Indiependence turned 10 at the weekend, so Joe Leogue did some number crunching
There were a few examples of solo sets across the weekend, but in RSAG Indiependence had one man with the energy of an army. Hailing from a county renowned for producing men adept at handling sticks, Kilkenny native Jeremy Hickey is a flurry of activity behind his drumkit, looping other instruments to produce a high tempo sound that had Friday night punters dancing.
Two things that are apparently essential at a festival, regardless of the weather, are shorts and vest tops. There were cornbeef legs aplenty on show this weekend. To the brave lads who weren’t going to let wind and rain dictate their weekend’s sartorial selections, a word of advice; basketball shirts and shorts may be on trend, but pasty goosebumped skin isn’t. And ladies, you’re fooling no one with the layer of fake tan.
Briona Gallagher spoke to some perfomers at Indiependence
Three years on, the decision to convert Deer Farm’s barn into a beer hall has proven to be the organisers’ shrewdest move yet. The German style hall replete with tables, games and seating recycled from pallets is arguably the beating heart of the festival and saw many highlights in its own right over the three days. Stomptown Brass surprised with an impromptu performance in the middle of the crowd and the late night 80s and 90s DJ session was lapped up by an audience who had abandoned all pretences by that stage of the night. At a time when festivals ripping off punters is the norm, credit to the bar for serving craft beer pints for €5.
The four stages at Indiependence had one major benefit in common – they were all indoors. When all attractions are taken into account, there was thankfully little reason to be exposed to the wind and rain for too long. The worn out newspaper cliché of how the rain ‘failed to dampen revellers’ spirits’ is applicable here – largely because the organisers have the common sense to prepare for the worst when it comes to Irish weather.
Ash on stage at Indiependence
Five albums in and Jape’s live show is constantly evolving. Richie Egan continues to tweak his back catalogue to produce a cohesive electronic rock set in which past hits and new material flow into one another seamlessly. Séance of Light and Absolutely Animals are highlights from the new album but the anthemic Floating remains the crowd’s favourite track.
Numerous on stage collaborators. One Basement Jaxx. Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe brought a carnival atmosphere to Indiependence and were a perfect Friday night closer to tee up the weekend ahead with a set that had the crowd dancing.
By our count last weekend was the seventh time Ham Sandwich played Indiependence, and the Kells crew stepped up to the mark to close the main stage on Saturday, after illness forced Ash to cut short their set. The addition of a brass section has really rounded the band’s euphoric live sound, and in Niamh Farrell and Podge McNamee they have two of the most engaging and charismatic vocalists in Ireland. Saturday’s triumphant main stage closing slot felt like deserved recognition for Indiependence’s stalwarts.
Ham Sandwich played Indiependence for the seventh time at the weekend.
About 8,000 punters came along to this year’s festival, but despite the increased attendance, the site never felt cramped with the larger crowd. Deer Farm remains a site large enough to accommodate a crowd but small enough that nothing is too far away, with spacious adjacent camping. It’s the third venue to host Indiependence, but five years since the move to the site, it feels like the festival has found its natural home.
The average age of The Academic was around nine when the first Indiependence hit Mitchelstown. Their material and performance belies their youth, however. With an arsenal of catchy hooks and a swagger that matches the most confident of experienced bands, this four-piece is the best thing to come out of Mullingar since Joe Dolan – including Niall whatshisname.
What does the future hold? The festival’s evolution from a free, one stage show in the centre of Mitchelstown to what it is today is well known. What is less certain is what is next. The public appetite is clearly still there - this year’s festival increased its capacity by 60% and still sold out – and the Deer Farm site seemed able to cope with the extra demand. How the festival grows from here remains to be seen.
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