The Irish music festival is in rude health, with more events than ever and international acts flocking to the country over the next several months. Kicking off the season, Hot Press brings you the last-word in festival guides, taking in the not-to-be-missed performers and also the hidden gems worth seeking out.

APRIL
Music Cork
April 25-27 Venues across Cork City
musiccork.com


Hermitage Green, The Strypes, Stephanie Rainey, Fontaines D.C, Thanks Brother, State Lights, Lilla Vargen, Tebi Rex, Darce, Laoise, 1000 Beasts, Siights, Day_S, Le Boom, Erica Cody, Roe, Kojaque, Little Hours, Eve Belle, Otherkin

Spaced across venues in Cork city including Cork Opera House, An Bróg and Clayton’s Hotel, Music Cork is a unique hybrid event, which blends panels with international industry insiders and showcases for Irish acts. Among the speakers are Senior Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records, Isaac Green, Hudson Taylor and Hozier manager, Caroline Downey, and PRS Chairman, Nigel Elderton. Showcased Irish artists include Tebi Rex, an alt. hip hop duo from Kildare who've been generating serious A&R interest. A must for those looking to break into the music industry or enjoy a night of curated Irish talent.
MAY
Drogheda Arts Festival May 1-7
Venues across Drogheda
droghedaartsfestival.ie


Spectrum, Four Thousand Holes, Mike Joyce (DJ), Tim Burgess (DJ), Zoë Conway and John McIntyre, Aine McGeeney, Colm Phelan + Conal O’Kane, Linda Devlin, Dissenters, Artefacts, An Act of Hospitality Can Only Be Poetic

As one of Ireland’s oldest towns - hopefully soon to be a city! - Drogheda is well placed to know a little something about culture. Running over the May Bank Holiday, its Arts Festival showcases the best in music, theatre, spoken word, film and public interviews. Among the highlights are a rare live sighting of Spectrum, the current flight of musical fancy from Spaceman 3 co-founder Pete 'Sonic Boom' Kember who play Droichead Arts Centre (May 4), and DJ sets from legendary Smiths drummer Mike Joyce (5), and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans at Fusion nightclub (6).

Dublin Dance Festival
May 2-20 Venues across Dublin City
dublindancefestival.ie


Akram Khan’s Giselle (English National Ballet), Top 8, Junk Ensemble, Christos Papadopoulos/Leon & The Wolf, DAI, Lea Moro, Yvonne Rainer, Patricia Guerrero, Oona Doherty, Liz Roche Company, Philippe Saire, Ali Chahrour, Ruaií Donovan, Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company, Jessie Keenan

The highlight of the events calendar for Irish dance enthusiasts is back in May to wow audiences with the very best of the best of international hoofing. In its 14th year, the Dublin Dance Festival attracts the most accomplished dancers from every corner of the planet in every genre imaginable, from ballet to breakdancing. The focus this year is on providing an access route into the world of dance for children and young people, making this the perfect festival for the little ones.
Derry Jazz Festival
May 3-7 Venues across Derry
cityofderryjazzfestival.com


Van Morrison, Jaydee Brass Band, Tom Harrison & Leo Richardson, Jessica Radciffe, David Lyttle Trio ft. Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dinosaur, Guinness Jazz Band, Scott Flanigan Trio & Jaime Nanci Barron Quintet, Snow Poet, DD & The Delta Boys, Dave Martin, Emily McCormick, John Talbot with Jazz Gazette, Kevin Brown, Harry Connolly Band, Derry Legends

The Maiden City is the place to be for jazz fans this May Bank Holiday as the Derry Jazz Festival returns for its 17th year. Attracting 60,000 people across the weekend, it plays host to the finest jazz musicians and offers workshops with the finest tutors. Big names over the weekend are Tom Harrison and Leo Richardson – two of London’s most prominent saxophonists, and British jazz quartet Dinosaur. The highligh is sure to be a performance by the Belfast Cowboy himself as Van Morrison plays a sold-out gig in the Millennium Forum on May 6. In a rich vein of form at the moment, Van will doubtless be dipping into his new album, You're Driving Me Crazy.
Riverfest 2018
May 4-7 Locations across Limerick
limerick.ie/riverfest

Bell X1, King Kong Company, Fashion Friday, Riverfestival village in Arthur’s Quay Park, Bon Secours, Great Limerick Run and fireworks, Riverfest BBQ Competition, Nevsail Kayaking Competition, Limerick Cycling Tour, Nevsail Water Zorbing

In the first week of May, Limerick becomes Munster’s mecca for water-sports enthusiasts, families, runners and foodies as Riverfest 2018 takes over the city. Over the course of the three-day festival, there’s plenty to sample: fun-runs, group swims in the River Shannon, BBQ competitions, music from Bell X1 and King Kong Company, and a whole lot more. The Riverfestival Village will sate every appetite, offering food, craft and retail stalls and vintage amusements.
Smithwick's Kilkenny Roots Festival
May 4-7 Venues across Kilkenny
kilkennyroots.com

