AS we enter the first summer month, thousands will gather in anticipation of this festival season. The first in several years with no social distancing, emotions are sure to run high and fast – which makes this week's news of updated line-ups, schedules and new music from performers all the more special.
Abroad, we can mark the return of Primavera in Barcelona, one of Europe's biggest festivals. And as always, the team at Music From Ireland have made it their mission to see the country represented. Alongside international headliners like Dua Lipa, Gorillaz and The Strokes, Music From Ireland has secured a showcase at Primavera Pro, the industry-led event that takes place alongside the Spanish festival. Performing this year are long-time NW favourites Bobbi Arlo and Pretty Happy, amongst others. A career highlight for many of them, I’m sure.
Back home, things are heating up equally fast at a number of our cultural sensations this summer. To begin with, Body&Soul have released their full stage line-ups for their festivities this year, taking place June 17 to 19. Rife with international talent and home-grown heroes like SPRINTS, Soda Blonde, Pillow Queens, Roísín Murphy and Smoothboi Ezra (amongst many others), the festival will spread its talent across 13 stages and three days. Tickets have reportedly nearly sold out, so be sure to get some while you can. Beyond the Pale, which we reported on last week, has also followed suit.
Alongside the announcement of a new arena, The Big Romance Area, each day of the festival (June 10 to 12) has received its artist breakdown. My personal favourite is Saturday – how often do you get to see Aoife Nessa Frances and Bonobo share a stage?
This summer also sees the return of the legendary Live at the Docklands in Limerick. The show series, which went on hiatus after 2019, is set to return this year after receiving the backing of local promoters Dolan’s. Taking place over the June Bank Holiday, highlights include RTÉ presenter and DJ Jenny green, Hermitage Green and international headliners The National making their Limerick debut.
Of the return of the series, owner and booker Mick Dolan said: “The Live at the Docklands series will be all about giving audiences a spectacular audio-visual experience. The three concerts we have lined up over the June Bank Holiday weekend will each give a unique concert experience on the banks of the River Shannon. The hunger is there for the music and you can see it at every gig and we look forward to welcoming audiences to Live at the Docklands.”
And a rare piece of good news regarding Irish broadcasting these days comes in the news that long-time native advocate 8Radio will make its return to the FM dial this week. Based in Dublin, the station has often put the best and brightest Irish artists out on its airwaves. But what was once digital will make a temporary return, until July 3, to broadcast around the county. Their daytime support of native talent of all genres, coupled with their ongoing commitment to live entertainment, makes it one of the more important institutions in Ireland for the independent artist.
Speaking of indie artists, the spotlight once again shines on some of the best releases of the week. As we head into summer, these release weeks will calm down as festivals and holidays take precedence – but this week proves to be just as popular and packed as its predecessors.
Beginning this week we see the return of producer Daithí, who teams up with songwriter Ailbhe Reddy in the stunning new track ‘Sunset’. The opening track from his anticipated third album ‘I'm Here Now,’ it’s laden with the producer’s trademark pseudo-natural sounds and electronica, but is led by the stunning vocals of Reddy (reminiscent of her collaboration with Sheridan Tingue in the track Daydream). Really stellar stuff from both.
Also of note, this week is the debut of the new artist a boy in cords. Their first single, ‘Stupid Like That’, has a mature pop pedigree but doesn’t take itself too seriously – percussions and rhythms jump playfully around an electronic arrangement. The perfect summertime chill-out tune.