Music festivals in Ireland seem to be ever growing in numbers. Away from the larger Oxegen and Electric Picnic festivals, smaller events are carving out a market for themselves all across the country. This year’s Life Festival runs from May 23 to 25 and boasts the best in electronic music, with appearances from Groove Armada and Jamie xx. Body & Soul takes place in June and offers a more boutique atmosphere, providing alternative artists such as Caribou and Darkside. On the other side of the country, Westport Festival of Music & Food plays host to a roster of acts from the past; David Gray, Bryan Adams and Kool & the Gang are set to appear there on June 28 and 29. If you’re not into the camping scene though, Dublin offers Forbidden Fruit on the June Bank Holiday weekend; Flaming Lips, Flying Lotus and Public Enemy are some of the acts playing the increasingly popular festival.
Listowel Writer’s Week, 28 May – 1 June
For one weekend of every summer John B. Keane’s birthplace is host to flocks of book-nerds, aspiring poets and literary types, along with anyone looking for a weekend of engaging discussion and entertainment. This year will be no exception, with international award-winning author Douglas Kennedy leading the workshops with a novel-writing class. There will also be classes on travel writing, short stories, poetry, theatre and young adult fiction. As well as workshops there will be talks and readings throughout the weekend, along with the announcement of the nineteenth coveted Kerry Group Award – at €15,000 it’s the largest fiction prize available for Irish writers alone. This year’s nominees are Deirdre Madden, Eimear McBride, Donal Ryan, Frank McGuinness and Colum McCann.
Lily Ni Dhomhnaill
E3 2014, June
The biggest gaming conference of the year, E3 returns in June this year. Typically the battleground between developers’ big announcements for journalists’ column inches, this year’s conference should be interesting. With no new consoles for anyone to rely on, it’ll be down to the games and software to really make an impact. With the dust settling on the console launches before Christmas, it will be the opportunity for Microsoft and Sony to show off diverse, exciting game lineups in the run-up to this winter. It will also be key for Nintendo, who still have yet to prove that the Wii U can compete effectively against the alternatives.
Orange is the New Black, June 6
Having left audiences with a gut-wrenching cliffhanger, the second series of Orange is the New Black cannot return soon enough. Whilst the fate of Pennsatucky and its repercussions for Piper hang in the balance, the season will also focus on the backstories of Lorna, the nun, Taystee, Poussey and Miss Rosa. A new addition to the cast will be seen in the form of Yvonne Vee, a ruthless drug dealer who no doubt will add to the tension, hostilities and dynamics of an already eclectic mix of characters.
Victorian literature and its infamous cast of literary monsters, including Dr Frankenstein’s creature, Dorian Gray and Dracula, come to life in the psychosexual thriller Penny Dreadful. Interweaving the stories of Shelley, Stoker and others, Victorian London becomes plagued with their gothic creations, leading to truly riveting, albeit disturbing television, on par to rival even its literary counterparts. With a star-studded cast including the likes of Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Billie Piper and Timothy Dalton, this show will not disappoint.
With the end of the 10 Days in Dublin, this summer will feel emptier than usual. Fortunately, there are still plenty of upcoming events to tickle the fancy of the city’s theatre-lovers. From May 5-18, the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival will celebrate its eleventh year running. The largest event of its type in the world, it will feature everything from drag musical comedies about Margaret Thatcher to 80s cabaret. Then, from May 20-31, the Dublin Dance Festival kicks in, providing a platform for Irish choreographers and performers to display their substantial talents. From July 11-13, the Street Performance World Championships will treat viewers to fire-jugglers, acrobats, and sword swallowers, among other terrifying things — all free of charge. Finally, the Galway Arts Festival (July 14-27) promises to be well worth the cross-country journey.
Summer in Ireland’s art calendar is the time for biennials. From 12 April to 6 July, Limerick invites you to the 36th edition of EVA International — Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art. Curated this year by Bassam El Baroni, curator and art critic based in Alexandria, Egypt, it takes AGITATIONISM as its theme. As the past few years have witnessed protests unfolding into serious unrest in many parts of the globe, the biennial explores the sense of living under agitation while capturing how we are slowly adapting to a different perception of the world by working through our relationships with historical ideologies, post-colonial narratives, other beings (including animals), and speculations about the not-so-distant future.
Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine, May 16-18
After the success of the Inaugural Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in 2013, the event returns with an even larger line-up this year to Ballymaloe House in County Cork. This unique three day celebration of food trends and writing brings together a wide and varied group of chefs, authors, foragers, wine experts, publishers, bloggers and journalists. Unlike any other Irish food festival, Litfest will host a diverse programme of approximately 100 events including cookery demos, tastings, panel discussions, workshops, readings, foraging expeditions, lunches and dinners. René Redzepi, head chef at the renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, will headline this year’s festival and his first Irish appearance will be sure to draw the crowds. Tickets available from www.litfest.ie