Ireland’s slow crawl back to normal with Meadows Festival

Ireland continues its slow crawl back to live music normality, with another series of strictly controlled outdoor shows for 200 people, when the North’s Custom House Square hosted 10,000 for Fontaines DC and various other shows over the last two weeks. 

It’s been a tense few weeks between the Government and the live music industry, with thousands of artists, promoters, venues and fans rallying behind campaigns such as Give Us the Night, whose spokesman, DJ Sunil Sharpe called the Government’s response “inadequate, inflexible and lacking a basic understanding of how the industry works”.

Still, a slow return is better than nothing, and Kilmainham is hosting an eclectic mix of Irish music acts and speakers over three days.  

Nialler9 — another prominent voice in the Irish music industry calling for a proper Government roadmap back to live music — hosts tonight’s first concert, along with a DJ set. It’s headlined by Dundalk shoegaze/noise act Just Mustard, whose slashing, wall-of-sound guitars and dream-pop vocals will bring night one to a cathartic finish. 

John Francis Flynn takes his John Martyn-esque folk tales to Kilmainham, while singer-songwriter Niamh Regan adds an alt-rock edge to the line-up.

District Magazine hosts two gigs on day two — a sold out matinee show featuring rising alt-country pop singer-songwriter CMAT and psychedelic folk duo Saint Sister, with the District crew DJing between acts. Tomorrow evening, it’s a night of modern heavy trad and folk with A Lazarus Soul and singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill.

On Sunday, there’ll be a more refined vibe around the Royal Hospital grounds, asthe Glasshouse Ensemble performs the music of Bowie and Kate Bush (matinee, sold out) and Prince and Joni Mitchell (evening), with a huge cast list of singers including AE MAK, Dan Mc Auley, Ellie O’Neill, Jess Kav, John Francis Flynn, Maria Kelly, Melina Malone, Niamh Regan, Paddy Hanna, Rachael Lavelle, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, SHIV and Sorcha Richardson, hosted by DJ Sally Cinnamon.

CMAT (photo by Sarah Doyle)

Tomorrow and Sunday also have an afternoon programme of talks. Tomorrow’s A Sense of Place event is hosted by historian Donal Fallon in conversation with  with Radie Peat (Lankum), David Balfe (For Those I Love), Paul Page (Whipping Boy), Lisa McInerney (Author) and Craig Walker (Power of Dreams).

On Sunday, it’s all about the hot takes and tangents with a live recording of the Blindboy podcast, with celebrated director Jim Sheridan, with a music interlude by Joe Chester of A Lazaurus Soul. 

For full line-up information, guidelines and tickets, visit