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13 Music Festivals in Ireland

Carlotta Cutrale
By Carlotta Cutrale / October 24, 2019

Let’s get down to business now. 

Participating in a 2/3 day festival in Ireland is a unique experience. Most of these festivals are held in the Irish countryside, on the shores of some picturesque lake down the country or in the middle of wilderness.

The only warning is that if you decide to go camping at one of these festivals, buy yourself a nice pair of wellies! With the mud in Ireland, you’ll need it!

From electronic music to bluegrass harmonies, you will have just to pick one among the hundreds. So, gather your positive vibes and get ready to sing out loud and dance around. To give you an idea we have selected some music festivals for every taste. 

 

 

Kilkenny Roots Festival

Get ready to listen to some fine Americana canon of blues, rockabilly, jazz and folk music. From Alabama shakes to Ray La Montagne. The charm of this great American festival lies in its laid-back atmosphere and traditional country roots. So, being the lazy arse you are, you can find most venues in walking distance of each other, strolling from pub to theatre and back again. From mid-day sets to rabble-rousing midnight gigs, brace yourself!

When: May 

Where: Kilkenny

 

 

Beatyard

Taking place usually in the seaside town, Dún Laoghaire, just outside Dublin, this music festival is perfect for those who are looking for dipping their toe in the Irish music festival scene, without having to commit to the dreadful burden of camping. Even though it seems to be more focused on dance, electronic, hip-hop vibes, this festival welcomes great names of the music scenario, no matter the genres. It is also a family-friendly event. 

When: August

Where: Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin 

 

 

Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit Festival can be considered the official start of the electronic summer sesh or the true opener to the electronic music festival season. Right on your doorstep, this festival takes place in the grounds of Dublin’s Royal Hospital, in Kilmainham. Previous years’ line-up featured names such as Orbital, Aphex Twin and Bon Iver. If you don’t feel like listening to electro, usually on the last day of the festival, it disguises with a more indie-rock veil. 

When: June

Where: Kilmainham, County Dublin

 

 

Vantastival

If you too like us are a nostalgic hippie from the 60s, loving to share spaces, arts, good music vibes from an acoustic guitar, professing peace&love allover and crazy for small Wolswagen vans: that’s the festival for you.  Set in the middle of the forest, this is a family-friendly festival. You will also be able to find craft beer and handmade bites to enjoy while listening to some fine music.

When: May/June

Where: Drogheda, County Louth 

 

 

Folk&Bluegrass festival

For folk lovers, Ireland suggests the Folk&Bluegrass Festival in Westport, County Mayo. Along the Wild Atlantic Way, there will be numerous cajun, blues and folk masters performing. Almost everything is free and in local pubs for the most part. Hence, you can have the chance to dive into those vibes thanks to the masterclasses and workshops, organised during the day and ending up with some gigs in the night. 

When: June

Where: Westport

 

 

Belsonic

Every June, Belfast hosts this gigantic outdoor event for almost two weeks. It is something that, every year, never disappoints with its line up of performers! There’s something for everyone. If you don’t like Skrillex or maybe you don’t feel the vibes of The 1975, you can also enjoy Iron Maiden or Louis Capaldi. Just to mention some of the most popular and international bands playing on that iconic stage. Truth be told: this festival is a bit expensive but, you know, quality has its price.

When: June

Where: Belfast

 

Groove

Par contre, if you are on a budget and decide to save some money, the Groove Festival offers plenty of music, comedy, culture, food, drinks and family activities. Mack Fleetwood and Heather Small as headlines proved that you don’t have to go to the biggest festivals to get top quality acts. 

When: August

Where: Bray

 

 

Earagail arts festival

With its rich programme, it reaches out across the county, from Arranmore Island, Letterkenny to Malin. Located in the heart of one of Ireland’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty, this art festival brings inspiring performers from all over Europe. Being also a bilingual festival (Irish and English) the showcases artists will be all native to the area and provide opportunities for cultural exchange, in venues from theatres and galleries built for the occasion, forests and beaches, creating a unique cultural experience in the most unlikely of magical places.

When: July

Where: Unit 2c, Riverside Office Park, Neil T. Blaney Road, Letterkenny

 

 

Indiependence

The quintessential indie music festival in Ireland. Even though nowadays has stared hosting various artists, it tries to maintain its indie root, via great line up: Jake Bugg, Primal Scream and Walking on Cars. The range of music is diverse and with 5 covered stages of various sizes, there’s always at least one performance that you’ll enjoy. Not to mention the popular areas such as the Silent Disco, Comedy Tent, Spoken Word area and the ever-lively Bier Halle. Cosy and friendly, as you wish!

When: August

Where: Mitchelstown, County Cork 

 

 

Electric picnic

Some describe it as the Irish version of “Glastonbury” and great inspiration for the British festival “Latitude”. Honestly is not a case that it was voted Best Big Festival of Ireland. With its multiple stages and huge circus tents, this rock/indie festival is unmissable. Prepare yourself to see live great international acts like Florence and the Machine, Hozier, The Strokes and even Rolling Stones described it as “one of the best festivals they have ever been to”. 

When: September

Where: Stradbally Hall, Stradbally

 

 

Mother pride block party

The well-known gay club of Dublin, Mother, decided to cooperate with LGBTQ, and every year they take over the grounds of the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks. The festival usually takes place after the well-know pride parade, with two areas, two stages, full bars, food stalls, art & activations, thousands of LGBT’s & allies and the most exciting line up we’ve ever booked for pride.

When: June

Where: Dublin, County Dublin

 

 

Body&Soul festival

It is an indie-hippie-love-fest essentially and draws a chilled crowd of festival-goers who come to frolic in the magic of the Body & Soul woods. It usually takes place during the summer solstice weekend to celebrate it in all its astrological and mystical traditions. The theme which changes the programme every year accordingly offers a weekend of music and performance, immersive art installations, workshops and spiritual reflections, thought-provoking discussions, woodland discos, wood-fired hot tubs, a programme for families, and tasty gastronomic delights.  Prepare yourself to explore new self dimension, be amazed and try new experiences. 

When: June

Where: Ballinlough Castle, County Westmeath

 

 

Cork Jazz Festival

It’s the only international jazz festival happening not during the summertime. Frankly, it’s quite highly rated as this unusual timing would just underline its uniqueness. At least 1,000 musicians and creative artists from more than 20 countries are taking part. The festival kicks off with a special Blaze of Jazz parade through the street of the vibrant and young city of Cork and continues with an exciting fringe programme of free gigs and entertainment in more than 70 venues across the city.

When: October

Where: Cork

 

 

About the author

Carlotta Cutrale


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