With the June bank holiday just under a week away, the return of Louth’s annual flagship event Vantastival is almost upon us. Now in its eighth year running, the small, van-oriented festival is sticking with the formula it introduced last year; a downsizing in capacity and duration.
The event takes place over two days – June 3-4 – and while it’s a day shorter than your typical festival weekender, Vantastival does not fall short on its carefully curated programme. The festival has always had a selectiveness for high quality Irish music, spanning genres and this year is no different. With the introduction of several new stages on the grounds of Drogheda’s Beaulieu House and Gardens, Vantastival may be small but packs a serious punch when it comes to billing a diverse and current line up. Here’s our pick of who to see over the weekend.
The Riptide Movement
The increasingly popular and ever on the rise Dublin rockers have come a long way since their debut album What About the Tip Jars in 2009. After having released their most recent album Ghosts last year, the band have built a solid fanbase through touring and a lot of radio airplay. The indie quartet played their first festival slot at the first Vantastival in 2010, so to see them headline this year highlights the importance of an involved and supportive music scene. If high energy gigs and indie with pop and blues thrown in is your thing, don’t miss them!
One of Ireland’s powerhouse trad-folk ensembles, Kila are still managing to engage and excite their audiences since forming in the 1980s. With their unique blend of Irish traditional music and outside influences, Kila are captivating and fresh and their shows are just fun. Come along to hear those foot stomping jigs and reels we all love at a festival and stay for the marvellous musicianship.
The self-proclaimed ‘dreampop’ duo Frankenstein Bolts will be taking to the stage at Vantastival as part of a string of festivals and events this summer. If you’re not familiar with the ethereal sounding dreampop, just imagine soothing synth with some dancey beats and folk influences. Then imagine two guys holding Telecasters and you’ve got Frankenstein Bolts. Currently working on their second album, these guys are building momentum while creating really beautiful and distinct sounds.
Dundalk’s genre spanning Nix Moon secured a position on the line up for their win at Vantastival’s Firestone Battle of the Bands. The five-piece create musical fusion that is heavily rhythmic and harmonic and they’ve been showcasing this style at festivals and gigs for the past three years. The release of their first EP Soul Traffic last year has gained them even more acclaim and with more recording on the way as part of their Battle of the Bands winnings, Nix Moon are catapulting themselves as one of Ireland’s most exciting acts.
This Dublin four-piece folk group have cemented themselves into Ireland’s music scene as a modern, current act combining Irish and American folk with their own original material. Their music is old-timey yet fresh using close vocal harmonies accompanied with uilleann pipes, concertina, Russian accordion, fiddle and guitar. Lankum are a band you don’t want to miss out on seeing now!
Sonnets and Sisters
If chirpy, folk-pop music with tight vocal harmonies is what you’re after, then Sonnets and Sisters are your band. Based in Dundalk, the band sweep their audiences away at live shows with their breathtaking vocals and catchy choruses. Building a reputation and repertoire for themselves, they released their first single ‘Take What you Want’ late last year and left us wanting more.
Vantastival takes place next weekend, 3-4 June at Drogheda’s Beaulieu House and Gardens. Tickets start at €40 for a day ticket and €85 for the full weekend with camping.