The Irish festival scene is in rude health this summer and it is definitely worth your time (if you have sufficient funds) to visit one or two and see a crop of the best Irish and international artists. Music blogger and DJ Conor Behan has picked out some of the pop highlights over the coming months.

Top-drawer indie and electronic acts make up the guts of most of the festival line ups but if you fancy the sugar rush of a pitch-perfect pop act there are some highlights. Use these artists as the sweet dessert to a festival of hearty sounds from your new favourite bands or hidden gems you missed out on.

Dan Smith and his band Bastille have had one of the year’s biggest hits with unavoidable Pompeii. Their Irish debut was moved from Whelans to The Academy earlier this year as the band played Dublin just as their successful album Bad Blood was released. They’ve a winning blend of Coldplay style indie-pop sheen with the kind of jaunty bubblegum stomp that makes their tunes memorable.

They’ll be headlining both Sea Sessions (June 21 – 23, Bundoran, Donegal.) and Indiependence (August Bank Holiday Weekend, Mitchelstown, Cork.) so you’ve just enough time to perfect the words for that Pompeii sing-song.

Beyoncé’s hipster sister has become a cult-pop hot prospect over the last 12 months as the 80s melancholy of Losing You caught the eye of the fashion press, music bloggers and pop geeks alike.

Solange has had false starts with earlier solo material (despite some decent soul-flavoured cuts on her second album) and wrote songs for her sister but it’s her current EP True that gives a sonic style all her own.

She’s been winning plenty of praise for a sparse number of live shows too and with her unique style of tailored suits and eye-catching prints the chance to see Solange play live is an exciting.

Thankfully her Irish debut will be at this year’s Body and Soul festival (June 21 – 23, Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath) one of the most enjoyable additions to the Irish festival landscape. Alongside acts like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Public Image Limited, Solange flies the flag for forward thinking pop.

This duo combine jerky house-music rhythms with R&B flourishes and have had a slew of pop hits that easily marry a festival friendly underground appeal with chart-ready hooks.

Debut album Body Music will be here mid-summer just in time for their appearance at new big-name festival Longitude (July 19 to 21, Marlay Park, Dublin) their style a welcome addition to the dance driven pop sounds of their contemporaries Jessie Ware (also appearing at Longitude) and Disclosure (appearing at this year’s Electric Picnic)

This Scottish synth-pop act marry the sensibilities of The Knife with a sugar-y sweet pop underbelly that gives their melodramatic tunes plenty of vigour.

They’ve been regularly turning up on “Must hear” lists all year and they’ll join the stellar line up at this year’s 10th run of Electric Picnic (August 30th to September 1st, Stradbally Estate, Co Laois) giving you a moment of pure pop fun alongside the kind of creative, free-wheeling fun that the festival is known for.

Rita Ora
She was pretty hard to escape last year as this Jay-Z protégé took over the pop charts and became a tabloid fixture.

Ora’s debut album was a mixed bag, ticking plenty of boxes but never quite giving the star her own musical identity. She’s said to be working on a new album inspired by 90s R&B and her musical hero Gwen Stefani which will hopefully give us some music to truly match up to Rita’s tabloid antics and keen fashion sense.

She’s part of a slew of big name pop acts heading to the rebooted Oxegen festival (August Bank Holiday Weekend, Punchestown) which sees David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Example taking headline spots.

Oxegen’s party ready crowd is the perfect place for someone as slick as Ora to showcase her live chops and hopefully we’ll get a glimpse of those new songs she’s been working on

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