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‘It’s been a long 15 months, so let’s party!’ – 3,500 gather for Kilmainham festival

“This feels absolutely f***ing crazy,” exclaimed Gavin James from the stage on the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on Saturday night.  “It’s been a long 15 months, so let’s party!” 

It actually has been  a protracted 15 months for music followers, however lastly, on Saturday, 3,500 fortunate ticketholders had been in a position to collect in a giant area for Ireland’s first out of doors pageant because the pandemic started.

The “pilot festival”, held within the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, was headlined by Dublin singer-songwriter Gavin James, and featured full units from Lyra, Denise Chaila, Sharon Shannon, Wild Youth and Wyvern Lingo, with Tipp duo The 2 Johnnies taking good care of MC duties.

This was a step up from the low-key pilot gig by James Vincent McMorrow in entrance of 500 folks in Iveagh Gardens in June. With 3,500 folks gathering for the very best a part of a day, the organisers – MCD – had to ensure all the things ran like clockwork, and even the climate co-operated by remaining delicate and mildly cloudy.

Fans had been corralled in pods of six, and so they needed to undergo a number of hoops so as to acquire admission – together with an antigen check earlier than the gig.

There are many benefits with a limited-capacity pageant: no queueing for meals, minimal queueing for drinks, and also you get an unrestricted view of the stage regardless of the place you’re. The draw back, although, is that you need to endure that nostril-tickling antigen check. Fans heading to the pageant by way of the Luas needed to disembark at Collins Barracks to take the check earlier than persevering with on to the occasion. For many of the followers right here, although, it was a small sacrifice to make if it meant lastly attending to see some dwell music.

“It was all very straightforward to be honest, it all ran very smoothly. There were no delays, no long queues,” stated Kareem Zaki, who was out with 5 buddies – Emma McCormick, Ciara Murnane, Leah McManus and Femi Bankole – for his or her first gig in a 12 months and a half.

“They made it all very easy with all the emails, too many emails to be honest, telling us everything we needed to do,” stated McCormick.

All six had been dressed up of their brightest garments, full with glitter, decided to get pleasure from this uncommon musical outing. All had been agreed that the return of dwell music was a trigger for celebration, however opinion was divided on the Government’s latest announcement that it was delaying the reopening of indoor eating and ingesting, following Nphet recommendation relating to the rise of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

“It’s very disappointing, and I’m very angry,” stated Bankole. “The rationale doesn’t really make any sense in my opinion.”

“I think it makes sense,” stated Zaki. “I think a bit of a delay for the long term is worth it. I can see the logic, so I’m not going to give the Government a hard time about it.”

“If there was an incentive, it would make more sense, but it felt more like a punishment when we couldn’t even register to get a vaccine,” stated Murnane. “But now that we can register it doesn’t feel so unfair.”

Emer Ryan, Emma McCormick, Ciara Murnane, Leah McManus with (back row, from left) Kareem Zaki and Femi Bankole
Emer Ryan, Emma McCormick, Ciara Murnane, Leah McManus with (again row, from left) Kareem Zaki and Femi Bankole

Grace Hamilton Turley from Loughlinstown and Niamh Ryan from Churchtown are extra excited than nervous about gathering with 3,498 different folks within the grounds of Kilmainham.

“It’s very reassuring getting the antigen test,” stated Hamilton-Turley.

They are, nevertheless, irritated about what they see because the Government’s incoherent response to the Delta variant risk.

“It’s frustrating, especially when Government policy doesn’t make seem to make sense anymore. Why have indoor dining for vaccinated people only when mostly under-30s will actually be serving them and won’t be vaccinated. It’s also very discriminatory to anyone who doesn’t want to get a vaccine. That’s a choice.”

“I’m going to register for a vaccine, but it’ll take time. I’ll probably have to wait for weeks,” stated Ryan. “I’d love to be able to go back to nightclubs and pubs, but to be honest, I don’t see it happening for a long time.”

“I think you’ll be better off putting a disco ball in and hanging it up in the kitchen and go wild,” stated Hamilton Turley, who believes the damaging media protection of younger folks partying open air in locations corresponding to Portobello Plaza is each unfair and inaccurate.

