Saturday, August 30, 2008

What is it with Ireland and boutique music festivals?

Ireland must have more boutique music festivals than anywhere in the world.

This weekend is the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, Laois is taking place, and the stand-out acts include Underworld (who I last saw play at a huge New Years Eve party in London's Alexandra Palace), New Young Pony Club (when will they play Boston?), and My Bloody Valentine (the Irish Sonic Youth).

Next week is the Cois Fharraige ("Beside the sea", in Irish) festival in Kilkee, County Clare. In two weeks time, there is the A Day in the Life festival in Wicklow, featuring Kraftwerk (their only appearance in Europe this year).

Ireland also has more than its fair share of large music festivals. Earlier this summer, there was the huge Oxegen festival at Punchestown Racecourse, and the Marquee Festival in Cork (Roger Waters, Morrissey).

I wish there were similar festivals around Boston. It would seem obvious to run large music festivals somewhere which is accessable from both New York and Boston, somewhere in Connecticut or Rhode Island, to draw a big crowd. Like Tanglewood except for rock and dance music. This seems to happen, to some extent, on the West Coast where there are the Coachella and Outside Lands festivals. Why not over here? If we just had a small percentage of the festival which Ireland has, I'd be happy.

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