Molly Tuttle, Bennett Wilson Poole, Rachel Baiman, Hillbilly Casino, Peter Oren, Michael Nau, The Deep Dark Woods, Prinz Grizzley, Whitney Rose, Mary Gauthier, The Blasters, Seamus Fogarty, Birds Of Chicago, Darlingside

Celebrating its 21st birthday in 2018, Smithwick's Kilkenny Roots festival is the sparkling jewel in the crown of the city’s already famed nightlife. The relaxed event celebrates the best in international and Irish talent across the genres of folk, early blues, country, rhythm and blues and rock. This year’s eclectic line-up is set to attract fans from all over Europe and the US to all the shows, typically performed in front of packed pubs and venues across the walkable and welcoming city centre.
VINYL Dublin
May 5-7 Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin
vinyl-dublin.com

Snow Patrol and Edith Bowman, Shane MacGowan and Dave Robinson (Stiff Records), Geoff Barrow and Cillian Murphy, Noel Hogan and Stephen Street, Lol Tolhurst, Aslan, Donal Gallagher on the Rory Gallagher Archive, Philip King’s History of Irish Vinyl, Victor Van Vugt, Brian Griffin, Russell Mills, Stephen Averill, Seamus Fogarty, Trouble Pilgrims

Vinyl is a celebration of one of the most iconic and recognisable items of the 20th century – vinyl records. Its first installment takes place over the May Bank Holiday with such huge names as Cillian Murphy, Chrissie Hynde, Lol Tolhurst and Shane MacGowan descending on the magnificent RHK. In his first public appearance since the tragic death of Dolores O'Riordan, Noel Hogan will be reunited with Cranberries producer Stephen Street. The weekend includes panel discussions, music performances from the likes of Seamus Fogarty and Aslan, album playbacks, pop-up stores and record signings. An absolute must for audiophiles and the nostalgic.
Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
May 7-20 Venues across Dublin City Centre
gaytheatre.ie

Breda’s Way, Ginger Beer, Let Me Look At You, Blue Island 99, 3 Lies About Brooklyn, Beloved Sinner, Men’s Shorts, Smashes, Writers In The Stars, Professional Breakup Artist, Ethan and Evan and all they know

The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival was founded back in 2004 by a group of volunteers to mark the 150th anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s birth. Since its inception it has become the largest event of its kind in the world. Its mission is to celebrate the often overlooked contribution of gay people to theatre, both past and present. Now in its 15th year, the festival is in 2018 also marking something else entirely – the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland. The plays will consider how much changed in those years for gay people.
Marlay Walled Garden Music Festival
May 18+19 Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin

Karen Underwood and band, Frankie Gavin and The Provenance

The walled garden of the 18th century Marlay House, in Dublin’s Marlay Park, plays host to two spectacular nights of music. First up is Cork's Karen Underwood, a “singer of soul, blues sister and jazz diva” whose repertoire includes classics by Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, followed by Corrandulla-born Frankie Gavin, the fastest fiddler in the world according to the Guinness Book Of Records, and one of the most revered figures in traditional Irish music. It's taking place in a marquee so you won't be rained on!
International Literature Festival Dublin
May 19-27 Venues across Dublin
ilfdublin.com

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Neil Gaiman, Michael Rosen, Laurie Penny, Amanda Palmer, Melatu Uche Okorie & Nikesh Shukla, Rachel Cusk, David Mitchell & Deborah Levy, Werner Herzog

The International Literature Festival Dublin celebrates its 20th anniversary, and continues its hard-earned tradition for attracting the most accomplished writers in the world. The festival welcomes poets, writers of fiction and non-fiction, playwrights, screenwriters and musicians to participate in readings, panel discussions, workshops and debates in front of rapt audiences. A highlight this year will be the audience with Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose “We should all be Feminists” TED talk, based on her 2014 book of the same name, was sampled by Beyoncé in her song ‘***Flawless’.
Life Festival
May 19-27 Belvedere House, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
life-festival.com

Fatboy Slim, Armand Van Helden, Adam Beyer, Joseph Capriati, Alan Fitzpatrick, Amerlie Lens, Blawan, Braeme & Hamo, Bugzy Malone, Cailín, Dax J, Hannah Wants, Honey Dijon, Fatima Yamaha, Wiley

