Bank holiday weekend festivals are music to the ears of fans

SMALL but perfectly formed was the verdict on the Liss Ard arts and music festival in West Cork over the weekend.

Headlined by 1970s disco legends Chic, the bill also included Toots and the Maytals, Paul Buchanan of the Blue Nile, Mick Flannery, and Joan as Policewoman.

Many festival-goers availed of the camping facilities at Liss Ard. There were some issues with a shortage of parking on-site, but the organisers laid on shuttle buses to nearby Skibbereen.

After heavy rain on Saturday afternoon, the event was blessed with good weather yesterday and proved to be very family-friendly, with children’s story-telling workshops and face-painting laid on throughout the weekend.

On Saturday night, Chic performed a selection of hits their leader Nile Rodgers has been associated with as a writer or producer, including David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Madonna’s Like a Virgin, and Diana Ross’s Coming Out.

It was the last gig of their recent tour and Rodgers seemed in ebullient form.

He has been a regular visitor to Ireland in the past few years, and has recently been promoting his memoir, Le Freak.

Support acts included Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, electronica act The Chromatics, and American Bob Mould, who played his 1992 album Copper Blue — released under the moniker Sugar — in its entirety.

The festival also included literary and food programmes.

The literary line-up included Paul Howard reading from Triggs, his new biography of Roy Keane’s dog; punk poet Jinx Lennon; and British spoken word outfit Chill Pill.

Local resident Colin Vearncombe, aka Black, best known for his 1987 hit Wonderful Life, also performed an acoustic set on the literary stage with sound-track artist Maurice Seezer. Vearncombe was, he explained, in angry form as his son had just been attacked by thugs in Schull.

The Theatre of Food was a celebration of West Cork produce and cooking, and featured demonstrations as diverse as sausage-making and cheese-making and smoking fish.

Among those who participated were Darina Allen of Ballymaloe, Bibliocook food blogger Caroline Hennessy and food writer Mei Chin.

Liss Ard was scheduled to run into the small hours last night, with Toots and the Maytals’ headline performance followed by Revelations Sounds and a set by DJ John Daly.

Indiependence Festival

Given the weather we’ve had this summer, it was unreasonable to expect anything other than a mud bath at the Deer Farm venue in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, for the Indiependence Festival.

But the attendees refused to let the elements dampen their enthusiasm.

The rain on Friday evening could have been a portent of things to come. Instead, it seemed to strengthen people’s resolve to make the best of the occasion.

With a strong emphasis on local and national acts, Indiependence is a showcase for some of the best up-and-coming artists. Some of those, such as Derry’s The Japanese Popstars and Wexford native Maverick Sabre, have begun to make serious ripples abroad, and festival-goers refused to let a little rain spoil their enjoyment of the latter’s set, who headlined the main stage on Friday night.

By Saturday evening, the clouds began to disappear and local indie heroes The Frank And Walters brought some much-needed brightness to proceedings, not just through their bright orange shirts but through their soaring melodies.

Songs from their latest album, Greenwich Mean Time, slotted neatly alongside their old classics.

Having peaked with their 2002 album, Comfort In Sound, Welsh rockers Feeder seemed an unusual choice to be placed so far up the bill on Saturday. Songs from their latest album, Generation Freakshow, were received well but the greatest response was reserved for Just The Way I’m Feeling and Buck Rogers, whose chorus lyrics “I think we’re going to make it” galvanised the feeling of optimism coursing through the arena.

A huge crowd gathered to witness dance-rock duo 2ManyDJs blend a mind-boggling array of samples from Blur and the Stone Roses to Hot Chip and MGMT and not a solitary blade of grass was left in their wake as they turned the surface to a gooey mulch.

Meanwhile, in Whelan’s Big Top, local electronica wiz Toby Kaar did his bit to get the party vibe going. Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands, looking like exiles from a 1970s German commune, served up more left field rock sounds and Scroobius Pip introduced his track The Struggle by announcing he had written the track when he was last in Cork.

“It’s about being depressed and killing people,” he added.

No such worries here as the sell-out crowd retired feeling tired but happy.

Indiependence was scheduled to finish last night with The Coronas.


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