Friday, July 30, 2010

Indiependence Music and Arts Festival

THE AUGUST Bank Holiday weekend is proving to be the weekend of the small, boutique festival with a number of events taking place to cater for the festival-going crowd who are located beyond the walls of Dublin.
However, by far the most interesting of those small festivals taking place this weekend is the Indiependence Music & Arts Festival, taking place in Mitchelstown, just over the Limerick border and a mere 40 minutes drive from the city.
There is nothing small about this festival though, the brainchild of Shane Dunne, who went to college in the University of Limerick from 1997 to 2002.
With five stages, 90-plus bands and DJs and a capacity of 4,500 people in a brand new, green-field site, Indiependence is truly the way of the future for music festivals. This is the fifth year of Indiependence, which has grown organically bit-by-bit from its origins as a free concert in the main square in Mitchelstown.
Shane, of Curve Music Management, has brought the festival to this point, where the headliners are none other than the White Lies, Alabama 3 and Reverend and the Makers, which virtually every Irish band worth seeing joining them on the bill, including; Duke Special, Delorentos, Jape, God is an Astronaut, Codes, Super Extra Bonus Party, And So I Watch You From Afar - plus Limerick bands including We Should Be Dead, while Fred, with one member from Limerick, also take to the Indiependence stage.
As befits the name, this is a completely independent festival, and the team have done something few have managed; created a low-cost, affordable festival with a magnificent line-up.
“It is completely independently run,” explained Shane, speaking from the site this week.
“It gives people the option that they don't have to travel too far for their festival, plus the fact that it is only €79 for a weekend camping ticket and the line-up is strong helps. We have capped all the prices on site and it is a really good value weekend on an intimate site with no hassle - it will be a really laid back, enjoyable weekend for everyone I think,” he added.
The short drive from Limerick suggests that local music fans will make up a significant percentage of the crowd, we would wager.
“Yes, it is very close, just a short spin really. I went to UL so it is a road I know well myself,” explained Shane.
“We should have six or seven Limerick bands on the bill in total, we got together with UL Music Society this year to run a couple of ‘Battle of the Band’ events so we got a few from there, and we have We Should Be Dead, who are probably the most well known, outside of the 20 percent of Fred that is from Limerick,” he laughed.
Last year’s event was plagued by poor weather, but Shane is optimistic that this weekend should be better.
“Even though last year the weather was atrocious - it rained for two weeks solid in the run up to it and destroyed the site - the feedback was brilliant and a lot of people who were there last year are definitely coming back,” he explained.
“But this is a much drier site and a much better set-up and the forecast is ok for the next week - no heavy rain predicted, so it should be good.”
Securing the services of hugely popular UK indie band White Lies for their only show in the Republic of Ireland this summer is hugely impressive, and a sign that this festival should continue to grow in years to come.
“It took a little bit of back and forth, they are in the studio this summer doing the second album and they were only planning to come out for really select shows where they are the headline acts, so it is great to get an act like that. They are one of the biggest bands in the UK and I can't wait to get them in here at the weekend and up on stage."
He adds: “I think this year now because we have grown it substantially, it is important to leave it get through this year and consolidate a little bit. If we could get to the stage where we were selling out at 4,500 every year for a couple of years, maybe we could look at stepping on a bit at that stage”.
In the meantime, Indiependence is the place to be this weekend for all keen festival-goers.

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