While many events of the same stature have developed a more international booking policy over the years, Knockanstockan Festival has always stayed true to its Irish roots. A non-profit three dayer devised and delivered by a collaboration of musicians, artists, community members and over 250 volunteers, the domestic only line-up certainly doesn’t have a negative effect on the quality of music. This year’s festival takes place from Friday to Sunday beside the Blessington lakes in Lacken Co. Wicklow and here’s just ten of the acts that we recommend you make time for…
Cfit – Dimestore Tent 4pm, Saturday
Transforming from a solo outing to a three, then a five piece, such has been the rate of change from Noel Duplaa’s engaging project that we’re intrigued so see what’s happened since they last crossed our path.
Croupier – Sun Stage 9pm, Friday
Taking place in their own backyard, you’d forgive Croupier’s Knockanstockan appearance for having an air of celebration about it. Such is their work ethic, however, that their sights will definitely be set on what’s to come and their ever increasing status as a truly dynamic live act.
Enemies – Sun Stage 1am, Friday
Another set of locals with much to feel chuffed about, Enemies have already made huge strides between albums number one and two. Those Wicklow post-rock roots are still very much there but already they’ve expanded their sound, glorying in the possibilities of collaboration.
Liza Flume – Faerie Field 2.30pm, Saturday
Even in a music scene with more than its fair share of solo artists dabbling with acoustic and looped sounds, Liza Flume (pictured) still stands out. Maybe it’s because her Australian background gives her an extra dimension, or maybe it’s just because her songs are so intensely eloquent. No wonder John Grant loves her.
Mumblin’ Deaf Ro – Faerie Field 3.45, Sunday
Although he didn’t walk away with the Choice Music Prize earlier in the year, those at Vicar St who had previously been immune to Mumblin’ Deaf Ro’s charms were surely converted to his cause by the most engaging performance of the night. The more organic surroundings of Knockanstockan should suit him to an even greater degree.
Nanu Nanu – Dimestore Tent 1am, Saturday
It might be easy to spot Nanu Nanu on the festival site over the weekend. While the overall vibe maybe casual to say the least, you won’t find the duo looking anything less than splendidly other worldly. It’s an attention to detail that makes their music equally unmistakable and memorable.
Overhead, The Albatross – Dimestore Tent 11pm, Friday
Not just a case of post-rock coals to Newcastle / Wicklow, but O,TA have already marked themselves out from the instrumental crowd. Epic they certainly are and in love with the old loud / quiet / loud dynamic, but the band manage to add extra elements and are pretty much unmissable live.
Tea & Toast with Golden Plec – Jimmy’s Juke Joint 12pm – 4pm, Saturday & Sunday
A static version of their coast to coast fundraiser, some of the festival acts perform in an acoustic form while you enjoy a hot drink and warm bread. All proceeds go to Pieta House.
The Calvanists – Sun Stage 6.30pm, Sunday
Proof that the Knockanstockan vibe isn’t just an east coast thing, The Calvinists are a key part of a growing like-minded musical community in Cork, based around the lovely venue Coughlans. Upbeat, uplifting and up here.
The Hot Sprockets – Sun Stage 1am, Saturday
If any one band personify this particular gathering’s ethos, it has to be the Sprockets. It’s fitting then that they’ve blagged the weekend’s prime slot, closing the main stage on Saturday night. Fast becoming our favourite Irish festival band of the year, if they can shine amongst the relatively sterile surroundings of Forbidden Fruit you can only imagine what’ll happen here.