After a week full of sunshine and a hysterical reaction to the heat, it looks like the luck could be running out on Body & Soul, with rain forecast for this weekend.
Pitching a music festival in the middle of summer should be a safe-ish bet, but Body & Soul 2016 was one of the wettest Irish festivals in recent memory — it’d be a kick in the teeth if there was a rerun this weekend.
Now in its eighth edition, this is a rare Body & Soul that hasn’t sold out, which means your Facebook feed hasn’t been filled by people begging for tickets.
Still, the weekender in Ballinlough in Westmeath has its thousands of faithful returnees, with a chilled vibe that makes it Ireland’s top mid-sized festival.
Even though the ticket numbers have gradually swelled to 15,000, it’s still hanging onto its ‘boutique’ status, with plenty of acts you won’t find at other festivals, rather than hoovering up whoever said yes.
The first round of announcements came with one of the biggest curveballs in B&S history, with post-punk ranters and ravers Sleaford Mods confirmed as the top billed Main Stage band tomorrow.
Nottingham duo Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn are a brilliant left turn away from “the bizarre & beautiful banquet of music, art, food, theatre” that’s boasted about on the website.
If you’ve watched the Sleaford documentary Bunch of Kunst recently, you’ll have seen the duo’s rise from playing to a dozen diehards and alco regulars in England’s forgotten satellite towns, to a triumphant performance at Glastonbury 2015, where they’re also playing tonight.
One of the most exhilarating, visceral live acts of the last decade, it’s really Fearn standing onstage with a bag of cans playing loops by pressing spacebar, while Williamson is a ball of tics and expletives, ranting against everything from Brexit Britain to dickheads in the dole office.
With scores of acts over at least 13 stages and plenty of other little rabbit holes, there’s plenty of chances to unleash your inner hippie, or indulge any other musical whims over the weekend.
The heaviest gig of the weekend is tonight at Midnight Circus as industrial dub renegade The Bug teams up with grime MC Miss Red for a follow-up to the pair’s gut-churning gig at Opium Rooms last winter.
Finishing off Midnight Circus tonight, cult Glasgow DJ duo Optimo are on a victory lap for their run of 20th anniversary gigs — expect everything from techno to post-punk to krautrock to psych-rock in their two-hour set.
Tomorrow, the Main Stage is brilliantly eclectic, with Sleaford Mods joined by country soul veterans Lambchop, Dublin soul singer Loah, downtempo breakbeat producer Bonobo and French punky electro star Vitalic.
King Kong Company have made a few headlines this week with their first entry into the brewing world — their collaboration with Yellowbelly brewers called Commotion Lotion (secret ingredient: Buckfast). You may need a few bottles of Tonic Wine to last until their gig at 1am tomorrow, but it’ll be worth it for their mix of electronica and psychedelic brass.
Other choice sets tomorrow include Katie Kim with Crash Ensemble performing her Choice Prize-nominated album Salt, David Kitt in his deep house New Jackson guise and Louth punk poet Jinx Lennon.
On Sunday, it’s all about Malian desert punk act Songhoy Blues on the Main Stage, followed by renowned Florida indie-rock act Hundred Waters and Canadian electro-pop act Austra.
Reckless in Love is always the spot to be any time for DJs — but Sunday’s a bit special as it’s a showcase by Berlin-based Irish collective Maeve.
Check bodyandsoul.ie for everything else on the music spectrum.