AS IRELAND’S only surf and music festival, expect the average punter you meet at the seaside bash to have a lot more stamina than your regular session rollover head covered in grass stains and last night’s glitter.
Then again, the three-day festival in in Bundoran, Co Donegal, actually kicked off last night with the opening of the campsite, so there probably will be a few shaky heads around the beach today trying to shake off the cobwebs before the main event starts.
The weekender won IMRO’s Best Music Festival of 2016, spurred on by its handy location in the town, its proximity to the beach and all the watersports, and the fact that its capacity is only 5,000. The hype turned into sales as well, as the festival has sold out two years in a row – and this year all tickets were gone with three weeks to spare.
This year is Sea Sessions’ 10th edition, and it’s one of the few Irish festivals that is happy to stick to its ‘boutique’ label without trying to change the dynamic too much, with a high proportion of the punters regulars returning every year.
This year they’ve gone for another eclectic mix, from grime to drum & bass, to house, indie, folk and techno.
Things will get off to a Bonkers start on the Main Stage tonight, with Dizzee Rascal proving he can still keep up with the current crop of grime artists, with a set that’s sure to feature his harsh bangers like Jus’ a Rascal, I Luv U and Fix Up, Look Sharp, as well as his EDM crossover hits Dance Wiv Me and of course Bonkers.
There’s a grime double-drop tonight, with Dusky also taking over the Astoria Stage, before Kildare native DJ Deece plays a freewheeling set heavy on electro, techno and breaks.
Sea Sessions regular DJ Yoda finishes up the Main Stage tonight with an AV show, playing one of his hyper-cut mash-up mixes with psychedelic visuals that might just stay with you all weekend.
Other Sea Sessions veterans Le Galaxie are also taking their new album Pleasure around the festival circuit this summer, so expect them to be suitably fired up tonight.
On paper, tomorrow seems like a chance to have a slight breather, with Dingle indie-pop act Walking On Cars headlining, along with The Blizzards, David Keenan and Jerry Fish other big names that stand out. But DJ Kormac will be blitzing the Main Stage with his spectacular AV show, and there’s some bouncy dub and ska from Interskalactic and veteran Waterford duo Get Down Edits will bring the out-there disco.
On Sunday, there won’t be much hope of going out quietly, with drum & bass crossover act Rudimental headlining, and the Astoria Stage getting a masterclass in D&B with scene pioneer Fabio, an underground hero since the 90s.
Another dance pioneer, Greg Wilson will be dishing out his extended reel-to-reel remixes on Sunday night, taking in house, electro, jazz-funk and boogie on a late-night journey.
And with indie veterans Delorentos eager to share tracks from their new album True Surrender, and some synthpop gold from Manchester’s Everything Everything, Sea Sessioners will be needing a well-deserved rest come Monday, even if they go nowhere near the sea.
If you’re feeling more adventurous than the average festival head, you can duck out of the music stages for surf competitions, beach sports, pro BMX demos and loads more wholesome activities to take the edge off. Check seasessions.com for the full lowdown.