Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath When: 19th-21st June
All Together Now is one of those festivals that feels as if it has been around forever as a result of their hugely impressive global lineup as well as its reputation as one of the most exciting, eco-friendly, and all-round enjoyable festivals this country has ever produced. In reality this year’s edition of the festival is only its third but is already highly anticipated after the whopping musical performances of the last two years featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, and Fleet Foxes. It is worth noting that the festival has an over 21’s only policy, ensuring a slightly older crowd as well as welcoming families with young children to enjoy all the festival has to offer. Sustainability is a primary focus of the festival and has been since it’s birth in 2018. With a total ban on single-use plastics as well as partnerships with Bus Eireann and GoCar to promote the use of public transport and carpooling to the site, the festival organisers are truly doing all in their power to provide an environmentally friendly and sustainable festival experience. While many festivals have begun to limit their plastic use, ATN really does seem like one of the most-forward thinking and progressive festivals in their policies and efforts towards a sustainable festival experience.
Where: Curraghmore Estate, Co. Waterford When: 2nd-4th August
If you’re looking to remain within the Cork region whilst still straying from city life, It Takes a Village could be the festival for you. Taking place in Trabolgan at the very start of the Irish summer, this festival provides a unique experience in that instead of tents, attendees are encouraged to rent a house on site or drive into the festival in campervans providing an extra level of comfort whilst still ensuring the craic-filled campsite atmosphere is maintained. With a significantly smaller attendance than the likes of Body & Soul or All Together Now, ITAV provides a family-friendly experience with a focus on promoting up-and-coming Irish talent; last year the festival played host to Junior Brother and Pillow Queens who proceeded to have incredible festival seasons only furthering their progression as ones to be watched in the Irish music scene. An intimate and entirely one of a kind festival, this one is certainly not to be missed.
Where: Trabolgan, Co. Cork When: 8th-10th May