Celtronic (Derry City, 27th June – 1st July, £35)
Derry’s Celtronic boasts one of the finest dance festival line-ups in the country this year. From internationally acclaimed local boys like Boxcutter and Space Dimension Controller to some of the biggest names in the current scene with Nina Kraviz, Steffi and Todd Terje, the five-day event has enough talent to keep the fires burning throughout. With Life Festival already come and gone for this year, Celtronic is the electronic music festival to look forward to this summer.
Galway Arts Festival (25 Venues across Galway City, 16th – 29th July, Prices vary)
If you’re like us, you’re always looking for a good excuse to hop the 20 quid GoBus to Galway for a day (and night) trip. Galway Arts Festival will stretch your summer sicknote quota beyond feasible. Spread over two weeks in a variety of venues (including the specially-erected Big Top in Fisheries Field), the program promises a plethora of stand-out performances and talks across all disciplines. The highlights? How about Nile Rodgers, disco’s most irrepressible, discussing the history of Chic? Or try Alex Ross’, the New Yorker’s music critic, speaking on the influence of Richard Wagner on Joyce. Or try and digest the fact that Mark E. Smith and former president Mary Robinson are on the same bill. There’s even going to be dragons. GAF party!
The Volvo Ocean Race (Galway Bay, 30th June – 8th July)
Allright, allright. You’ve had enough mucky fields being serenaded by the Kaiser Chiefs. Galway Bay joins cities like Lisbon, Abu Dhabi, and Auckland as a stop on the sea route for this year’s Volvo Ocean Race. That’s loads of big boats going hard for number on the cusp of the Atlantic Ocean. Galway’s the final stop in the global race, so expect a serious maritime party at the end of it all.
PhotoIreland (Across Dublin, 1st – 31st July)
Year 3 for the city’s premier festival of photography will focus, fittingly, on the theme Migrations: Diaspora & Cultural Identity. PhotoIreland has a reputation for not only pulling in some big names in contemporary photography (see Martin Parr last year), but for creating a platform for some of Ireland’s most promising snappers. Last year’s highlight was the Book & Magazine Fair, a brief haven for the city’s magophiles to add to their racks – it thankfully returns for this year’s iteration.
The Burning Oak Festival (An Cruiscin Lan, Cork, 4th – 7th July, €69.50)
OK, so Primordial are the only band we’ve heard of on Cork’s very first heavy metal festival bill. But getting to chill with bearded guys harder than diamonds over four days of Buckfast and power chords offers something entirely new in the ever-diversifying festivals calendar. One bonus? Anybody caught chanting Chelsea Dagger in the campsite will be placed in stocks and have every square inch of their body pierced with a rusted safety pin. You might even catch this guy:
Sea Sessions (Bundoran, June 29th – July 1st, €50-88.50)
Bundoran’s Sea Sessions has been a fixture on the Irish festival calender for a few years now and it continues to grow year on year. 2012′s installment of sea, surf and tunes will see Madchester legends the Happy Mondays take to the beach for a headline slot, with Kaiser Chiefs, The Coronas, The Unabombers and loads more in tow. The line-up is relatively short on big names compared to some other festivals but the Sea Sessions have never been about the headliners, it’s really all in service of the vibe. Keep it chilled.
Eat My Shorts (Twisted Pepper, June 9th, Free)
Entirely free and entirely awesome all-day event investigating and celebrating Irish short film. There’ll be screenings all day in the Box Cinema and a series of workshops taking in special effects with the Bowsie Workshop, script-writing with award-winning screenwriter and tutor Mary-Kate O’Flanagan and scoring for film with the Secret School of Sound. A panel discussion explaining the ever-complicated ins-and-outs of funding should be of particular interest to any aspiring filmmakers, as will the party afterward.
Love:Live Music (Various venues, June 21st, Free)
Hundreds of free live music events nationwide in honour of Ireland’s National Live Music Day. Not quite as catchy an idea as Record Store Day, but the impulse is the same; celebrate the continued vitality of live music in local communities. Go trainspotting with White Collar Boy on an actual train between Dublin and Waterford, enjoy the Ukefest in Dun Laoghaire’s People’s Park or catch an excellent Meeting House Square bill including Buffalo in the Castle, We Banjo 3, The Unwanted, Tarab, Mick O’Brien, members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and DIT Traditional Music Ensemble and Sean Mac Erlaine. www.lovelivemusic.ie
Body And Soul 2012 (Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath, June 22nd – 23rd, €55-99)
With Electric Picnic taking up the slack from the Oxegen non-event by adding the likes of Elbow and Ed Sheeran to their bill, the demand for a festival that harks back to the Picnic’s roots is stronger than ever this year and Body & Soul is making a solid claim for that hallowed spot in the public consciousness. Stepping up the game with their bookings in their third year, the likes of St. Vincent, M83, Villagers and Spiritualized highlight the ambitious attitude of those at the helm. As ever, there’ll be a host of great acts further down the bill, with the blissed-out Balearics of John Talabot sure to be a set to treasure. With one of the most beautiful festival sites in the country, a distinctly relaxed attitude and a plethora of musical and non-musical attractions, this is a small festival rapidly becoming one of the big boys.
Dalkey Book Festival (Dalkey, 15th – 17th June)
If you were Roddy Doyle or Maeve Binchy, you’d buy a house in Dalkey too. All of the seaside town’s authors are coming out of the woodwork for this year’s Book Festival, directed by Big David McWilliams and Sian Smyth. Seamus Heaney’s the Coldplay-sized headliner, but there’s a host of readings, talks, debates, and Tubridys to keep you entertained besides.