Beatyard’s bittersweet five-year plan

Since 2015, Beatyard has been one of the more joyous city festivals, throwing parties in Dun Laoghaire thar are family-friendly while still retaining an underground and left-field vibe.

But its annual slot at Dun Laoghaire harbour might be coming to an end with Beatyard 2019, so if you’ve never been, it may be time to sample the unique seaside showcase.

Just this week, organisers sent out an “SOS”, explaining that this was likely to be the last Beatyard, in Dun Laoghaire at least, saying that they weren’t getting clear answers about securing the site for next year.

After doing the groundwork and showing that a quality festival could be run on the grounds every bank holiday, their success has also enticed other promoters to start pitching. MCD joined in over the June bank holiday with the open air pier gigs featuring the likes of Primal Scream, Madness, Lightning Seeds and Charlatans, and Beatyard are worried that they’ll be “edged out” after “3-4 years of finding our feet”.

Still, no matter what happens, this weekend will be another easygoing festival of music, food and culture, with celebration bypassing the bittersweet feeling.

As before, Beatyard is aimed at a slightly older crowd who might’ve grown up with promoter Bodytonic’s adventures in the capital for over a decade – underground electronic music with side helpings of hip-hop, disco, soul, jazz and reggae.

Once again this year is a mash-up of old and new, with wheels of steel pioneer Grandmaster Flash taking over tomorrow night for a hip-hop masterclass, while young Irish rappers and soul stars such as Jafaris and Soule bringing their own unique twist.

And proving they’re suitable on any bill, electro-pop act Chvrches come fresh from a Twitter row this week for their place on Deftones’ metal-heavy festival, to headline at Dun Laoghaire on Sunday.

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The Congos are bringing 40-odd years of deep dub reggae, while Manchester DJ Greg Wilson isn’t far behind, with his legendary reel-to-reel remixes of classic disco, techno and post-punk.

Two Irish festival favourites, Todd Terje and Groove Armada will go in heavy on disco and space-age funk, while Mount Kimbie hit electronica and post-dubstep bass music at weird angles.

In the pop sphere, Jungle are another act who bottle the summery sound with their R&B and dance flavours, while Dubliner Miss Kate adds extra theatrics to her urban pop sheen. And for a more out-there take on R&B pop, Joel Culpepper has been whispered in the same breath as Andre3000 and Frank Ocean.

If you get a notion for a voyage (it’s a pier after all), there are daily boat parties with DJs including Gxrl Cøde, The Midnight Disco, Yachty By Nature (bonus point for the name) and District DJs. And since it might be the last Dun Laoghaire voyage for Beatyard, keep it going into the early hours with after-parties – one on The Lighthouse nearby in Wigwam in the city, just a few stops away on the Dart.

And with its own separate Eatyard food court for refuelling, and plenty of other family activities, they’re keeping the quality high once again, even if it’s the end of this era.

  • Beatyard runs this weekend (Saturday & Sunday) and Dun Laoghaire Pier

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