I’ve had many memorable days centred around music. I have been fortunate enough to see some of my favourite bands and artists play in some incredible and historic venues, at both intimate and stadium-packed capacity. My most treasured concert-going highlights have included, but are not exclusive to, She & Him at The Ryman Auditorium, glimpses of Björk at Bonnaroo, Girl Band at Vicar Street, and Radiohead playing in Malahide Castle. It seems like quite a mixed-bag of acts to come to mind in quick succession, but the variation feels natural. Now, I’m storing away yet another memory born from music; the lasting sights and sounds of Sunday at Forbidden Fruit 2016.
Forbidden Fruit is my reintroduction to the Irish music festival, and my first time enjoying the luxury of attending a festival taking place in the centre of the city where I reside. To say that it’s an eye-opening experience would be an understatement. I have never been able to identify Forbidden Fruit’s target audience due to how varied its line up is for such a limiting festival. Each year as the acts are announced there are generally one or two that appeal, mainly because the line up is predominantly comprised of DJs and the laptop seems to hold more gravitas as an instrument than good old fashioned guitar, drum and bass.
Having kept up to date with the highlights of days one and two on social media – images of sunshine beating down on groups of friends intoxicated by the immeasurable amount of fun they’ve been documenting – in real life, it’s obvious that it’s more about being seen to be at the festival than actually seeing most of the acts on the bill. A saddening truth in that social media has more of a hold on the youth than music, in this particular instance.
Naturally, there’s a noticeable overhang of the antics from the previous days beginning to set in amongst the attendees. The curation of music for the final day of any festival is crucial, the momentum needs to be amped up to keep festival goers eager to move between the tents, stages and enclosures to soak everything up. However, early on there seems to be an apparent lack of awareness and interest amongst the crowd with what acts are on or who they want to see. Ambling around the grounds, I wander into the Comedy Tent and watch Jarlath Regan perform to a sparsely populated enclosure, all seated and all not really sure why they’re laughing whilst wondering where their friends have gone. This begins to be a recurring sight across the grounds, lone lambs bleating through the crowds of questionable sartorial endeavours, looking to aimlessly follow the herd from one tent to the next counting down the minutes to see Tiga live.
Leaving behind Regan’s social commentary, it’s time to catch George Fitzgerald who’s playing some intense house and techno matched with a lighting display that makes you feel like you’re in a music video from the early noughties. However, there’s a distinct shift once the clock strikes seven and the evening vastly improves with Flume, a set from Nialler 9, the Groove Armada DJ set, and of course, Underworld.
Their arrival to the stage brings the crowd together, everyone anticipating the songs that invariably became the prized component of every playlist enjoyed at a house party or club. Theirs are the songs that resuscitate your enthusiasm in the final stages of a festival. At fifty-nine years of age, Kyle Hyde demonstrates an energetic passion for performing, unlike some of the younger acts that played in the earlier part of the day. It doesn’t matter whether you are a devout Underworld fan or just someone who decided to join their friends in celebrating the beginning of the festival season, when they play their hits, ‘Born Slippy’, and ‘Rez’, it seems as if nothing else matters outside of this setting.
Underworld and Forbidden Fruit photographed for State by Leah Carroll.