Townlands is a three day carnival, promoting Irish music, arts and culture in all its diversity at an international level. The music is eclectic, lively and uplifting and will showcase up and coming acts from all musical persuasions. Writer, Amy O’ Regan went down to Rusheen Farm Estate in Macroom to check out the remarkable sound from the likes of Daithi, Richard Entropy, Magnus Major and the famous Blackalicious
The festival has been getting bigger and better since it began a few years prior and has created a unique platform which offers electronic DJs, Reggae bands and Ska legends a space to develop their sound and preach the word to a group of lively and enthusiastic individuals. We decided to head down for the Friday and Saturday and get a taste of what all the hype and hysteria that lay in Maroom County Cork.
After settling in nicely, we decided to embark on our first act of the day that being Fake Rolex and Flip Side Selecta. I was stone cold sober and I wasn’t ashamed to dance to my heart’s content as the music was so different but catchy, to say the least. I was surprised as to how good they were but all in all got the day off to a stellar start. The music was like a hybrid of reggae and disco, which went down a treat to the crowd. The tent where they played was absolutely fitting for their sound, with the flashing rave lights complimenting the music nicely. The DJ accompanying the band worked nicely together, shouting encouraging chants at the audience and swaying energetically from left to right.
Next, I headed over to check out Phlux, in what I like to call the cocktail tent. As you can guess, the bartenders were serving colourful and tasty drinks like Margaritas with basil which was fitting with the colourful sounds coming from the tent. The music was deep and chilled like electronica which blended nicely with the vibe of the crowd, all meshing into this wonderful sounding rhythm. Whilst this is something you would usually see in a more rave-like environment it worked well with the overall vibe in the tent. Red lights were splayed around working in tandem with both the sound and the crowd, which seemed to be growing every time I turned around.
Finally, I made it up the grassy hill to the sub-atomic tent area which was hosted in this awesome old power station. I have to say that seeing Act Normal in the tent made my night. If you are a Bass music aficionado, you should give these guys a listen. The acid basslines and heavy low-end coupled with some an old school edge, bellowed out through the sound system. It had people pushing into each other to get to the front of the stage groups jumping up and down and lights flashing brightly in our faces to really heighten the good vibes all around.
Saturday definitely took things up a notch. The crowd seemed to have doubled from the Friday night, the same with the amount of noise and stalls. Not only that, but there were belly-dancers, flame throwers, and the techno was heaving even more so the night before! I started my day by heading to a 6-piece boy band called Magnus Major. From punchy guitar riffs, incorporating in some rap lyrics throughout, they had quite a nice pleasant overall groove and had a bit of everything in their live performance.
Dressed in print tees and skinny jeans they gave off just the right amount of Indie vibes that had a crowd gathered at their feet within minutes. The rap lyrics were fast-paced, catchy and supported by some serious drum and guitar riffs. I had to seriously catch my breath when I heard them live, as they sounded like 21 Pilots twin band. They were absolutely fantastic!
As the day progressed we headed back up the mucky grass hill to see Richard Entropy. I would like to say it was a trek, but at the end of the day, it was completely worth it. He worked up a great atmosphere playing some lovely fresh grooves, on what I can only say was a really good system and something which was consistent throughout the festival. He was completely in control of the sound deck swapping to louder and softer tracks and working the crowd nicely. Bodies danced around in almost in a trance-like stage and the DJ moved from side to side in unison with the sound.
Following this, I made for the tent of Fugitive Dreams. It was just gone ten when I saw Daithi do his thing! As an artist, I find him his style completely original. He manages to amalgamate in instruments like in this case a violin into electronic loops working each off other. He is a vibrant musician on stage too shaking his head relentlessly and bopping to the beat; it was the strangest but most intriguing show in terms of live performances. It sounded incredible too, not one person there was standing still by the end of it.
Finally, I ended the night with an incredible and well-known artist Blackalicious. It was catchy, old school style of rapping from people who are legends of the scene. It was like watching Jay-Z release his first record to an enthusiastic audience. Accompanied by flame throwers above the stage and spouting fire skeleton mouths at either side of the stage, it was a performance you couldn’t forget. Performing some new material, Blackalicious closed the main stage in a blaze of pyrotechnics smoke. This sadly concluded my two-day experience.
Overall, Townlands Carnival was a huge success. From its fantastic eclectic lineup of artists to suit all tastes. It has a vibrant and certain quirkiness to it. Alternative decor- skeleton heads on trees, painted skull heads on the entrance and range of food and drink stalls, it definitely had an originality about it when thinking back on my past experiences. The promoters are very much welcoming to families too so had incredible face painters, creating pieces like Spiderman, Butterfly ladies, and even the Joker were all on show for the younger revelers! All in all, I found the weekend a complete success and can see myself returning again next for a weekend with a twist in Corks countryside.