Now a staple of Irish festivals, Life originated at the Glade Arena in Glastonbury before breaking off on its own in 2004. In the time since, it's gone from strength to strength – gathering hardcore fans by the thousands along the way. Set in the stunning grounds of Belvedere House in the heart of Ireland's Ancient East, Life attracts the finest electronic musicians in the world. This year’s line-up is fronted by the godfather of big beat, Fatboy Slim and American DJ Armand Van Helden. Not to be missed.
Fastnet Film Festival
May 23-27 Schull, Co. Cork
fastnetfilmfestival.com

David Putnam, Nick Kelly, Deirdre O'Kane, Jim Sheridan, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, The Drummer And The Keeper, Michael Inside, Sami Blood

The 10th Fastnet Film Festival finds a home once again in Schull, a coastal West Cork gem that proclaims: "Our village is your screen." The aim is to celebrate the art of the short film. And while there is a competitive element, it's not considered to be what really counts. The festival shows as many shorts as is feasible, along with the pick of the current batch of full-length Irish movies. The festival also brings film experts to the idyllic location to take part in workshops and Q+As with audiences.
Kilkenny Cat Laughs
May 31-June 4 Kilkenny City
thecatlaughs.com

Jason Manford, Reginald D. Hunter, Jason Byrne, Aisling Bea, Rory Scovel, Sara Pascoe, Blindboy, Neil Delamere, Des Bishop, David O’Doherty, Deirdre O’Kane, Alison Spittle, Joanne McNally, Tara Flynn, Andrew Maxwell, Zoe Lyons

The highlight of festival season for comedy lovers, Cat Laughs has been entertaining the masses for the last 24 years. With an international reputation for the calibre of performer it attracts, it completely takes over the Marble City with the Ormonde Kings, Hotel Kilkenny, SET Theatre, Hole In The Wall and Cleere's among the fine venues involved. We're very much looking forward this year to Tara Flynn who in addition to making people chuckle has been one of the Repeal The 8th movement's most eloquent champions, and author, podcaster, philosopher and yurty divil, Blindboy.
Rory Gallagher International Festival
May 31–June 3 Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
rorygallagherfestival.com

Band Of Friends, Wilko Johnson, Walter Trout, Wishbone Ash, Eric Steckel & His Band, Brian Downey’s Alive and Dangerous, Pat McManus Band, Sinnerboy, Johnny Gallagher & The Boxtie Band

The hometown of profoundly influential Irish musician Rory Gallagher has honoured his memory with a festival for the last 17 years. What's affectionately known as Roryfest offers free open-air concerts and pub gigs throughout the day and night, exhibitions, and discussions on Rory and his enduring influence. The worthy winner of Best Small Irish Festival 2017, it’s shaping up to be another memorable celebration of one of Irish music’s most iconic figures. AC/DC's Angus Young has been threatening to attend as a punter for years: maybe this time it'll happen!
Listowel Writers' Week
May 30 – June 3 Listowel, Co. Kerry
writersweek.ie

Bryan MacMahon & Brendan Kennelly, Colm Tóibín, Gabriel & Brenda Fitzmaurice, Sally Rooney & Mary Morrissy, Ruth Fitzmaurice, Louise O’Neill & Evelyn O’Rourke, Anthony Horowitz & Rick O’Shea, Mary Kenny, Vincent Browne

Now in its 47th year, this is widely recognised as one of the country’s premier literary gatherings. Over the course of five dizzying days – organised by a panel headed by critically acclaimed Irish author Colm Tóibín – it hosts a diverse range of lectures, readings, workshops and guided tours. The line-up this year promises something for everyone, with young adult fiction author Anthony Horowitz; I Found My Tribe writer Ruth Fitzmaurice; Sally Rooney of Conversations With Friends fame; and feminist children’s fiction author Louise O’Neill among the numerous highlights.
JUNE

K-Fest
June 1-4 Killorglin, Co. Kerry
kfest.ie

Le Boom, Fangclub, Katie Laffan, Roe, Jonno Brien, Emma Langford, New Valley Wolves, Shookrah, Vernon Jane, Bongo Steve, Jyellowl, Cheski, Ocelots, Alien She, Vulpynes, Eve Belle, Waldorf & Cannon, Bayonets, Cinema, LTGTR, Cian Sheils, Junior Brother, Kenny Tynan, Emily 7, Geadel

K-Fest is a transient festival, transforming vacant and deserted buildings, retail outlets and houses in this scenic riverside town into pop-up venues and gallery exhibition spaces. Taking place over the June Bank Holiday, K-Fest plays host to spoken word, music, film, comedy and theatre, street entertainment and children’s activities. A highpoint is the Screaming Pope Prize ceremony, which celebrates an outstanding piece of visual art. Since its inception in 2013, K-Fest has showcased over 3,000 original pieces by over 600 visual artists. An absolute must for all aesthetes.
Vantastival
June 1-3 Beaulieu House, Drogheda, Co. Louth
vantastival.com

