Stevie G: Triple whammy of festival fever

The summer of 2022 will go down as a very hot one, and one where we really and truly got back to festivals following the Covid-19 pandemic, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
Stevie G: Triple whammy of festival fever

Cork Pride showcased the city at its very best.

The summer of 2022 will be remembered largely as a very hot one, and for many music fans it will also be remembered as the year we really and truly got back outside.

Like many of us, my own memories of the last couple of summers kind of segue into each other, and looking back I find it hard to distinguish between long months of restrictions, speculation on when we would re-open, walks, socially distanced parties, limited events.

The actual in-person events were few and far between, and operated in the midst of huge uncertainty, and often numerous cancellations. In 2022 there are many still using tickets that were originally sold for 2020 events, and there is a huge relief that things are finally returning to some degree of normality.

Covid and many other problems remain, but this summer’s festival season has been dominated by a huge feeling of euphoria and relief that we can all party again.

I spent a good bit of the recent bank holiday weekend DJing at festivals and saw at first hand this wonderful mood of celebration.

At Indiependence, Cork Pride and All Together Now, there was a huge sense of relief and release, and I spoke to many people who were at their very first proper festivals. Some of these youngsters had been robbed of two years of their peak festival going experience, but they were all in the mood to make up for lost time.

I had previously been to Longitude and Live at the Marquee earlier this summer, but it was cool to visit all of these on the holiday weekend.

All three festivals were excellently run but in fairness, when it comes to these communal celebrations, they are often largely self-policed anyway. Most Gardaí or security that I met were standing back in a relaxed manner, and also contributed to the relaxed vibe each day.

The three festivals were very different but the mood was similar at each.

The three days of Indiependence were indicative of Irish festivals as a whole, with weather ranging from rain on Saturday to beautiful sunshine on Sunday that lasted long into the evening. Even though there were showers on Saturday, the spirits remained upbeat, and the festival site itself remained intact.

Many of us will remember some of the earlier Indiependence weekends, where heavy rainfall followed months of a typically wet Irish summer, and the site turned into a mud-bath. It’s far different these days, and the organisers have a much tighter and more efficient set up down there too. It really was a great weekend, and it was very notable that many of the highlights came from Irish acts, on very well attended stages.

All Together Now is a different festival in many ways, and it has echoes of the early days of the Electric Picnic, also the brainchild of the late great John Reynolds.

It was really building momentum before the pandemic and this was another eagerly awaited return.

The festival, on this side of Waterford, is only a short trek really, and, as expected, there was a big influx from the rebel county.

All Together Now backs a really good festival site with a top class line-up, and there is a lot of good festival additions too, especially from an arts perspective.

The festival audience was vastly varying in age but, again, like Indie, it was very much a case of music unifying everybody, and the atmosphere was terrific.

I only got down there myself on Sunday night but spent a few hours before my own gig soaking it up, and myself and my friends were all very impressed.

Finally, the street party to beat all street parties! Cork Pride gets bigger every year and this year the huge after party began with a march in the city centre before culminating with a huge event down by the docks. The surprising sunny Sunday weather wasn’t really predicted, and the revellers took full advantage in a massive celebration of Cork’s LGBT community and friends!

I DJ’d outside the library for two hours in the sun and the outfits, the joy and the smiles said it all. Cork Pride was back to its best and the celebrations continued down at the Port of Cork and deep into the night.

This is what it’s all about really, and Cork Pride showcased Cork at its very best!

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