REVIEW: Townlands Festival

Macroom, Co Cork
****

Watching self-professed “46-year-old black man from Brooklyn,” Jeru The Damaja being taught to chant “Ooh, ah, up the ‘Ra” by a small but devotedly rowdy crowd of Macroom lads at the main stage at Townlands Carnival pretty much sums up the festival, really: slightly haphazard, possibly a little deranged, but very good fun.

“I wonder what that actually means,” the rapper broke off, to much hilarity.

Townlands Carnival, the three-day music and arts festival at Leades House outside Macroom, celebrated its third year at the weekend. Having hit a peak of around 4,000 punters last year, this year’s bash was noticeably smaller.

Organisers seemed to have scaled back for this year’s event, with changes to the festival’s layout that may not have been all positive; there was at times discombobulating acoustic bleed caused by four stages, being arrayed far too close for comfort around the main field.

But this didn’t affect the spirits of the crowd, a friendly mix of West Cork hippies and young locals. Those who weathered Friday night’s torrential rain still reported much fun having been had.

Saturday saw The Rubber Bandits draw the biggest crowd to the main stage, while UK DJ Krafty Kuts and Dynamite MC, who were on after the Limerick duo, had a far smaller attendance. Over on the Síbín stage, Dublin band Mama Kasbah belted out a Balkan-inspired set.

Keeping it home-grown, there were many notable Cork acts present over the weekend, such as Shookrah, Elll and Stevie G.

There was plenty on offer for lovers of electronica, with techno, house and jungle at the Subatomic stage, where Sunday saw members of Cork’s Cuttin Heads Collective joined by Rusangano Family’s Mynameisj0hn and Dublin drum’n’bass maestro Ricky Force.

All in all, if Townlands wants to live up to its stated aim of bringing an artsier, more alternative festival experience to Munster, it’s going to have occupy a little more space and invest a little more heavily in its line-up for next year… but it won’t have to change a thing about its relaxed and friendly crowd.



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