Le Galaxie, The Stunning, RSAG, The Hot Sprockets, Loah, The Bonny Men, Marc O’Reilly, Marlene Enright, Engine Alley, Corner Boy, Elephant, Nix Moon, The Tragedy of Dr. Hannigan, Thumper, Neon Atlas, Third smoke, Slow Place Like Home, Wolff, The Wood Burning Savages, Mindriotmt, Grand, Vulpynes

Vantastival, as the name might suggest, is focused on the campervan lifestyle, fused with live music, food stalls, traders, kids’ activities and arts and crafts stalls. Taking place against the backdrop of a 17th-century stately home, the three-dayer prides itself on its family-friendly nature and accessibility for all patrons. This year the live music includes Le Galaxie, The Stunning and Vulpynes, entertaining crowds throughout the day. So, do you own a campervan? Yes? Good. No? It doesn’t matter – there’s a dedicated campsite available for those who’d prefer to rough it in a tent instead.
Bulmers Forbidden Fruit
June 2-4 Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8
forbiddenfruit.ie

Justice, The War On Drugs, Bonobo, Vince Staples, Richie Hawtin, Grizzly Bear, Glass Animals, Four Tet, Stephan Bodzin, Earl Sweatshirt, Thundercat, Mike D, Warpaint, Bicep, Floating Points, George Fitzgerald, Denis Sulta, Idris Elba, RHYE, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Hunee, Ben UFO, Agoria, Axel Boman, Tensnake, Or.La

Kicking off the major-league summer music festivals, Forbidden Fruit returns to the Royal Hospital this June Bank Holiday with headline acts Justice, The War On Drugs and Bonobo setting the scene for a weekend full of sound, comedy, great culinary offerings and wholesome activities. The action is spread across six stages, promising a diverse and eclectic tasting menu of genres and acts. Not to be missed is Vince Staples, the outspoken rapper fresh from his show-stopping performance with mentor Kendrick Lamar at Coachella. Monday is the rockier of the three days.

Carlow Arts Festival
June 6-10 Venues across Carlow
carlowartsfestival.com

Extraordinary Bodies, Kamchátka, Quote Unquote Collective, King Kong Company, Stockton's Wing, Lisa O'Neill, Radie Peat, R.S.A.G

Carlow’s Arts Festival is a week-long showcase of the riches in arts on offer from both Irish and international artists. Immerse yourself in the award-winning shows, visual arts exhibits, gigs in the O’Hara’s Pavilion, and any of the many free and family-friendly events. Carlow College, St. Patrick's acts as the headquarters of the festival, but there’s something to see just about everywhere in town.
Live At The Marquee
June 7 – July 14 The Marquee, Docklands, Co. Cork


Kodaline, A-Ha, Don McLean, Bell X1, Gavin James, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Picture This, Jenny Greene & RTÉ Concert Orchestra, The Script, James Bay, Christy Moore, Nathan Carter, Jack Johnson, Alanis Morissette, Kraftwerk 3-D, The Coronas

The outstandingly successful Live At The Marquee festival kicked off way back in 2005, when the Real Capital was official European Capital of Culture – and has returned every year since. Spanning almost six weeks, huge names like Alanis Morissette, Don McLean, Nile Rodgers & Chic, and Kraftwerk in mindblowing 3-D will hit the Rebel County to entertain the masses. Irish talent is well represented,too, with gigs from Bell X1, Gavin James, Picture This, The Script, The Coronas and Christy Moore.

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown Series
June 7–August 16 Leopardstown Racecourse, County Dublin
leopardstown.com

Hothouse Flowers, Paddy Casey with Saoirse Casey, Hudson Taylor, Bulmers Carnival Night, Paul Young, Keywest, Smokie, The Waterboys

Bulmers Live at Leopardstown series live returns for another year, reaffirming its reputation as a festival with a difference. Following a full card of exciting racing – Grand National winner Davy Mullen rates it as one of his favourite courses - punters are treated to live music from some of the most celebrated names around. There’s a wide variety of hospitality options, with the ‘Summer Bundle’ particularly great value – tickets are €33, including admission to the racing and live music, with a €10 food voucher and €5 bet included.

Belsonic
June 15 - 30 Ormeau Park, Belfast
belsonic.com

Nile Rodgers & Chic & Soul II Soul; Liam Gallagher, Richard Ashcroft & Louis Berry; Picture This, Lany & John Gibbons; Timmy Trumpet, W&W, Marlo, Lucas & Steve; Carl Cox with Joseph Capriati, Peggy Gou, Ejeca & Schmutz; The Script & Gavin James; Eric Prydz presents HOLO, Dusky, Camelphat & Cristoph

Disco giants Nile Rodgers & Chic kick off Belfast’s premier music festival in style on June 15. A stellar line-up includes in-form Manchester icon Liam Gallagher, our very own The Script, British house and electronica veteran Carl Cox and Swedish record producer and DJ Eric Prydz. Last year, Belsonic moved from Custom House Square to the spacious Ormeau Park, the oldest municipal greenery in the city.




