No sleep til Glasgowbury as festival fever kicks in
As Glastonbury kicks off this weekend, 24/7 takes a look at some outdoor music happening closer to home. Maureen Coleman slaps on the sunscreen and pulls on the wellies to search for the festivals worth forking out for, especially those on your doorstep
July 5 is a date to mark in the diary for fans of the blues, as the DOWNPATRICK BLUES mega gig at Bally- dugan Mill gets under way.
Wilko Johnston, remembered from his days with Dr Feelgood and Ian Drury and the Blockheads, will be headlining the event, along with local band Obsidian, singer Cara Robinson, the Shawn Jones Band, Cold Porter, Grainne Duffy, 18 Roses, The Rev Doc and the Congregation, Amadan and the S**t Hot Helicopters.
The event runs from 2.30pm to midnight in the courtyard of the restored mill at Ballydugan, just outside the town. Tickets for the day-long event are £20 in advance and £25 on the door, available from Ticketmaster at zavvi, Mullan's Bar, Church Street, Downpatrick, The Mill at Ballydugan, St Patrick's Centre, Downpatrick, Newcastle Centre, Newcastle and Street Music, Newry.
Everybody's favourite DJ and producer MARK RONSON is back in Belfast on Wednesday, July 23, for a show at St George's Market. The man credited with making Amy Winehouse a superstar will bring his Version Players with him for what is expected to be one of the best gigs of the summer.
Ronson stole the show at last year's Tennents ViTal, and later entertained revellers at the Stiff Kitten nightclub with a DJ set.
Support on the night will come from Sketchy's resident DJ and BBC Radio Ulster's Across The Line anchorman, Rigsy. Tickets are available from the Stiff Kitten nightclub, Ticketmaster and online at www.shine.net.
Downpatrick rockers Ash have been snapped up to headline this year's GLASGOWBURY Festival at Eagle's Rock Valley, Draperstown on Saturday, July 26.
Widely regarded as Northern Ireland's largest independent music festival, it's really grown in recent years. And if you're wondering about that curious name, it's a hybrid of Glastonbury and Glasgow, the latter in tribute to local musician and event founder, Paddy Glasgow.
Ash will be joined on the day by up to 50 other artists and acts, appearing over four stages, including Panama Kings, The Beat Poets, Oppenheimer, Cat Malojian, The Delawares, Ed Zealous, And So I Watch You From Afar, Paul Casey, Colenso Parade, Inishowen Gospel Choir, Dutch Schultz and Superfreakz. For tickets, go to www.wegottickets.com
A brand-new fixture this year, the BELSONIC Festival kicks off on Monday, August 11 with the wonderful, wacky Flaming Lips headlining at Custom House Square in Belfast. Expect a theatrical show with guest appearances from an array of strange animals, as well as Scottish cosmic rockers Mogwai, Dublin band Jape and Belfast's own Oppenheimer.
Tickets on sale, priced £35, from the Stiff Kitten and Ticketmaster.
Belsonic's second concert takes place at Custom House Square on Thursday, August 14, with The Enemy headlining, supported by Reverend and the Makers, Fighting With Wire, Future of the Left, and General Fiasco. Tickets, £27.50, as above.
Then, on Friday, August 15, the same venue will play host to Liverpool's finest, The Zutons, the Go! Team and the Skibunny DJs.
The Zutons emerged in 2004 with a sound that is just perfect for warm summer evenings. Their best known hit is Valerie, which, of course, was famously reworked for Amy Winehouse by none other than Mark Ronson. Tickets, £30, as above.
Details of this year's TENNENT'S VITAL had not been announced at the time of going to press.
The two-day event is normally held in August and in the past, has featured such acts as Franz Ferdinand, The White Stipes, Snow Patrol, The Killers and Kasabian. We'll keep you posted ...
While not strictly outdoors, the TRANS festival has been described as the 'credit crunch' festival — most tickets are less than a tenner! — so we think that deserves a mention.
Running July 14 —August 10 across a series of Belfast venues, musical highlights include Los Campesinos!, Lisa Hannigan, Damien Dempsey, DJ Food, London Elektricity, Andy Weatherall, plus live beat-boxing from Beardyman and electronic music from Lap Off (as in laptop ... geddit?)
Elsewhere, a number of festivals and outdoor shows will take place in the Republic including: OXEGEN, July 11-13, Punchestown Racecourse, featuring Kings Of Leon, Interpol, REM, The Verve, Amy Winehouse, The Ting Tings, Justice, Rage Against The Machine, Kaiser Chiefs, The Fratellis and Ian Brown; BUNDORAN LIVE, July 15, 17, 19, featuring Meat Loaf, Chris De Burgh and Shayne Ward; the EARAGAIL ARTS FESTIVAL, Letterkenny, July 10-20, featuring The Fall and Richard Hawley; LIVE AT THE MARQUEE, CORK, June 18-July 7 with performances from Massive Attack, Dolly Parton, Pink andPaul Weller; ELECTRIC PICNIC, Stradbally, Co Laois, August 29-31, Sex Pistols, Duffy, The Gossip; COIS FHARRAIGE, Kilkee, Co Clare, September 5-7, Travis, Supergrass, The Zutons, The Futureheads, Seasick Steve, The Coronas and Cathy Davey.
Additional reporting: Una Bradley