Live music: Goldfrapp, Body&Soul, Co Westmeath

The Body and Soul festival grew significantly for its fifth incarnation. Between weekend campers and Sunday ticket-holders, 8,500 people meandered in the marvellous sunshine, roaming through the woods and walled gardens of Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath.

Live music: Goldfrapp,  Body&Soul, Co Westmeath

The festival was so much more than music. Wholesome food sustained those determined to wring the most from the three days of performances, installations, holistic workshops and talks.

At the close of a second day of wondrous sunshine, Goldfrapp, taking over from the electronic music icon Gary Numan, took to the main stage. Marking mid-summer’s night, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory brought the crowd on an aural journey, beginning with the pared-back tracks of their latest offering, Tales of Us.

Despite a sound glitch, the British duo charmed the audience, with the set taking on pace with the compulsive rhythms and explosive beats of their previous albums, drawing in wandering festival strays attracted by their dreamy disco.

The Wonderlust arena was a thought-provoking respite of engaging discussions on activism and the politics of food production.

Writer Michael Harding encouraged people to remember that “everyone is connected in some way that we’ll never be able to explain, but being here with each other is very, very beautiful”.

With all genres and none represented at the myriad of stages, the crammed line-up showcased a selection of impressive lesser-knowns, such as the excellent Tracy Bruen and the Latchikos.

This year’s festival refused to end quietly. A late-night trad session took an anarchistic turn, continuing acoustically after the plug had literally been pulled, with security encouraging people to return to their tents. Though a roaring success, aided in no small part by the dazzling weather, organisers should continue to be mindful of the rare intimacy of a smaller festival.

Star Rating: 4/5

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