It was 6:37pm on Friday in Tullamore, a few people got off the bus as the rain began to teem down. As they made their way towards Charleville Castle, the rain started to get heavier, the clothes wetter, the excitement still in the air.
15 minutes later at the festival entrance. Despite taxis and drop offs, the walk to the campsite began to take its toll on a few unhappy and somewhat under-dressed campers who cursed the weather, but it is festival season in Ireland after all.
Dry clothes and a pop up tent later, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for those setting up tents from scratch, some of them for the first time. Still there was music to look forward to and here is how the weekend’s highlights began.
Most of Friday’s action went down in the Metro Herald tent as campers still made their way through the castle grounds to campsites.
Miss Kate‘s energy on stage and ability to bring the funk and hip-hop tones to her songs is quite impressive. Hats off to her band for those serious grooves.
Sleep Thieves were on top form as usual, ‘City of Hearts’ was standout among the setlist. Trademark dance moves from the trio also.
Ships were well received, their blend of beats and ambient pop added to the chilled out vibes.
It may have been very wet conditions at Charleville Castle, but that didn’t dampen the mood of those making their way to the Main Stage in ponchos and umbrellas.
Otherkin treated a big crowd at Castlepalooza on Saturday, despite the rain and odd thunderstorm, the band made a storm of their own in the Metro Herald stage. Conor Linnie made the Main Stage ‘swoon’ to quote one crowd member. GoldenBeck and TXFM are fans of this songwriter, it was easy to see why.
DOGS have been festival favourites in various blog previews. Some might say they were underDOGS, but any notion of that was banished when they prevailed on the Metro Herald Stage. Dublin Afrobeat Ensemble had revelers splashing around in the rain in the Main Stage area. Festival memories are made rain or shine.
Dan Croll had many fans Crolling it, which is a fan based term for people dancing to the ‘From Nowhere’ dream-pop songwriter.
Other highlights were mostly on the Main Stage, as VANN Music, O Emperor, We Cut Corners (who had a bit of a scare when their pedalboard. when it was mistakenly taken by another band before their set, but was soon returned), previously mentioned Dan Croll, and Gruff Rhys finished Saturday’s action.
It would be hard to follow Saturday’s stellar line up, still you know the team at Castlepalooza might just have saved some of the best for last. Weather wise, well all camping folk were soaked since the beginning, who said ponchos weren’t hot festival clothing?
Meltybrains? have been described by many here as one of the best acts currently making their way up the line ups of festivals. Hard to describe, as the word ‘entertaining’ doesn’t seem to be right superlative for these guys. Sheer brilliance, in white that is.
Tvvins were very impressive, they probably haven’t got the big following they deserve, but a few singles and more live shows would certainly get these guys some new fans.
Before they embark on some European dates this month, it was nice to see Funeral Suits become favourites again. Always a band to be on the ‘look up’ list when people return home.
Really blissful songs from Cave Ghosts also. It would make you feel like a tourist traveling along the coast in some Mediterranean country instead of the Irish midlands.
Homebeat had their own area, with Carriages, Bantum and Sive entertaining in the warmth of one of the Castle’s many rooms.
You’ve got to hand it to Vodafone CentreStage for their energy at keeping the crowd going around the arena this weekend. Recharging phones, giving away some too! These people bring the party to the corners where music isn’t found.