“I feel we have now been so restricted in doing what we wish to do, that individuals are going to get excited once they get just a few drinks in them. There plenty of tut-tutting, however that’s what you do once you exit socially, we congregate instinctively. I don’t assume folks do it to hurt others, I don’t consider we do it on goal.

“But we’ve been under restrictions for over a year, and that’s a long time in anybody’s lifetime no matter what age you are. It’s affected everybody, every age and every generation.”

They do, nevertheless, consider the Government are making the fitting steps by allowing this pilot pageant to go forward even with the looming risk of a fourth wave.

“I think they are starting to see things a bit more clearly, not just from young people’s point of view. There’s people of all ages out here today, and they just want to get out and have fun and enjoy the sunshine and not be restricted.”

The festivities kicked off round 3.30pm with an upbeat set from Bray trio Wyvern Lingo, and it’s to the organisers’ credit score that the pageant featured a robust feminine line-up.

Grace Hamilton Turley and Niamh Ryan
Grace Hamilton Turley and Niamh Ryan
HSE frontline workers Geraldine Daly and Mary Cooney
HSE frontline staff Geraldine Daly and Mary Cooney

Wyvern Lingo’s almost-telepathic harmonies supplied an ideal soundtrack to a principally sunny afternoon, and so they had been joined onstage by Zambian-Irish rapper Denise Chaila, all the way in which from Limerick.

Later, Chaila would return the favour by having Wyvern Lingo be a part of her onstage for her exuberant and vibrant set, together with rappers God Knows and Murli and a troupe of musicians.

Chaila, winner of the Choice Prize for Irish album of the 12 months, is a uncooked expertise whose frenetic mash-up of rap, hip-hop, soul, grime and R&B is shortly shaping up because the sound of contemporary Ireland.  Sporting an outsized T-shirt declaring “Columbus was a murderer” and “stop romanticising genocide”, Chaila delivered a strongly political set that celebrated feminine empowerment, cultural variety and the ability of phrases to alter the world.  

In between Wyvern Lingo and Denise  Chaila, Sharon Shannon, sporting cool shades and along with her trademark smile firmly in place, led her band by way of the jigs and the reels, together with just a few country-flavoured rock tunes corresponding to Galway Girl (the Steve Earle one, in fact, not the Ed Sheeran one) and completed by strapping on an electrical guitar and delivering a “heavy-metal diddley-eye” finale.

After Chaila’s set, Wild Youth appeared tame by comparability, simply one other bloke-pop band within the vein of Kodaline or Picture This. Still, they bought the gang going with such catchy (learn easy) songs as Can’t Say No and Can’t Move On.  

“This is feckin’ weird isn’t it?” stated Cork singer Lyra, resplendent in S&M Disney princess get-up. “I’ve had to get dressed up for the first time in ages.” She seemed out on the 3,500-strong crowd who had been permitted to take away their masks whereas of their pods.  “It’s great to see everybody’s mouths.” 

Lyra has discovered company success along with her epic pop songs, getting her tracks onto a Guinness advert, and soundtracks for Riverdance – the Animated Experience and the TV adaptation of Four Weddings and a Funeral.  It took awhile for it to get by way of to the gang at Kilmainham, nevertheless , however when she spoke to the viewers in between the songs, her unfiltered Bandon brogue instantly gained them over.  A spotlight was New Day, the music she carried out on RTE’s New Year celebrations.  

Gavin James stepped onstage with no fanfare and launched into his first music, All for You, then stopped once more. “I’m playing the wrong chords – sorry,” he introduced.  “I haven’t done this in 15 months,” he supplied by means of clarification, earlier than getting again on the bicycle and steering easily by way of Boxes, Glow and Coming Home with nary a hitch.

Sober was the right anthem for a by-now well-oiled however nonetheless well-behaved crowd, and I Miss You was devoted to the five hundred frontline medical workers who got complimentary tickets to the pageant as a thank-you for the tireless work they’ve finished within the tooth of the pandemic.  

“I’ve been playing gigs for my mam and dad and my dog, so this is surreal,” declared James as he ended his set with Hearts on Fire, and nightfall set over this milestone second for dwell music. After such a protracted, miserable time with out the communal expertise of having fun with music collectively, this pageant was actually surreal, however by the point James by the point he completed his encore with Always and Only Ticket Home, it felt surprisingly unusual however oddly regular. 

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