Top 10 Irish music festivals to look forward to in 2017

Most of Ireland’s big music events have unveiled their lineups. Ed Power rounds up his top 10.

Top 10 Irish music festivals to look forward to in 2017

Right Here, Right Now

Cork, April 28-30

Jack O’Rourke, Mark Flannery, Interference, etc

This new event from Cork Opera House will present local and national performers in unexpected contexts.

Crooner Jack O’Rourke recreates his acclaimed Dreamcatcher album with accompaniment from the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra and local bluesman Mick Flannery will join with chanteuse Marlene Enright for an intimate gig in the ‘Right Room’ — a new space behind the curtains of the Opera House main stage.

Soon after (May 10-12), the Music Cork event brings Darcus Beese (president of Island Records) and some major music industry executives to Cork for a three-day event.

Forbidden Fruit

Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin June 3-5

Orbital, Bon Iver, Aphex Twin

The original Irish urban festival spreads its wings in 2017, with super-star moocher Bon Iver headlining Monday while “dad techno” veterans and Orbital and electro maverick Aphex Twin conjure the spirit of 1990s dance music Saturday and Sunday night respectively.

The undercard is top rank too, with Booka Shade and Tyco (Saturday), Nicolas Jaar and Moderat (Sunday) and Lisa Hannigan and Flying Lotus (Monday) among the performers.

There will also be a DJ set from Hot Chip (Friday) and turn by the Trinity Orchestra.

Tickets: Weekend access €145.50

Live at the Marquee

Cork, June 9-July 14

Eddie Vedder, Emeli Sandé, Nathan Carter, Elbow

The annual Leeside event returns with another eclectic programme. Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder brings his solo tour to Cork (June 11) with soulful rockers Elbow (June 21) and chanteuse Emeli Sande (July 10) among the other big names.

There are, meanwhile, returns from Marquee stalwarts Elton John (June 20), The Coronas (June 30) and Gavin James (July 7), plus Idina Menzel, aka the voice of Frozen (June 25).

Tickets: On sale now.

Body and Soul

Athboy Castle, Co Westmeath, June 23–25

Metronomy, Lambchop, Sleaford Mods

The whimsical setting of Athboy Castle is part of the charm of Body and Soul, as is the commitment to a hippy-dippy vibe.

However, the promoters have also assembled an impressive bill, with Brexit bards Sleaford Mods, disco nerds Metronomy and Americana survivors Lambchop confirmed.

All going well 2017 will also see the return of the bright red fairground slide that has become one of the event’s hallmarks.

With minimum fuss, Body and Soul had quietly built a loyal following over the past several years – tickets are still available but there is every chance the event will sell out.

Tickets: Weekend camping ticket €195


Marlay Park, Dublin, July 14-16

The Weeknd, Mumford and Sons

A festival of two halves, Friday and Saturday at Longitude are pop all the way to bedtime.

Grime superstar Stormzy headlines Friday, fresh from a sellout turn at Dublin’s Olympia, while sad soul boy The Weeknd tops the bill Saturday.

It’s all change on Sunday, though, a bearded banjo bashers Mumford and Sons presented their own curated selection, including folk singer Lucy Rose and bearded crooner Jack Garratt.

Also appearing over the weekend are Skepta, Picture This, Dua Lipa and Milky Chance.

Tickets: Weekend, €189.50. Saturday day tickets already sold out.

Townlands Carnival

Rusheen Farm Estate Macroom, Co Cork July 21–23

Rubber Bandits, Jack O’Rourke

Macroom was the location of one of Ireland’s earliest rock festival and the North Cork town now hosts Townlands Carnival.

Over three days, the event features comedy rappers Rubber Bandits, the swinging Stomptown Brass and groovers Krafty Kuts.

There is also a kids’ arena while the Village Green will host spoken word happenings.

Tickets: three-day camping €125


Mitchelstown, Co Cork August 4-6

Manic Street Preachers, The Coronas, Tom Odell

The little festival with the big heart goes from strength to strength.

Britpop class warriors Manic Street Preachers are an ambitious headline pick, while crooner Tom Odell will appeal to millennials.

Irish performers include All Tvvins, Brian Deady, We Cut Corners and newcomers Talos and Stephanie Rainey.

Tickets: Early bird tickets are sold out. Weekend tickets €119


Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Co Dublin, August 5–6

Air, Mark Ronson

The south Dublin festival from promoter Bodytonic has been quietly amassing a loyal clientele and for 2017 has unveiled arguably its highest profile performers yet.

Funk DJ and producer Mark Ronson (Saturday) shares the bill with inscrutable Gallic dance duo Air (Sunday).

That’s a lot of laid-back grooves for your money.

Plus, there’s the natural beauty of Dun Laoghaire Harbour as backdrop.

Further down the programme is quirky with a vengeance, juxtaposing Bananarama and Limerick rappers Rusangano Familyand house gurus Fish Go Deep and hairy folkies Kila.

And don’t miss “Eatyard”, a street food market with over 50 participants.

Tickets: Weekend ticket €89

Electric Picnic

Stradbally, Co Laois, September 1–3

The xx, A Tribe Called Quest and Duran Duran

Ireland’s biggest festival got plenty of stick when it announced its retro-heavy lineup, but a close look at the bill reveals there are plenty acts to suit all musical tastes.

There’s a great support bill too, including Father John Misty and Interpol.

With the festival a sell-out before the bill had even been unveiled, it’s clear the appeal of Electric Picnic goes beyond its line-up.

Tickets: Sold out

Sounds From A Safe Harbour

Cork, September

Official announcements haven’t been made yet, but Mary Hickson is busy putting together a second incarnation of the event she curated in 2015 with Bryce Dessner of The National.

As well as international guests, Irish contemporary group Crash Ensemble will take part in one of the genre-pushing strands of the festival, and video maker extraordinaire Brendan Canty will be on hand to film some of the more photogenic events.

Tickets: All is to be revealed

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