Contributing some of the most important music of our times, it’s no surprise they love a good festival. Whether it’s hip hop, electronic, rock, blues, indie, pop, soul, grime, experimental or funk that does it for you, there’s a festival in Ireland that has it.
So let’s get straight to it. Here are the best Irish music festivals.
When: Friday 17th - Sunday 19th June
Where: Ballinlough Castle & Gardens, County Meath
Over in County Meath in June, Body&Soul Festival will finally be making its comeback after two years off. The festival that’s held in the sunning Ballinlough Gardens has all sorts on, including wellbeing workshops, art trails, discos to take you well into the night, talks and more. No artists have been confirmed for 2022 yet, but past editions have featured a wide variety of genres such as Roisin Murphy, Princess Nokia, Marc Rebillet, The Black Lips, Sleaford Mods, and Moses Sumney.
Electric Picnic is one of, if not the biggest, music festivals in Ireland. Known for diverse lineups featuring some of the biggest names in the game, Electric Picnic welcomes over 40,000 music fans to its site not too far from Dublin to revel in groovy tunes for a weekend. This boutique festival covers many genres of music. And since the lineup hasn’t been announced, here are some of the artists who graced the stage in the past - Bjork, Fatboy Slim, Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, Florence + The Machine and A Tribe Called Quest.
Coming in with an absolutely killer lineup is Longitude, a hip hop festival in the lovely Marlay Park. Massive from top to bottom, this year’s event will feature rapidly rising stars Aitch, Jack Harlow, and Central Cee alongside those huge headliners and smaller acts such as Ivorian Doll and Denise Chaila. Typically the festival has a mix of genres, but this year, it seems focused on hip hop, grime, trap, drill and similar genres. Perhaps this marks a permanent change for the fest, we’ll have to wait and see.
A gorgeous festival with a great vibe and a killer lineup, Forbidden Fruit should be on any electronic music fan’s radar. Forbidden Fruit will return in early June, making it the first of the major festivals to return in Ireland. What better way to kick off the season? This year marks the festival’s 10th anniversary, and the team behind it are inviting you to enjoy their class lineup, which includes Bicep, Floating Points, Princess Nokia, Peggy Gou, Hot Chip, Tom Misch, and Jayda G.
Open Ear Festival
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When: Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th June
Where: Sherkin Island, Cork
If Forbidden Fruit’s lineup was a bit too mainstream for your taste, perhaps Open Ear might be more your vibe. No artists are confirmed yet, but past editions have consisted of predominantly underground artists, “presenting the best in Ireland’s electronic and experimental music scene”. Nothing has been confirmed for 2022 yet except the date and location. Keep an eye out for any updates or artist announcements!
All Together Now, the festival that was the brainchild of the man behind the original Electric Picnic, will be back with another insane lineup that covers lots of genres. The fest was brought about to create a place for “like-minded people - music lovers, passionate performers, families, artists, musicians, creators, rebels, and refugees of a changing festival landscape - to come together and create a truly magical atmosphere across one weekend.” With this in mind and with a lineup like that, we don’t need any more convincing.
As you might have guessed by the name, Sea Sessions is a beach festival in Donegal that celebrates music, surfing, sports, and just going mad and letting loose for a weekend. Expect sets from headliners Kodaline, Tinie (Tempah), and Basement Jaxx alongside up and coming artists such as Lyra, Joel Corry, Lea Heart and more. And if you find some free time, there are lots of sporty activities to check out, including beach yoga, surfing, a skate park, and beach sports like volleyball, rugby, football and frisbee.
On the outskirts of Mitchelstown, this award-winning music festival kicks off for a weekend of wowing crowds with sublime live music. With a diverse lineup, including pop group Bastille, big beat pioneer Fatboy Slim, and genre-crossing electronic group Rudimental, this is the perfect festival for those who like bright music and just want to dance until they can’t anymore. A cracking festival with the perfect festival lineup, Indiependence Festival is a fantastic choice.
Belsonic is a festival in Belfast that does things a bit differently. Instead of a crazy weekend packed with various artists, the fest sells tickets by the day so concertgoers can see what appeals to them most. For example, Iron Maiden are headlining one night with Shinedown, Airbourne, and Tempt, creating a heavy metal themed day. Located in the city centre, this festival is perfect for those who’ve grown tired of sleeping in a freezing cold tent.
Straight off the bat, it’s clear Stendhal disregards genre, instead choosing cracking acts we know and love with some exciting newcomers spanning just about every popular genre you can think of. You can check out Grainne Duffy's blues tunes, alternative hip hop duo Tebi Rex, alt-rock band Harley & The Wolf, and SkiBunny DJs, which started as a Belfast club night back in 1998. Just the thought of grooving to Sister Sledge’s We Are Family in the summer night with a pint in hand is sending shivers down our spines…
So there you have it, the best festivals in Ireland. While some might not think of Ireland as their first choice for a music festival, there’s fantastic variety, and there’s plenty to explore when the festival’s over. We hope you’re as pumped as we are to check out these class fests.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.