Getting wrecked on a ferry and terrorizing our former colonial owners on the April Bank Holiday weekend is a tradition as old as dipping sossy sambos in a cup of Lyons Tea. Airbound Festival, essentially the Bernard Shaw transplanted to different locations, will take a packed-out boat of marauders from Dublin docks up the Thames (with a lot of musical distraction and cheapo cocktails in between). The festival is a jewel in the crown of the Dublin nightlife calendar – we caught up with one of its able seamen, Dave Redmond, to talk about the mini-festival’s oceanic success.
Airbound started out as a site-specific festival in Croatia. It seemed like that went really well, how come it was toned back to London and Berlin for subsequent festivals?
It did go really well, sold out, an amazing week in the sun – but the timing of it was when things started to get really crap here, financially. We looked at in the immediate aftermath, and by Christmas it was clear Ireland was in a lot of trouble, and it was the start of people moving further afield to work. We decided to try and do it again would tarnish it, because nobody would really have the money for a big trip. Croatia’s never been off the cards, but there are no direct flights to Zadar anymore, so we decided to move the ethos of Irish people partying somewhere else in the world to a different venue. So yeah. Blame the bankers.
Do you find it’s the same core group of people going each year?
There’s a core group that’s evolved and changed, but the London idea really pulls people back together. It’s crazy though, there was no promotion involved for this at all. The five of us who run Airbound put links up on our Facebook, and within ten days it was sold out, with no line up announced. I think it’s down to a lot of people having moved to London to work, and this is a chance to get back together.
And it’s insanely cheap.
Yeah, I think €20 is a really fair price for people. This isn’t a revenue stream for us, and when pricing the ticket we didn’t want to exclude anyone. Of course, now we’re thinking we should definitely have charged more, but that ship has sailed. So to speak. What’s going on this year? We’re trying our hand at doing a night boat this year, which we’ll be navigating up the Thames. Corsica Studios is hosting our party till 6am, and anybody who still has wind in their sails…
I didn’t even mean to do that. But yeah, anyone still going we have this little boozer called the Castle open as a wind-down. And then on the Sunday evening, we have a place called the Shacklewell Arms with London and Dublin DJs playing Balearic Disco. And then we’re toying with the idea of closing with another late night in their basement.
Have you noticed less people on the boat coming back than going over?
Less people, but the same amount of lifejackets, which is always worrying. We do our best to keep everyone alive.
Tickets for the trip are sold out (they’re going to need a bigger boat), but places are available for the London leg of the festival. See www.facebook.com/airboundfest for more.
Words: Daniel Gray