Top 10 music festivals to look forward to this summer

Most of the big summer events have finalised their line-ups, with tickets already up for grabs. Ed Power rounds up 10 of the best

Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots Festival May 1–4

Highlights: Calexico Clem Snide, I Draw Slow

Tickets: Varies according to artist.

The narrow cobble-stone streets of Kilkenny are a perfect backdrop for this well-regarded celebration of Americana.

In 2015, headliners include Calexico and Clem Snide. The former are from deepest, dustiest Arizona, their music a mash-up of influences from both sides of the US-Mexico border.

Clem Snide, meanwhile, are from New York City and have released an impressive 14 long-players since 1998.

Life Festival May 29-31, Belvedere House, Co Westmeath

Highlights: Nas, Squarepusher, Siriusmodeselektor, Gold Panda, Panta du Prince.

Tickets: Weekend camping, €139.

There’s lots for fans of electronic music to swoon over at the country’s foremost celebration of the beat-driven avant-garde.

Rapper Nas will perform his iconic 1994 debut Illmatic all the way through; meanwhile, the gloriously glitchy Squarepusher and Gold Panda will demonstrate that electronica can speak to the mind as much as to the feet.

Forbidden Fruit May 29–31, Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Highlights: Wu Tang Clan, Fatboy Slim, Jamie XX, Richie Hawtin.

Tickets: €119.

The full line-up has yet to be unveiled. Still, it’s clear than in 2015, Forbidden Fruit is moving in an unabashed dance direction.

For hip-hop fans, the Saturday appearance by Staten Island posse Wu Tang Clan is the can’t miss performance.

Slane May 30, Slane Castle, Co Meath

Highlights: Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Hozier

Tickets: €79.50

The big daddy of Irish outdoor musical events, Slane returns after a one year hiatus.

Headliners Foo Fighters can justifiably claim to be the most popular band in the world, no matter that their recent Sonic Highways album is a stab at reclaiming old glories rather than anything new or innovative.

 

Support includes Britrockers Kaiser Chiefs, their profile boosted by singer Ricky Wilson’s new career as a coach on the UK edition of The Voice, and Wicklow’s Hozier.

Live At The Marquee June 11 – July 14, Cork.

Highlights: Beck, Ellie Goulding, The Coronas, Nathan Carter, ZZ Top, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Tickets: Vary depending on gig.

Running across June and July, this year’s Live at Marquee builds on the event’s reputation for eclecticism.

It begins with the first ever performance of Riverdance in Cork city (June 11–14), followed by turns from Grammy winner Beck, pop maven Ellie Goulding, guitar-slinging boy bands The Coronas and Kodaline, and, raucously bringing down the curtains, Noel Gallagher.

Body and Soul June 19–21, Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath

Highlights: Matthew E White, Savages, Rhye, Asgeir, Natalie Prass.

Tickets: €139.50

With an unabashed hippy-dippy vibe — you can skip the music altogether and devote the weekend to shamanic readings and yoga sessions — this Electric Picnic offshoot has one of its strongest bills yet, featuring Virginia soul daddy Matthew E White, feminist punks Savages, the dulcet Rhye and Natalie Prass, whose self-titled first album has been hailed one of 2015’s most engaging debuts.

Sea Sessions June 19–21, Buncrana, Co Donegal

Highlights: Seasick Steve, Maverick Sabre, Le Galaxie.

Tickets: €89.50

A celebration of Irish surfing culture, Sea Sessions also packs in some engaging musical diversions, this year including ‘hobo’ songwriter Seasick Steve, Wexford-London rhymer Maverick Sabre and cult Dublin electronica outfit Le Galaxie.

One of those festivals where the ambiance is arguably as important as the performances.

Glastonbury June 24–28, Pilton, UK.

Highlights: Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie.

Tickets: Sold out.

The oldest and grandest of European festivals, as ever Glastonbury sold out more or less immediately this year, though organisers say returns may still be available.

It has been confirmed that Kanye West and Foo Fighters will headline. Kanye’s presence has proved mildly controversial, with many asserting that the serial awards-show stage-invader is unworthy of Glastonbury.

Then, similar complaints were leveled when Jay Z headlined in 2008 — and his performance was one of the most memorable in the recent history of the fest.

Longitude July 17–19. Marlay Park, Dublin

Highlights: Hozier, Alt-J, Chemical Brothers, James Blake.

Tickets: Weekend, €149.50

In its third year, Longitude has emerged as one of Ireland’s foremost urban festivals.

In part that’s to do with the locale – who’d have thought Marlay Park would make for such an engaging setting?

But there’s also a top-rank line-up in 2015 featuring Alt-J, Hozier (yes, him again) and Chemical Brothers.

Indiependence July 31 – August 2, Mitchelstown, Co Cork

Highlights: Dandy Warhols, Mark Lanegan Band, Ash.

Tickets: €119.

With a reputation as among the country’s best straight-up rock fests, Indiependence has gained in prominence without losing its intimate sensibility.

This year’s bill is unapologetically hard-rocking, including indie outlaws Dandy Warhols, the always well-regarded Ash and bluesman Mark Lanegan, an artist whose caterwauling croon could cause inanimate objects to break-out in goosebumps.

Electric Picnic September 4–6, Stradbally, Co Laois

Highlights: Florence and the Machine, Belle and Sebastian, War on Drugs, Future Islands.

Tickets: Weekend €194.50 - Sunday tickets sold out

With capacity rumored to be increasing to over 40,000, it is ironic that what started as a ‘boutique’ festival should now be the biggest on the circuit.

Much of the line-up has yet to be unveiled. Nonetheless, the acts already announced pack plenty of heft, including Florence Welch (returning with a new LP), cult indie urchins Belle and Sebastian, schlubby indie heroes Future Islands and 90s beat purveyors Underworld.

Naturally, Picnic 2015 will also feature the now tradition spoken-word, comedy and dance arenas also.

Visit our features section for more great articles like this one


Lifestyle

As the clocks go ahead, so does your style. Corina Gaffney picks your new wardrobe heroesFashion forward: Spring fashion as the clocks change

Des O'Sullivan gives an overview of the changed dates for much-anticipated salesAntiques & FIne Art: What events are put on hold for now?

Virtual auctions a welcome distraction, writes Des O’SullivanBuyers adapt with ease to bid online while grounded

I wish I could write us all back in time, when we could pop to the shops without fear, when grandparents did not have to wave through a window at their grandchildren.Michelle Darmody: Recipes with simple ingredients

More From The Irish Examiner