Time to take out your wellies, it’s the Irish festival guide

Aoibihn Meghan

It’s almost that time of year again where we swap our winter coats for wellie boots and go in search of our favourite artists, only to find them in a field in county Laois.

In Ireland we don’t always get sunshine and blue skies but that won’t stop the summer days from being filled with a great variety of world class music.

There’s no doubt that Ireland has a great selection of music festivals during the summer months and the variety in genres provide something for everyone, whether you want to relax to some indie songs or rave to the latest dance anthem there’s a festival for you.

Kicking off the festival season is Forbidden Fruit which is located in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and has taken place over the June bank holiday weekend since the festival began nine years ago.

With the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) as its backdrop, Forbidden Fruit is a weekend filled with top class music from the biggest names in dance-music and hip hop.

This year the lineup will not disappoint as Skepta kicks off the weekend headlining on the Saturday while electronic musician Mura Masa takes the stage on Sunday.

English rock group Elbow as well as the Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit will close the festival on the Monday, which is traditionally reserved for a more chilled experience in comparison to the intensity of the first two days.

If you prefer a festival with a bit of a twist then Sea Sessions is where you need to go.

The surf and music festival runs from June 21st to 23rd on Bundoran Beach in Donegal.

Regarded as one of the top surfing locations in the world, Bundoran has hosted this innovative festival on its gorgeous beach for the past eight years.

Tinie Tempah, Bastille and Dizzee Rascal are just some of the names that have played at Sea Sessions in the past and this year’s lineup is no less impressive.

Sigrid, a Swedish singer who has recently come into the Irish charts with her song Strangers will be playing the festival. Clean Bandit will also be attending and the Irish indie-rock band Two Door Cinema Club.

There are also surf and skateboarding events as well as tournaments tag rugby, beach Olympics and beach soccer.

It’s a festival with a huge amount to offer in a beautiful part of the world.

However if you crave a seaside festival but you can’t fathom a weekend in a tent on the beach then Beatyard is the festival for you.

Located in Dublin just a short DART journey away in the seaside town of Dun Laoghaire, Beatyard takes over the town for the August Bank Holiday weekend.

It is on Dun Laoghaire’s unused ferry port and its beloved pier that this chilled out, family friendly festival comes to life.

The festival’s connection with Eatyard, usually located beside the Bernard Shaw on South Richmond Street, means that Beatyard has a unique food and music experience right on the sea.

Groove Armada, CHVRCHES, and Jungle are all playing this year and the combination of great music and possibly even better food makes this a festival worth attending.

Also taking place on the August Bank Holiday is Indiependence in Mitchelstown in Cork.

This indie music festival features chart topping artists primarily from the English indie and rock scenes as well as huge a selection of up and coming Irish names.

The 2019 installment of Indiependence includes the bands Bastille, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Biffy Clyro as well as singer songwriter Gavin James.

For the more artistic of minds there is Body and Soul festival at Balinlough Castle in Westmeath running from June 21st to 23rd.

The castle grounds are transformed each year into a colourful, ethereal world of intrigue which can only be expected from a festival based around the summer solstice.

Body and Soul as the name may suggest is not just about the music. It showcases amazing food, outdoor spa treatments, immersive art installations, and spoken word performances all alongside alternative music.

Playing at this years festival are Modeselektor, a German electronic music duo, The Blaze who combine music with film, and Santigold, an alternative dance musician, to name just a few.

Longitude is a relatively new festival, it only began in 2013 but it has grown over the last number of years with a maximum capacity of 40,000.

The festival takes place in Marlay Park, right in the South Dublin suburbs and this year it runs from July 5th to 7th with some of the biggest names in music playing.

This year’s headliners are primarily R&B artists such as Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and ASAP Rocky.

This lineup is a far cry from the festival’s original image. The first ever Longitude featured a lot more indie artists such as The Foals and Vampire Weekend.

Longitude has got a reputation as a festival for the younger generation of music lovers, with the Sunday lineup usually attracting a slightly older crowd.

This may be why there has been a shift towards rap and hip hop artists as these genres have taken over mainstream music.

And finally a summer wouldn’t be complete without Ireland’s largest outdoor music festival, Electric Picnic.

It takes place on the first weekend of September as its usual location of Stradbally, Co Laois is taken over for a weekend of great music and eclectic art.

Electric Picnic attracts around 57,500 eager festival goers and this year the tickets sold out in 15 minutes, months before the lineup was even announced.

It is the biggest festival in the Irish calendar and the this year’s lineup surely proves that. Electric Picnic 2019 will not disappoint its devoted Indie and Rock fans.

Headliners include haunting singer Florence and the Machine, The Strokes, The 1975 and, our very own Hozier. The festival will also host Billie Eilish, James Blake, Jess Glynne, and Years and Years.

Irish festivals really have something for everyone making the summer days even brighter.

Aoibhín Meghan 

Image Credit: Connell McSweeney