Music festival returns to fabled site

The new-look Liss Ard Festival was launched yesterday outside Skibbereen in West Cork.

The festival, which runs on Aug 4 and 5, aims to be particularly family-friendly, with onsite camping, day and weekend tickets, and children under 12 allowed in free.

John Reynolds’ Pod Concerts are partners for the first time this year. Local music promoter Declan McCarthy, who has been involved in the festival over the past few years, welcomed their involvement.

“Pod run some of the best music events in the country, including the Electric Picnic,” he says.

“With that experience, and their contacts in the business, we aim to grow Liss Ard over the next few years and establish it as one of the premier festivals in the south.”

Headline acts at Liss Ard this year include the 1970s disco legends Chic, led by Nile Rodgers; Toots and the Maytals; Joan as Policewoman; and Paul Buchanan of the Blue Nile. Mick Flannery and the Macrae Sisters are among the Irish acts on the bill.

Other acts just announced include Black, best known for the hits Wonderful Life and Sweetest Smile, Heathers, Moscow Metro, Julie Feeney, and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

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Liss Ard Festival on MUZU.TV.[/comment]

The literary programme includes readings by Paul Howard, Jinx Lennon, and Paul Murray, and there will also be an emphasis on local food produce.

Liss Ard first ran a music festival in 1997, when Patti Smith and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds headlined. Over the next few years, headliners included both Lou Reed and John Cale of the Velvet Underground, Will Oldham, and Spiritualized.

“David Gray performed as well,” says McCarthy.

“David and Nick Cave turned up in my family pub in Baltimore one evening and played for half an hour or more. It was that kind of festival. Michael Stipe of REM was here the first year as well, wandering around like everybody else.”

Patti Smith was so impressed by the venue in 1997 that she returned to headline last year, when other acts included Echo & the Bunnymen and Peter Hook of New Order.

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Others who played at Liss Ard... on MUZU.TV.[/comment]

Liss Ard hopes to recreate the informal atmosphere of those early festivals, while continuing to attract big names in popular music. “It’s the kind of event that bands hear about through word of mouth,” McCarthy says. “We almost got Thom Yorke of Radiohead one year, as his wife’s family are from Skibbereen. We still hope to get him in the future.”

Visitors to Liss Ard will be free to roam the estate, whose attractions include US artist James Turrell’s Sky Garden.

“A festival like Liss Ard is all about location,” McCarthy says. “It’s a beautiful wooded setting, just outside Skibbereen, and little more than an hour’s drive from Cork.”

Weekend camping tickets for Liss Ard Festival cost €89.50, and €70.50 without camping. Day tickets are €39.50.

* lissardfestival.com

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