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Summer is just months away and we all know what that means: long sunny days, basking in the sun. Wait, I’m thinking of another country! But there is one thing that this summer can guarantee, even in Ireland: Festivals!

There are so many festivals on now that it can be hard to know what’s what. As well as the many larger ones, smaller festivals are becoming increasingly popular because of their alternative music and their cheap ticket costs. Of course the bigger ones continue to be a success, even with their sometimes outlandish ticket prices in excess of €240!

Life Festival

To kick off the summer why not take a trip (excuse the pun) down to Belvedere House in Mullingar for the wonderfully colourful Life Festival, which is being held on the 27th-29th of May. Life has been running since 2006 and has gained in popularity year after year. In previous years it was held in Gort Co.Galway and Ballinlough Castle in Athboy Co.Meath.

The festival is renowned for its eclectic variety of music. It’s organised by Neutronyx Ireland, and started off as a Psy-Trance festival. These days, you can find anything from Techno to Reggae. And that’s not all. There is a chill out area located beside the scenic lake, and various workshops such as yoga and meditation.

Tickets go on an upwards scale. They start at €90 for early birds and rise steadily to a still very reasonable €130, and for Friday-Monday it can’t be beaten.

Life has won several awards including best Dance Music Festival in Ireland. There are four stages, all within walking distance to the eco-friendly campsite. The ethos is very much of “peace and respect”. Also there are many visual as well as musical delights to tickle the senses with beautiful decorations and art work throughout the entire festival.

It would be advisable to bring your own booze, and to note that all glass bottles are not allowed, and they will be confiscated from you at the gates. This is true of nearly all festivals now.

For ticket and festival info visit


Another small festival on this summer is Knockanstockan where the emphasis is on unsigned bands and musicians. This year will be the fourth instalment of the festival which is held by the scenic Blessington Lakes in Co.Wicklow on the 23rd-25th of July. Tickets are just €75, and the drinks are cheap with promos available on Becks and Bulmers and you can even buy ice cold cans for €2.50 each.

You can of course BYOB too, and all those working at the festival are volunteers. The emphasis is on the music and there are more bands than DJ’s.

Connected Magazine said this about Knockanstockan “Formed from a primal jelly of social souls, breaking backs and wallets, and brushing off the bitter, this three day platform/ party is a  little godsend you really shouldn’t miss!”

This can’t be missed for all those who love live music and love to party in a relaxed atmosphere with around 3000 other revellers. As with many other small festivals there are art installations and exhibitions to be enjoyed too!

For more info visit

Body and Soul

If you fancy an ultra-chilled out relaxed atmosphere, the Body and Soul Festival is the place for you. It’s still in it’s infancy – last year was the first year it ran. It takes part by the picturesque Ballinlough Castle in Athboy, the previous home of Life Festival.

This year it will take place on the 18th of June, and tickets are just €99 at the moment. It’s a bargain, and perfect if you want to enjoy an eclectic mix of electronic music coupled with art and creativity from all around the world.

The campsite opens on Friday at 3pm and remains open until Monday at 12pm, so you can really get your moneys worth!

And because it’s such a new festival, they are always looking for new artists and acts to play and perform. For more info visit

How about going slightly further a field than Ireland? Europe offers a wide variety of festivals for all musical tastes.

For the metal heads amongst us, Wacken in Germany is running for the 22nd year in a row on the 4th-8th of August.

Feast your eyes upon aged death metallers Cradle of Filth and Judas Priest, Motorhead, and Ozzy Osbourne. For more info visit

Sziget in Budapest, Hungary has been running for 26 years. It is unlike any other festival in Europe because it’s on its own island (the word Sziget means “the island” in Hungarian). This year it takes place on the 11-15th of August, but the island is open to revellers three days before the music starts, giving people a chance to get to grips with the island as it is pretty big.

It’s one of the biggest festivals in the world with over 500,000 people visiting the island over the week. One of the unique things about Sziget is the fact that there aren’t any designated camping areas. You can camp where-ever you like, although I wouldn’t recommend sticking your tent up beside the main stage or the rock bar!

Early bird camping tickets are just €170, and for a week of amazing sunshine and fun it’s totally worth it! If you book airline tickets on early, there are some great deals available. But hurry up! They won’t last long.

There are so many festivals on this summer, both at home and abroad. So if you want an alternative to a package holiday for a cheaper price why not head off to a festival and enjoy some new music and sights and meet some interesting people while you’re at it!

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Written by: Katie Kelly

Proofed by: Dara O’Conor

Uploaded by: Emma Duggan


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