In little under a week, half the rabble team will be mitching off work early and catching the snail and rail across the Irish sea to enter the parallel universe of Winchester’s Boomtown Fair. Rashers Tierney and Darragh Lynch threw together this round up of Irish acts making the voyage over.
We missed out last summer, opting instead for hometown madness – but after slaving away slopping out pints alongside a hearty band of volunteers all summer we’re well deserving of mucking about in fields for a day or three.
Boomtown is a wholly immersive affair, with massive economies of scale and scenes to draw on, it dwarfs anything that happens on our own island where shoving a few light fabric banners on poles distinguishes a boutique festival from the hell holes of MCD led money making. Each year the team behind it erect a mini city Boardwalk Empire style, with real squares and dozens of venues to get lost in. One minute you could be spell bound gawping at jaw dropping circus acts dipping and diving above a raving crowd of thousands or the next completely losing your nut to some old school garage in a tent of two dozen folk chomping at the bite.
It also has a multi-generational demographic too. One that applies more imagination to their festival stride than the hippy chic tack doled out by Penny’s or the cheery Miami Vice sleaze adopted by leery lads at the Marley Park gigs. It’s a crowd of ravers, reggae fiends, crust warriors, punkers and music lovers of all stripes and ages.
We like it much. Here’s our round up of Irish acts to catch.
The quintessential world-fusion group is entering its 20th year, and they’re still packing out shows. Although only partly an Irish group, we reckon their use of uilleann pipes and traditional dance tunes, as well as the vocals of world renowned Cúil Aodha sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, give them more than enough grounds to be part of this list. The band’s beginnings were as a vague idea of British producer Simon Emmerson’s, who was apparently told he was mad for even considering it. Two decades later ACSS are proof that sometimes mad ideas simply are the best. They’re playing in The Old Mines on the 8th and will doubtless send the crowd balloobas with their mix of African rhythms, trip-hop beats and Irish tunes (especially those lads with big Aladdin trousers and ladies with sparkly shit on their faces).
Another band that has been around for donkey’s years, fusing traditional Irish elements with much more modern aesthetics and sensibilities. This band leans much more towards the punk end of things though, in a very similar vain to The Pogues and Dropkick Murphys, but there are also elements of Dublin punk history in their music, and anyone who’s been around long enough will recognise hints of Ciúnas, Paranoid Visions and Striknein D.C. in their songs, as well as the Clash and the Sex Pistols. These lads are playing in Chinatown on the 8th and things are likely to get rowdy, so stay at the back if you don’t like getting bumped into by excited, inebriated individuals who smell of stale cider.
These lads will be known to anyone who’s hung around the laneway to Sweeney’s in Dublin smoking joints with lads who dress up like they’re in the 70’s, or rolled around in muck down at Knockanstockan with winged glitter bugs. Feel good music with reggae rhythms, a hint of folk, and a Dublin accent, this is one for a sunny afternoon outdoors. You’ll find these lads jamming in the Hidden Woods on the 8th, probably with more than one lad with dreadlocks and no shoes on grooving in the sunshine.
Did you mess our legandary Boomtown Banter battle and festival pull out game from a few years ago? Check em out so.