Ok, so we know what’s happening in May and June, plans made, tickets booked, tents practise pitched. Onwards and upwards into July when we have Willowstone Arts and Music Festival in Co. Down at the start of the month. This one day festival, now over the deal breaking first year, is organised by the same people who ran the Innishfree Rock Festival for three years. So we can blissfully assume they have made all their mistakes at Innishfree and Willowstone is only getting better? Fingers crossed. The musical menu offers such delights as Dark Room Notes, hard rockin blues band The Answer, John, Shelly and The Creatures of Northern Ireland tourism ad fame and festival fit from Glasto ’09 Cashier No.9. Tickets are £32 if you want to crawl into a tent at the end of the night or £26 if you don’t.
After a restful July, ly, ly, we are faced with the terribly difficult decision of choosing a festival for the August bank holiday weekend. It’s the clash of the festivals as Indiependence in Cork, Castlepalooza in Offaly and Athlone Music Festival in, well Athlone, all battle for our music hungry attention. This decision could simply be made by travel distance, but there is certainly no fun to be had that way.
Indiependence aka Mitchelstown Festival offers White Lies, Alabama 3, The Coronas and Reverend & The Makers as their headliners. They boast 5 stages and over 90 bands and DJs across the 2 day festival which has a new location this year in a magical place called Deer Farm. Some random rain facts about Indiependence: Well, 4 out of the 5 stages are covered and according to organisers the new location drains well, phew! No seriously, we’re genuinely thankful for their thoughtfulness. There are weekend camping and weekend non-camping tickets available at €79 and €59 respectively. If travelling by car you’ll have to get yourself and ticket to park her up, but they’re only a tener.
The Athlone Music Festival offers some Irish talent in the form of Sharon Shannon & The Big Band, the legendary Shane MacGowan and The Undertones all playing the GAA pitch in Athlone. Tickets are €50. I feel like I should repeat that, tickets are fifty quid. Cheap as chips and Shane Mcgowan is bound to do something priceless. Who knows maybe Sharon will bump Mundy for the original Earle, not likely though. But if you’re into Mundy, which apparently some people are, then you should know that he is also playing.
And finally we have Castlepalooza in Tullamore. (Win Tickets, yeah you heard us). We don’t want to be biased, but why stop now, we are really looking forward to this one. Mind maps and real maps are in place to catch a little bit of Indiependence, a little bit of Athlone (the little bit without Mundy) and a lot of Castlepalooza. If there is one band you have to see at Castlepalooza it’s Irish band Cast of Cheers. We can’t get enough of them at Meg lately and they’re not even getting a little bit annoying yet. Their album is available free on their website here. Also storming the castle that weekend are Mercury Rev, Fionn Regan, Wave Machines, Colm Lynch, Adebisi Shank, Sounds of System Breakdown and more. Tickets are €99 and festival goers have exclusive daily access to the castle, where there are art exhibitions; workshops; a day spa and possibly some surprise performances. As always, part of the ticket proceeds go towards the Charleville Castle restoration project – helping to keep the beautiful historic landmark alive. Kudos to CherryCool Productions for this lovely act of kindness.
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Visit the festival websites for more information: