TUGS 2015 in Ireland (Part 1): Floral Garlands, Straw Hats, and Wellies… It’s Music Festival Season!
When the weather gets warmer, the people flock to the beaches, seaside villages, and, most importantly, festivals.
Festivals are a big thing in Ireland. In fact, you can go to a festival a week in the summer (see: The 28 Irish Festivals…). With so much choice, where do you start? Luckily, we’ve been to a few. And we love them! There’s just something magical about festivals; they’re a weekend escape to another world, a wonderland where everyone is looking to have fun, relax, and enjoy themselves.
Without further ado, here are our recommendations…
Body&Soul. 19 – 21 June. For thousands of years, people have come together to celebrate the beginning of summer on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Nowadays, you can honor the sun in a different way at Body&Soul, an arts and music festival held on the grounds of Ballinlough Castle in Co. Westmeath. Imagine a weekend hanging out in the “twisting labyrinth of cubby-holes and curious corners” of a 15th century walled garden and woodlands with “secret hideaways and glittering late night discos in the woodlands, an inspirational art trail, spoken word and debate, a magnificent masquerade ball, culinary feasts, steaming hot tubs and seaweed baths and much much more.” Doesn’t that sound magical? Now, stop daydreaming about it and experience the actual thing!
Weekend tickets from €139.50
Knockanstockan. 24 – 25 July. An intimate music and arts festival located right next to the majestic Blessington Lakes in Co. Wicklow, the experience starts when you’re setting up camp with the view of the hills on one side and the lake on the other. Whether it’s sunrise or sunset, the natural beauty will put you in a mellow mood. That, and the general awesome atmosphere of the site. Everyone is there to have a good time; you can practically feel the positive vibes emanating from everyone while walking around the earthy site with it’s quirky, hand-built stages to it’s colorful hand-crafted decorations. It’s a non-profit festival, “devised and delivered by a collaboration of musicians, artists, community members and over 250 volunteers.” No wonder everyone is so down-to-earth!
Weekend tickets from €80
Castlepalooza. 31 July – 2 August. Nestled deep within “Ireland’s oldest primordial oak woods,” Charleville Castle, built in the 17th century, is the site of this festival. Ticket holders have the opportunity not only to enjoy the music at the various stages on the grounds but also to hang out in the castle throughout the weekend. They promise to provide “great music; merriment; magic; madness and mind-blowing memories.” If my experience is anything to go by, the weekend is exactly that, put succinctly.
Weekend tickets from €94.
Another Love Story. 21 – 23 August. A new entry to the festival lineup last year, Another Love Story looks to return this year to introduce a little bit more magic into your summer. Organized by Happenings and Homebeat (make sure to follow them for more awesomeness), this might be one of the smallest and more intimate festivals you’ll find. By the end of the weekend, you’ll feel like you just made 400 new friends. As you stroll around the beautiful Killyon Manor and its grounds, you’ll bump into the same people again and again and everyone will stop for a bit of friendly banter. From the ballroom to the luscious grounds, be ready for spontaneous dance sessions, delicious culinary delights from The Happy Pear, and a weekend of “whimsy and fairytale.”
Weekend tickets from €85
Electric Picnic. 4 – 6 September. This is the big finale. The final hurrah for summer. Since it’s inception as a one-day event in 2004, this festival has grown and is now an event attended by over 40,000 people. As the biggest music festival in Ireland, Electric Picnic attracts a wide range of notable acts from the reunion of Outkast last year; to old school bands like Pet Shop Boys, Portishead, Massive Attack, and Sigur Rós; to indie artists likes of Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, St. Vincent, and Mumford & Sons; to up-and-coming acts like CHVRCHES and Hozier. This year looks to be another epic year with Florence + the Machine, Blur, and Sam Smith as the headliners so far. Our recommendation: Enjoy the big acts but definitely take the time to wander around the whole site. The earthy Body and Soul area provides an alternative to the big names of the main stage. The “rave in the forest,” officially the Red Bull Music Academy stage, is a perfect way to cap off the nights, dancing away to pulsating lights and electronic music in the middle of the woods. And, if you see a food stand selling ostrich burgers, get on that! It’s noms, according to Jeffrey.
Weekend tickets from €229.50
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a way to get involved (and be a part of the magic) in these festivals, apply to be a volunteer! It’s great fun; check out Jeffrey’s experience at Another Love Story for more information about that (he’s also volunteered at Knockanstockan and Electric Picnic).
Other festivals of note:
Sea Sessions. 19 – 21 June.
Longitude. 17 – 19 July.
Indiependence. 31 July – 2 August.
This is Part 1 of The Ultimate Guide to Summer 2015 in Ireland. Check out the other parts!