Doolin Folk Festival
June 15-17 Hotel Doolin, Co. Clare
doolinfestivals.ie

Paul Brady, Lankum, Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Mary Coughlan, Lúnasa, The Fiddle Case with Luka Bloom, Moxie, Scullion, Väsen, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Ímar, Jimmy Crowley, Jiggy, The Maes

Taking its cues from the famous Lisdoonvarna, Doolin Folk Festival presents powerful music in an intimate setting. Those lucky enough to attend the event, in the grounds of Hotel Doolin, will be treated to performances by Paul Brady, anarchic tradsters Lankum who played a blinder at the recent Shane MacGowan tribute gig, Mary Coughlan and Lúnasa. Famed for its lively trad sessions and home to the legendary Russell Brothers, the small fishing village is situated between the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and the Aran Islands – giving visitors an exquisite taste of the Wild Atlantic Way as they kick back and enjoy one of Ireland’s truly great events.


The Irish Maritime Festival
June 16-17 Drogheda Port
maritimefestival.ie

Line up TBC

Every year, the bustling port in the heritage town of Drogheda is transformed into a family-friendly space in time for this fun weekender. Historic ships enter the festival via-the mythical River Boyne, attracting large crowds. They come for the ships and stay for the food; ‘A Taste of Ireland’s Ancient East’ initiative showcases the most delicious food the area has to offer, and included in the ticket prices is food tasting and cooking demos to sate any appetite.
Body & Soul
June 22 – 24 Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath
bodyandsoul.ie

Fever Ray, Chronixx, Jon Hopkins, Iron & Wine, Baxter Dury, James Holden & The Animal Spirits, Mano le Tough, Who Made Who, Shamir, Son Lux, Fatima Al Qadiri, Tank and the Bangs, Pantha Du Prince, Shame, Susanne Sunfør, Olaf Dreijer, Reykjavíkurdaetur, Faka, Lankum, Saint Sister

Body & Soul attracts 15,000 people every year to the idyllic grounds of Ballinlough Castle. The unique selling point is the boutique element – the focus is firmly on exploring the arts, discovering new music and celebrating life and nature in and among the walled gardens and woodlands of the grand estate. The festival is held every year at the time of the Summer Solstice, and the love of nature is reflected in the manner in which it's run, with great efforts taken to ensure the festival is environmentally sustainable.
Sea Sessions
June 22-24 Bundoran, Co Donegal
seasessions.com

Dizzee Rascal, Walking O Cars, Rudimental (DJ Set), Hannah Wants, Everything Everything, Dusky, Hudson Taylor, Delorentos, Le Galaxie, Chasing Abbey, Jerry Fish, Versatile, The Blizzards, Fekky, Kormac, DJ Yoda, Greg Wilson, Wild Youth, Stomptown Brass, Fabio, The Hot Sprockets

Named the IMRO Festival of the Year in 2016, Sea Sessions grows from strength to strength, with thousands of people travelling from all over the country to get in on the coastal fun. Along with lashings and lashings of quality live music - we can't wait to hear Dizzee Rascal belt out 'Bonkers', 'Space', 'I Love U' and his other rabble rousing monsters - there's a Clean Coasts Surf Expression Session and the Barefoot Beach Olympics to keep you royally entertained. The glamping options are fantastic.

Summer In The City
June 23 – 24 & June 26 RDS Dublin
Picture This, Clean Bandit, JP Cooper, Little Hours, The Chainsmokers, Rita Ora, The Killers & Franz Ferdinand

Summer In The City boasts one of the most mouthwatering double-headers of the year, in the shape of The Killers' RDS outing in the company of the revitalised Franz Ferdinand, currently riding high on the success of cracking comeback album Always Ascending. Elsewhere, the wonderfully eclectic line-up boasts high-flying Athy rockers Picture This, EDM sensations The Chainsmokers, and much more.
JULY
BARE Festival
July 6+7 Borris House, Co. Carlow
barefestival.com

Obie Trice, God Is An Astronaut, Swifty & Kuniva from D12, Ratboy, Kíla, Natty Wailer, Seamus Fogarty, Gok Wan, The Lost Brothers, Mick Konstantin, Noel Holl (Planxty), The Pale, Quinton Campbell, Josh Coakley, Rí-Rá, Cornerboy, Wolff, Tebi Rex

