The Irish have a great 'gra' (love) for music, partying and gathering together to enjoy each-other's company. That's probably why music festivals have become such a huge part of the summer in Ireland and there's a huge variety to chose from.
From the more literary Galway Arts Festival to the hipster and urban Forbidden Fruit, from the blow out massive 90,000 person festival Oxegen to the more boutique mellow festival of Cois Fharraige you're sure to find the festival that fits you in Ireland this summer.
Here's our choice for the top ten music festivals in Ireland in 2011 and a sample of some of the music you just might hear.
1.Oxegen, County Kildare - July 7th-10th
This festival has been running in Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare since 2004. Oxegen is the biggest festival in Ireland and is also 100 percent carbon neutral. Oxegen has been named the Best European Festival over two consecutive years. The festival has about 90,000 visitors every year.
The lineup this year includes Manic Street Preachers, other popular bands that have been scheduled to play include Coldplay, The Strokes, Black Eyed Peas, The National, The Script, Tinie Tempah, Paolo Nutini, Glasvegas, Professor Green, Odd Future and Pete Doherty.
2. Life Festival, County Westmeath - May 27th-29th
Life Festival is held in the idyllic surround of Belvedere House and Gardens in Mullingar, County Westmeath. Their aim is to present cutting-edge music, visual and traditional arts, workshops and performance. This is an international festival celebrating the difference between people and their art.
Their official music policy is psytrance, progressive, dub, breaks, reggae, drum & bass, world music, electronica and minimal techno. This years lineup includes Jeff Mills, Slam, Dr. Lektroluv, Johnny Clarke, John Digweed, Youngsta, Sandwell Distrct, Neelix, Michael Prophet, Ramadanman and Juno Reactor to name but a few.
This annual arts and music festival has been running since 2004 at the Stradbally, in County Laois. It has, in the past, been dubbed "Ireland's version of Glastonbury". In fact Billboard magazine called it "a magnificent rock n roll circus, a textbook example of everything a festival should be."
The music at the Electric Picnic tends to be eclectic. For example this year Arcade Fire, Pulp, The Chemical Brothers, Interpol, PJ Harvey, Beirut, Blonde Redhead, 3epkano, The Undertones, Public Enemy, DJ Shadow and Sinéad O'Connor, plus many more, have made the bill.
4. Forbidden Fruit, County Dublin - June 4th-5th
The Irish Museum of Modern Arts, formerly Kilmainham Hospital is the perfect location for Dublin's only multi-staged music festival. The festival aims to bring together music, art and fashion with the result of an alternative, hipster vibe to the event.
This year the lineup includes Bombay Bicycle, The Flaming Lips, Wild Beasts, Yo La Tengo, Spank Rock , Richter Collective, Cast of Cheers, Bats, Enemies, Squarehead and more.
5. Galway Arts Festival, Galway City - July 11th-24th
This Galway City-centric festival is a spectacle of dance, visual arts and performers. It is the largest and most prestigious arts festival in Ireland and it brings together writers, artists, performers and musicians from all over the world.
Every year at least 100,000 flock to the small city for two weeks of fabulous events. So far just some highlight performances that have been announced include Blondie, Bell X1, De La Soul with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and many more.
Located in Charleville castle, County Offaly this annual boutique celebration is the perfect example of how to get a small festival right. Organizers book mainly home grown talent and the annual summer event is fast developing a reputation as one of the best in the country. For two years running it has been nominated as “Best Small Festival in the European Festival Awards”
The festival is also environmentally friendly and supports local economy with the majority of the food and drink sold at the event being locally produced.
The three day festival combines surf and music and take place in the seaside town of Kilkee in County Clare. The event features live music from Irish and foreign bands and offers competitions and classes for surf enthusiasts.
When the sun shines, this is one Irish festival that should not be missed.
8. Slane, County Meath, Saturday 28th of May
Three decades after the first Slane festival was held, Slane Castle continues to be one of the most popular Irish festivals around. Kings of Leon will headline the 2011 Slane Castle concert on Saturday 28th of May, which will also be the year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of outdoor concerts at the Castle.
The owner of the Castle, Lord Henry is delighted the Tennessee-based Band who have become one of the biggest bands in the world will be the main act at Slane on such a special occasion.
However tickets are already sold out for what promises to be one of the hottest concert of the summer.
9. Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival, County Donegal, June 2nd to 5th
This festival draws thousands every year to the small town of Ballyshannon in County Donegal, where one of Ireland’s premiere rock artists, Rory Gallagher hailed from. Completely dedicated to the memory of the Irish rock legend, a host of national and international acts will decend on the small Donegal town.
This year’s headline concert will take place on Saturday 4th June 2011 features former ‘Thin Lizzy’ Guitarist Eric Bell and his band.
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