Ireland Summer Festival Preview 2015

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The sun is shining out there, the flowers are blooming and men in tractors are cutting silage which means only one thing; it’s festival season again. Previously I have run through a load of festivals over the Irish summer but this year I thought I would keep it concise. It’s as simple as highlighting the festivals that I think will be enjoyed most by people who enjoy the music on this blog. Some of my picks you might disagree with. Some you might support. If you think I am missing out on any festivals or have any suggestions of your own, feel free to comment below.

Townlands Carnival

When: July 10th-12th
Where: Macroom, Co. Cork
Cost: €85 Camping/ €35 Day Tickets

A brand new festival set in the lvely countryside of Macroom in Co. Cork, the Townlands Carnival is offereing a lot of variety for the admission fee. There will be workshops, multi-media events, entertainment for the children and of course music. Playing at the festival will be artists of all genres but in particular Eirecana’s attention is drawn to The Hot Sprockets, Psychdelic Pill (Neil Young Cover Band), Twin Wolf, Hermitage Green and North Strand Kontra Band. It looks like a fine affair and a festival that has really been thought out to enterain everyone no matter what your interest.

Greystones Americana Festival 

When: 3rd-5th July
Where: Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Cost: Unknown

After taking a break last year, the fifth Greystones Americana festival returns on the first weekend of July. Well that’s the dates pencilled in but so far there hasn’t been any confirmation of the festival and the acts booked for it. Still this family event usually has a great line-up of both international and local acts. Previously the festival has hosted Washboard and Banjo master-classes.The music takes places all over the town of Greystones. Stay tuned to the Facebook page for updates.

Valentia Isle Festival 

When: 10th-12th July
Where: Valentia Island, Kerry
Cost: €89 Weekend/€50 Day

It’s not the Valentia Island festival, it’s the Valentia Isle festival. The name makes the festival! Still there is a lot to be said for this little boutique festival. With a very beautiful setting, camping and camper-van facilities and a great line-up, all there is to hope for now is sunshine. Again the festival features some eclectic artists playing. Apart from the headliners, there is John Blek & The Rats, The Hot Sprockets, Fox Jaw, Mongrel State, The Eskies and one of my favourite non-Eirecana bands The Vincents. The festival features three stages so there should be something there for everyone. As well as the top class music, there is swing, trad and even a Farmers Market. Not bad going to fit all that on one island.

Knockanstockan 

When: 24th-25th July
Where: Blessington, Co. Wicklow
Cost: €80 Weekend Camping

As sure as our summers on the west coast of Ireland will be have little sunshine, you can be guaranteed that Knockanstockan will return with another great festival with a host of brilliant Irish acts. The festival tends to focus on having mainly Irish artists who have not crossed over the mainstream and as such is all the better for it. It’s here where you can wander, enjoy the music for what it is without being too worried that you have to see this band and this band. Still with the likes of Gavin Glass, Mongoose, The Eskies, Tucan and all more there, it promises to be a great weekend. And they always get good weather for that festival.

Jack of Diamonds Festival 

When: August
Where: Dublin City, Various Locations
Cost: Usually Free

No details have emerged of what the line-up is for Jack of Diamonds this year but I’m sure it will be as good as previous years. The festival generally takes place in mid August in various locations around Dublin city. It really is one to catch. As the title suggests, they have one of the best line-ups of americana and alt-country this side of the Kilkenny Roots Festival.

SugarBeat Festival

When: 22nd-23rd August 

Where: Tuam, Co. Galway
Cost: Saturday €35, Sunday €30

A festival that local to Eirecana, the SugarBeat festival is a straight-up no nonsense music festival. With two days of bands there is plenty to choose from including Amazing Apples, Joe Fury & The Hayride, Rackhouse Pilfer and headliners local band The Stunning.

Ballinamore Free Fringe Festival 

When: 21st-23rd August
Where: Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim
Cost: FREE!
One of my favourite little festivals simply because it’s a small community event that manages to attract a host of generally un-signed artists. The festival has comedians, artists and a lot more to offer. It really is a lovely, well I was going to say little but considering they had over 200 acts last year, it’s definitely not a little event.

Monaghan Rhythm & Blues Harvest Festival 

When: 4th – 6th September
Where: Monaghan
Cost: €50/€20/€15
If you like your blues, then this festival is the one for you. Withinternational acts like Leo “Bud” Welch and the Nikki Hill Band along with homegrown acts like Crow Black Chicken, if you like your blues of any persuasion, then Monaghan town on the 4th, 5th and 6th of September is for you.

Spirit of Folk Festival

When: 18th-20th September
Where: Dunderry Park, Co. Meath
Cost: €65 Weekend /€35 Day Ticket
What a nice way to round off the summer that some soul warming folk. This festival has been running for a number of years and is expanding every year. As well as the music there is story telling, living history, pop up dance essions, yoga and more. It sounds like the perfect way to unwind after a summer of music.

Others Worth Mentioning

There are a few other festivals that might be worth the admission price that are on the Irish festival calendar for this summer: The Bash at The Bridge is a new blues-rock festival in Co. Fermanagh with a wonderful backdrop and a great line-up….Galway Arts Festival (13th-26th July) always turn up a few good gigs. This year I’m looking forward to the Galway debut of Chuck Prophet along with The Young Folk/ The Lost Brothers double gig….Castlepalooza (31st July – 2nd August, Tullamore, Co. Offaly) is another great festival that is off the beaten track and constantly promotes upcoming Irish artists….Folkfest Killarney (24th-26th July) has an amazing line-up of folk artists from home (The Whileaways, The Lost Brothers) to prestigious international acts (Tinariwen)…For those of you who like their straight-up country The Cowboys and Heroes Country and Americana Festival (17th-19th July) returns this year to a lovely location with plenty of country artists playing…the Finally Doolin Craft Beer and Roots Festival have hit my birds with one stone. Great roots music, lovely food and tempting craft beer.

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