Des O’Driscoll reviews the It Takes A Village festival in Cork
What do you think this is... a holiday camp? Actually, yes. Trabolgan really is a holiday camp, with proper accommodation, swimming pools, go-karting, sea access, etc. Last weekend, however, the East Cork facility was devoid of the families who usually fill it, as the inaugural It Takes A Village festival took over.
Organisers pitched the event as a most unfestival-like festival, where sprawling campgrounds and apocalyptic portaloos would be replaced by a compact site (everything within a five-minute walk) with self-catering chalets, hot showers and real toilets. Already, so many boxes ticked.
But what about the entertainment? Eclectic was the name of the game, with a roster that ranged from Andrew Weatherall to Martin Hayes, while still making sense. Saturday’s headline act Young Fathers underlined their reputation as an awesome live act with frenetic beats and soaring harmonies melded with attitude-laden theatrics.
They were preceded by Brighton band Fujiya & Miyagi, another intriguing prospect that hit a strange intersection between introspective indie sounds and 1980s acid house. There was also a dancefloor influence on Skibbereen soulster Brian Deady, whose highpoints included a superb mash-up of Crystal Waters ‘Gypsy Woman’ with Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Want You’.
Those who danced late into the night to the likes of John Daly or Fish Go Deep, or partook of one of the many sideparties taking place around the site, even had the option of washing that hangover away on Sunday morning with an aqua-aerobics session hosted by Famous Seamus of Lords of Strut. Good fun and great vibes all round.
Away from the music, Kevin Barry proved again why he’s an author who really is worth hearing as well as reading; while presumably a secure ring of steel ensured the recording of Blindboy Boatclub’s podcast wasn’t gatecrashed by any disgruntled UFC fighters carrying handcarts.
Hopefully, ITAV will grow into an annual bash. Some potential punters were put off by a system that meant you booked the holiday chalet for the weekend rather than an individual ticket, and then got your mates to fill it by chipping in the approximate €240 per head. It’s a complication that will probably be outweighed by the word-of-mouth recommendations coming from the first glorious event.