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Picks of Summer Festivals 2013
Tents and stages spring up all over the country each summer, bringing some of the biggest bands in the world to Irish audiences, as well as the brightest homegrown acts. There are always many options when it comes to picking the best of the fests but this list narrows down the main attractions and weighs up the ticket prices (based on 2/3 nights + camping). Check out Nay’s blog Harmless Noise where she’s more on Irish bands performing on the 2013 festival circuit.
19-21 July, Marlay Park, Dublin
People happily fork over cash when a new festival appears with big name headliners and this year, it looks like the first Longitude will be a walk in the park for indie fans when it delivers the best line-up in the form of Kraftwerk, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend and slew more each day. It’s a three-day event with a curfew in the massive suburban south Dublin park which means a festival compromise: bring your wellies but go home to a warm bed at night.
Irish band to see: The Cast Of Cheers.
Ticket value (€149.50): Good.
2. Body & Soul
20-22 June, Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath.
Considered a precious gem after winning the hearts of festival goers with its chill-out zone in Electric Picnic, Body & Soul expanded to its own standalone festival, and this year brings Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds to Westmeath. As well as Solange Knowles, post-punk paragons PiL and America’s realest rockstar Kurt Vile, there’s also big draw of electronic fans to Body&Soul and this year’s special guest is a favourite of mine, German producer Pantha Du Prince.
Irish band to see: Almighty Sion.
Ticket value (€139): Good.
3. Forbidden Fruit
1-2 June, Kilmainham, Dublin.
Best value this year is the unlikely form of Forbidden Fruit. Its cool status once saw it dubbed a hipsters’ festival but the announcement of Kasabian and Primal Scream as this year’s headliners came as a considerable surprise. Perusal of the poster however throws up names like Chic, James Blake, Neon Neon, Four Tet and Health and hot newcomers Mykki Blanco and Jagwar Ma, and all-in, it’s the most fun for the least hassle.
Irish band to see: Halves.
Ticket value (€99.50): Good.
19-21 July, Eagle’s Rock, Derry.
There’s no fiercer streak of independence amongst Irish festivals than Glasgowbury, which celebrates its thirteenth year this summer. Loyal to the local scene as always, they’ve brought home some big names for the Derry two-day fest in the form of The Answer, ASIWYFA and The Japanese Popstars to add to the jam-packed line-up of talented Northern Ireland bands.
Irish band to see: Pigs As People.
Ticket value (£45/€53): Good.
29-30 June, Westport, Mayo.
Both a food and music festival, with its own adventure park of activities for kids, Westport is definitely the most family-centric weekend event on the summer calendar. There’s a certain vintage to the line-up with Elvis Costello, Martha Wainwright, Squeeze and Alabama 3 as well as Christy Moore, Imelda May, I Draw Slow and LAPD (Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Liam O’Flynn & Paddy Glackin). However the selection of new Irish bands on the bill is very strong and teens get a sizeable discount on tickets. Otherwise weighing dear on the scales for ticket sales, Westport is still the best fest in the west this year.
Irish band to see: Tieranniesaur.
Ticket value (€130): Moderate.
6. Electric Picnic
30 August-1 September, Stradbally, Laois.
The big dada of Irish indie music festivals, everyone was happy to hear that EP would go ahead and mark its tenth year, and while the event has been scaled back to a two-day affair, ticket prices have gone down a bit too. Attracting the broadest audience of music fans from all over Ireland, EP’s star attractions span from David Byrne and St Vincent to My Bloody Valentine, Franz Ferdinand, The Knife and Wu Tang Clan, while the top spots have gone to Fatboy Slim, Bjork and Arctic Monkeys.
Irish band to see: My Bloody Valentine.
Ticket value (€169.50): Moderate.
3-5 August, Mitchelstown, Cork.
There’s no doubt that De La Soul are a great draw as headliners but this year’s IndiePendence festival is a bit of a strange amalgamation of recognisable names that one wouldn’t expect to see on the same line-up. From old school hip hop to alternative rock, indie, dance and commercial pop, it’s going to be a very busy-sounding weekend.
Irish band to see: Young Wonder.
Ticket value (€99): Moderate.
8. Life Festival
24-26 May, Belvedere House, Westmeath.
If you like a bit of dance music with your morning cuppa you might just be hard enough into electronic music to make out well on the €138 ticket price for the three-day weekender. Modeselektor and Booka Shade live, Seth Troxler and Laurent Garnier as well as DJ sets by Amon Tobin and Groove Armada are just the cream of a very long and accomplished list of names on the line-up.
Irish band to see: MMOTHS.
Ticket Value (€138): Moderate.
9. Sea Sessions
21-23 June, Bundoran, Donegal.
Although it’s been praised highly in previous years, the Sea Seassions line-up for 2013 is the least interesting on offer this year, but then I’m not a fan of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Bastille or Xavier Rudd. It’s weekend camping ticket is amongst the cheapest on offer but there’s better value for an extra €30 elsewhere.
Irish band to see: Le Galaxie.
Ticket value (€99): Poor.
2-4 August, Charleville Castle, Offaly.
At the time of posting, it has just been announced that the line-up for CastlePalooza will be revealed on Monday 13 May. Probably the best small festival that emphasises the quality of Irish music, the Charleville castle buzz has proved a solid winner for many years now, and a €59 early bird offer that’s still running could prove the best gamble of the season.
Irish band to see: ?
Ticket value: ?