Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cois Fharraige 2009 review

YOU simply can’t win if you are a music promoter dealing with the Irish weather, in this reporter’s humble opinion; less than a week after Electric Picnic sank under metres of mud, Kilkee’s Cois Fharraige was blessed with incredible weather - but that development unfortunately meant the crowds were disappointing for the MCD run festival.
With the picturesque Kilkee bathed in sunshine from early Wednesday until Monday evening, punters arrived in droves but seemed largely unwilling to leave the beach and go and hear the music on offer on St. Senan’s GAA pitch.
Local sources told the Limerick Leader that “around 3,000 tickets” were eventually sold for the third Cois Fharraige festival - far short of the estimated 6,500-7,000 sold last year and the year before. Both previous concerts were billed as sell-out events.
The three day festival was only announced a few short weeks before it took place, and an MCD source agreed that had the event been put on sale at the start of the summer, it would have likely sold out as before, due to the strength of the line-up.
As it was we were greeted by the rather disconcerting sight of heavyweight bands such as Doves and the Zutons playing to a half-empty tent.
Friday afternoon opened to an impressive performance by Joe Echo, the Northern Ireland musician responsible for having written Madonna’s latest single, while a stirring set followed from Laura Izibor.
Perennial favourites the Blizzards followed and received a huge reaction to their uninspiring brand of bubblegum pop, but the gig of the weekend followed from Manchester band Doves, who opened with the excellent ‘Jetstream’ from their latest album Kingdom of Rust and never let the momentum drop throughout their near 20 song set.
“It’s great to be on the West Coast, what a beautiful day eh?” said lead singer Jez Williams, who was earlier seen wandering down main street in Kilkee. Final song There Goes The Fear, from excellent second album The Last Broadcast, was simply stunning and drew a huge reaction from the crowd that stayed to hear it.
Jerry Fish opened proceedings on Saturday with a set that leaned heavily on his latest album The Beautiful Untrue, followed by American ‘rawk’ outfit The Hold Steady and a surprisingly introspective set from the quirky Noah and the Whale.
Englishman Newton Faulkner drew huge cheers from a Saturday crowd who seemed to know every word the dreadlocked musician sang. Faulkner spent the day wandering around Kilkee and surveying the atmosphere of the town, which he remarked was “beautiful” on more than one occasion.
Sunday evening kicked off with Liverpool band Hello... I Love You and local Limerick jazz ensemble Jazz Lite, who included a Beatles medley in their exuberant set, before Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds and the Stereo MCs provided an interesting throwback to the 90s before the Zutons closed out the festival, the latter appearing for the second year in a row.
While crowds at the gig itself were disappointing, huge numbers descended on Kilkee, with O’Curry Street transformed into one large venue of its own for the weekend. There were some problems with rubbish from on-street drinking and Gardai were extremely visible at all times, but there seemed to be little trouble and Mayor of Kilkee Lily Marrinan Sullivan told the Leader that although there were a few “teething problems” it was a successful weekend for the town.
“It was very busy and overall a successful weekend, but there are issues that need to be addressed and I hope they will be,” she added.
Unfortunately for MCD, one issue that can’t be helped is the weather and one must wonder if Cois Fharraige will return for a fourth time next year given the disappointing take up on tickets for the actual festival.

1 comment:

robert said...

MCD should have made up their minds earlier to hold the concert and maybe then it would sell-out!