With a brilliant line-up also in place for its Festival Of Writing & Ideas in June, Borris House is at the centre of the action this summer, and hosts its own music event in July. Highlights of the wonderfully diverse line-up include Eminem acolyte Obie Trice; folk duo The Lost Brothers – on the crest of a wave following the success of this year's Halfway Towards A Healing; and a DJ set from fashion guru Gok Wan.
Groove Festival
July 7+8 Kilruddery House and Gardens, Bray, Co. Wicklow
groovefestival.ie

Fun Lovin’ Criminals, The Riptide Movement, The Stunning, Heather Smalls, Something Happens, Mack Fleetwood, HamsandwicH, Kíla, Brave Giant, Fallen Lights, Cult Called Man, State Lights

Groove Festival’s number one aim is to fuse music, food and fun activities in a family-friendly environment. In Kilruddery House in Bray, Groove returns for its sixth year, welcoming multi-platinum selling New York band Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Dublin’s own The Riptide Movement, The Stunning and Hamsandwich among its eclectic line-up. Also on offer will be the finest food and craft stalls spread across the estate. New to the set-up this year is Hell&Back, promising a weekend of outdoor challenges and activities for all the family.


Ballina Salmon Festival
July 8-15 Ballina, Co. Mayo
ballinasalmonfestival.ie

One of the largest annual community-based festivals in the West of Ireland, this weeklong extravaganza attracts crowds of up to 250,000 to North Mayo. Ballina Salmon Festival prides itself on its community roots, with a huge team of volunteers putting on a programme that encompasses music, sports, street theatre, fireworks, river events, exhibitions, fishing, children’s events and more. Live music has always been at the heart of the event, whether it’s big bands in the Market Square, local acts playing the pub trail, the annual street busking competition or trad, jazz and classical music nights in Ballina Arts Centre.
Galway Film Fleadh
July 10-15 Venues across Galway
galwayfilmfleadh.com

Line-up TBA

The old adage goes “necessity is the mother of invention”. In the case of the Galway Film Fleadh, the adage rings true. Founded in 1989 out of a sense of frustration at the lack of opportunites for Irish filmmakers to showcase their work, today’s Fleadh welcomes a huge diversity of filmmakers and films from across the world over six days. Down through the years, the event has attracted huge names such as Saoirse Ronan, Richard Attenborough, Martin Sheen and Michael Fassbender. This year’s line-up has yet to be announced, but it's sure to be just as enticing.


Longitude
July 13-15 Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin
longitude.ie

J Cole, Travis Scott, Solange, MIGOS, Post Malone, Diplo, Tyler The Creator, Sampha, Khalid, Giggs, J Hus, Joey Bada$$, Lil Pump, bLACKbEAR, 6lack, Ibeyi, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Princess Nokia, Mabel, Big Shaq

One of the most eagerly anticipated festival performances of the summer is Solange's headline turn at Longitude, where the material from her 2016 masterwork A Seat At The Table is sure to go down a storm. Chart-topping rap stars J Cole and Travis Scott round out a formidable trio of headliners, while other highlights include Odd Future's Tyler The Creator, groove technician Diplo and hip-hop maverick – and Mr Robot star! – Joey Bada$$.


Galway International Arts Festival
16-29 July Venues across Galway
giaf.ie

The Flaming Lips, Madness, Backbone, Gavin James, The Stunning, Orfeo and Euridice, Caribou, Kodaline, Walking On Cars (programme released May 16)

Galway, the European Capital of Culture 2020, plays host to the 41st International Arts Festival this July, encompassing a variety of art forms including music, dance, street performing, visual arts, comedy and theatre. Although the full line-up details are still to be announced, among the acts who caught HP's eye in the first batch of announced acts are psych-rock mavericks Flaming Lips, cult dance guru Caribou and hometown heroes The Stunning.



Townlands Carnival
July 20-22 Rusheen Farm Estate, Macroom, Co. Cork
townlandscarnival.com

Sister Sledge, Leftfield (DJ Set), King Kong Company, Stanton Warriors, JFB, WBBL, Ghetto Funk Allstars, Kíla, General Levy, Mungo’s Hi Fi, Altern8, The Eskies, The Latchikos, Cian Finn

Cork’s Townlands Carnival, located in ancient woods and valleys surrounding Rusheen Farm Estate in Macroom, showcases a comprehensive spread of music, art and entertainment in a family-friendly environment. The surroundings are second to none and all tastes in music are catered for - with electronic, reggae, folk, acoustic and hip-hop, and established artists mentoring upcoming acts. This year’s main attractions are disco royalty Sister Sledge; dance veterans Leftfield, renowned for their pulsating live performances; and Waterford-based collective King Kong Company.
Trinity Summer Series
July 23-29 Trinity College Dublin

Grace Jones with special guests Wyvern Lingo; Il Divo with The Trinity Orchestra; Rag’n’Bone Man with Grace Carter; Bryan Ferry; Gavin James with Little Hours; Imelda May with Paradasia

