Summertime... and the gigging is easy

The weather might be changeable at the moment, but the heat is certainly on for the summer’s line-up of festivals and events throughout Cork City and county. Mike McGrath-Bryan takes a look at some of the big-event highlights.
Summertime... and the gigging is easy

Mike McGrath Bryna takes a look at the summer’s line-up of festivals and events throughout Cork City and county.

It Takes a Village
(Trabolgan, Co. Cork, May 10-12)

The now-established first festival of the season sees the Good Room promoters take their wares to Trabolgan in East Cork for It Takes a Village. A live-in festival experience akin to All Tomorrow’s Parties in the UK, revellers can roll out of the resort’s chalets and into three stages across the weekend, as well as full access to all of Trabolgan’s fondly remembered facilities.

A stellar line-up is headlined by rising hip-hop star Kojaque, BBC radio jazzman Gilles Peterson, dancehall trailblazer Sister Nancy, and, in a serious music-nerd coup, blogger Brian Shimkovitz of Awesome Tapes from Africa, dusting down his extensive collection of music and DJing directly from cassette.

Remaining tickets available at

Open Ear
(Sherkin Island, Co. Cork,
May 30-June 2)

Radie Peat is at Open Ear.
Radie Peat is at Open Ear.

Into its fourth year, a boat ride away from the mainland, Open Ear has provided a warm and welcoming festival experience for Ireland’s avant-garde and experimental electronic scenes, with its popularity and goodwill allowing it to expand to four days annually, as well as its own label and a monthly show on Dublin Digital Radio.

Among those at the top of the billing are Lankum vocalist Radie Peat, Dublin supergroup Garies, and synth-poppers Patrick Kelleher and His Cold, Dead Hands. Elsewhere over the weekend there’s freak-folk must-sees Woven Skull, ambient composer J. Colleran, and No Disco icon Donal Dineen, among others.

Tickets and more information at

Cork Midsummer Festival
(venues across Cork City and county, June 13-23)

Saint Sisters is at Cork Midsummer Fest.
Saint Sisters is at Cork Midsummer Fest.

Cork Midsummer Festival continues to champion a collaborative approach to programming, working closely with community groups and local artists to co-present an extensive offering of events over the course of two weekends. Headed up by Cork’s first annual Proms at the Opera House, the event includes musical appearances from Dublin veterans The Blades and Northern electro-folk duo Saint Sister; Corcadorca’s production of Enda Walsh’s The Small Things; and The Everyman Palace hosts a musical theatrical production of Mick Flannery’s Evening Train concept album.

Full programme and ticket info at

Mallow Arts Festival
(various venues in Mallow, Co Cork, July 24-28)

Entering the third year of a community-run reboot, Mallow Arts Festival is based largely in the Hibernian Hotel complex of venues, as well as churches and spaces up and down the town’s main drag. The modern incarnation of the festival has played host to the likes of John Spillane, Mary Coughlan, the Quiet Club, Elaine Malone, Fixity, Outsider YP, and others, while local film director Ger Browne has been a solid supporter, curating and hosting screenings of Mallow-made material at the Gate Cinema.

For more info, search ‘Mallow Arts Festival’ on social media.

(Mitchelstown Deer Farm,
August 2-4)

Happy Alone are at Indie 19.
Happy Alone are at Indie 19.

The MCD-backed excursion formerly known as Indiependence has provided an easily accessible festival experience for first-time goers. The August bank holiday weekend offering includes headline appearances from Biffy Clyro, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Lewis Capaldi. The real sport of Indie lineups past, however, has been in identifying the upcoming Cork and Irish artists booked across its offering of stages, most notably including nascent alt-pop act Happyalone. Last year saw the establishment of the Urban Village hip-hop tent, as well as IMRO’s sponsorship of the second stage.

More info and remaining tickets at

(Cyprus Avenue, Cork City,
August 3)

If the post-exam rite-of-passage thing doesn’t pique your interest, perhaps one of the gamut of city-central bank holiday weekend alternatives that have cropped up in recent years will garner your interest.

Entering its second year, the Monolith is one of two annual all-day metal events presented by Cork’s Paranoid Beast collective, with the intention of showcasing Irish bands alongside international acts.

Headlining this year are Greek death-metal legends Rotting Christ, Dutch heftmongers Terzij de Horde, and UK post-metallers Hundred Year Old Man, all lending their weight to a lineup underpinned by homegrown outfits like zhOra, Malthusian, and From the Bogs of Aughiska.

Day tickets €30 available at or at Old Oak

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more