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the Trinity Series boasts another mouthwatering collection of talent this summer. A particular highlight will be the incomparable Grace Jones, the subject of last year's doc Bloodlight & Bami, which was partially filmed in Dublin. Completing a mouthwatering line-up, the iconic singer is supported on the night by Bray stars Wyvern Lingo. Elsewhere, Il Divo, Rag’n’Bone Man, Bryan Ferry and Imelda May are also part of a brilliant series of shows in Dublin city centre.
Sligo International Summer School & Jazz Festival
July 24-29 Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo
sligojazz.ie

Composer In Residence Brian Byrne, tutors include Liane Carroll, Sara Colman, Emilia Martensson, Paul Booth, Henrik Linder, John Goldsby, Mike Walker

Every summer for the last 14 years, the Sligo Jazz Project has run a Jazz Summer School, inviting 100-plus students from all over the world to participate in a weeklong course of lessons. The event sees musicians of all abilities participating in classes in drums, double bass, saxophone, trombone, trumpet and many other instruments. The accompanying festival, meanwhile, sees the students morph into impromptu jazz bands, performing festival concerts each night, often followed by jam sessions featuring the students and special guests. Over the years, guests have included the likes of Dhafer Youssef, Kenny Werner and Mike Stern/ Victor Wooten Band, and this year the bill promises to be just as tantalising.
Knockanstockan
July 27-29 Blessington Lake, Co. Wicklow
knockanstockan.ie

The Hot Sprockets, Jyellowl, Bicurious, Super Silly, Mon Looks On, Simon Bird, Vernon Jane, The Scratch, The Bonk, Farah Elle, Slouch, Ailie Blunnie, Elaine Mai, Cúla Búla, Kojaque, Munky, Sim Simma Sound System, Nava, Roe

Knockanstockan has always prided itself on providing a platform for emerging Irish artists, and with names like Kojaque, Cúla Búla, Super Silly and The Hot Sprockets on this year’s bill, they're maintaining that fine tradition. Taking place in idyllic surroundings on an elevated site overlooking Blessington Lakes, Knockanstockan offers a brief oasis of calm in comparison to other festivals. For good measure, the food selection is curated and it's BYOB. All in all, Knockanstockan promises a completely rewarding and relaxing weekend.
Sunflowerfest
July 27-29 Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough, Co. Down
sunflowerfest.co.uk

Dreaming Of Jupiter, The Twisted Sisters, Electric Octopus, We Were Promised Jetpacks, DBMCs, School Of Rock, Courtesans, Grand

Taking place in the beautiful confines of Tubby’s Farm, just outside of Hillsborough, this is a friendly, broad-minded weekend festival of music and arts. From pop and rock to electronic and more, the booking policy is wonderfully eclectic.
AUGUST
All Together Now
August 3-5 Curraghmore House, Co. Waterford
alltogethernow.ie

Fleet Foxes, Underworld, Róisín Murphy, Mura Masa, First Aid Kit, Chaka Khan, Nils Frahm, Mogwai, Jimmy Cliff, The New Power Generation, Groove Armada (DJ Set), Kelela, Jape, Saint Sister, Horse Meat Disco

A newcomer to the festival scene, All Together Now takes place on the August Bank Holiday in the grounds of the Downton Abbey-esque Curraghmore House in Waterford. The emphasis is on the simple pleasures in life: music, theatre, spoken word, comedy and delicious food. The newbie status hasn’t deterred big names from turning up on the bill, with highlights including Chaka Khan (back in Ireland following her triumphant show with Chic here last year); indie-folk heroes Fleet Foxes; and dance icons Underworld
Castlepalooza
August 3-5 Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
castlepalooza.com

!!!(Chk Chk Chk), Detroit Swindle, Bon Voyage & Arveene, Super Extra Bonus Party, Beauty Sleep, New Jackson, Ships, Seamus Fogarty, Boots & Kats, Heroes In Hiding, All Tvvins, Rubberbandits, Pins, Space Dimension Controller, I Draw Slow, Dublin Ukulele Collective, Paddy Hanna, Mix & Fairbanks, Fontaines DC

A terrific mix of music and comedy in the gorgeous environs of Charleville Castle, Castlepalooza has something for everyone. Hot Press is particularly excited by the appearance of electrifying dance-punk crew !!!, while Rubberbandits' anarchic shenanigans in the comedy tent will also be unmissable. Elsewhere, Dutch electro duo Detroit Swindle, folk maestro Seamus Fogarty and Dublin rockers Fontaines DC are sure to go down a storm in the midlands. For those fancying an upgrade from the usual tent, meanwhile, Castlepalooza will also be offering boutique camping – with real beds.
Beatyard
August 3-5 Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin
the-beatyard.com

The Jacksons, Mr Scruff, The Reflex, Kelly Anne Byrne, Kamasi Washington, Daphni, Django Django, Little Dragon, Modeselektor DJ, John Talabot, Le Boom, Bad Bones, The Scratch, Orbital, St Germain, Kiasmos, Sugarhill Gang

As surreal as it sounds, the living members of music’s most famous family – the Jacksons – will headline the cosy Beatyard festival tucked away in Dun Laoghaire harbour this August Bank Holiday. Elsewhere on the tasty bill, electronica fans in particular are spoiled, with Ninja Tune legend Mr Scruff, a DJ set from techno legends (and Thom Yorke collaborators) Modeselektor, and electro maestros Orbital among the Beatyard treats. And to top it all off, there will be a delicious and eclectic range of food courtesy of Eatyard.
Indiependence
August 3-5 Deer Farm, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork
indiependencefestival.com

Walking On Cars, Jake Bugg, Primal Scream, Everything Everything, Kate Nash, Circa Waves, King Kong Company, Le Galaxie, HamsandwicH, The Blizzards, Le Boom, Wild Youth, Cast, And So I Watch You From Afar, Delorentos, Aine Cahill

Deer Farm, as the name may suggest, spends a great share of its time annually playing host to deer and other wildlife. During the August Bank Holiday, however, the deer are replaced by thousands of festival-goers for this brilliant indie and alternative festival. The line-up is a thoroughly Irish affair, with homegrown heroes Walking On Cars, Le Galaxie, And So I Watch You From Afar, Hamsandwich and The Blizzards all taking to the stage over the long weekend.
Revival
August 11 The Square, Listowel Co. Kerry
revivalfestival.ie

Aslan, Ash, HamsandwicH

Making its debut in 2016, Revival is the brainchild of the folk behind bars like Mike The Pies, Joe’s, Flanagan’s, Christy's Well, The Racecourse, Con Dillon's, The Horseshoe and The Shebeen. With homegrown faves Aslan, Ash and Hamsandwich leading the charge, the other star of the show will be Listowel itself, a beautiful heritage town on the River Feale. It's a one-dayer, but stay for the weekend!
Chaplin Film Festival
August 23-26 Waterville, Co. Kerry
chaplinfilmfestival.com

This year marks the eighth annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival, which honours the pioneering spirit of the great filmmaker. It’s packed with screenings, guest speakers, workshops, circus performances, street entertainers, art exhibitions, amusement rides, a film competition and pop-up improvised comedy. For good measure, there’ll also be more than a few screenings of Chaplin classics. and all taking place in the stunning seaside town of Waterville.
SEPTEMBER
Electric Picnic
August 31 – September 2 Stradbally, Co Laois
electricpicnic.ie

Kendrick Lamar, Massive Attack, N*E*R*D, Dua Lipa, Ben Howard, St. Vincent, King Krule, George Ezra, The Kooks, CHVRCHES, Jungle, Wolf Alice, Nina Kraviz, Cigarettes After Sex, Friendly Fires, Garbage, Mount Kimbie, Tom Misch, Dermot Kennedy, Jorja Smith, Benamin Clementine, The Blaze, Sigrid, Jessie Ware

The jewel in the Irish festival calendar, Electric Picnic has returned with another cracking line-up this year. Following his triumph at 3Arena earlier this year, the atmosphere is sure to be at fever pitch for hip hop icon – and now Pulitzer Prize winner – Kendrick Lamar, while the sets from fellow headliners Massive Attack and N*E*R*D (currently riding the crest of a wave on the back of cracking comeback album No-One Ever Really Dies) should be equally pulsating. And of course, that's just the tip of the Stradbally iceberg, with Body & Soul, the comedy tent, Mindfield and all the usual favourites set to add to the fun once again.
Shorelines Arts Festival
September 13-16 Portumna, Co. Galway

Programme TBC

Celebrating its 11th birthday, the Shorelines Arts Festival has developed into one of the country's most popular boutique events. Shorelines, organised on a totally volunteer basis, showcases the best in local arts, with an emphasis on literature, drama, visual arts and music.
OCTOBER
Wexford Opera Festival
October 19 –November 4 Wexford Opera House
wexfordopera.com

Mala Vita & L’oracolo, Dinner At Eight, Il Bravo, Don Pasquale, Bernstein à La Carte, La fanciulla del West, Holy Mary

Fresh from being named Best Opera Festival in the World by the International Opera Awards, Wexford Opera Festival returns again for its 67th year. The beauty of the event lies in its tendency to book and showcase unusual, underground and rare examples of the art form. In 2018, it will host 62 events over 17 days; for good measure, it’s also celebrating its 10th year in the glorious National Opera House in Wexford town. Intriguingly, this year’s outing features kidnapping, murder, arson and a posh New York dinner party that doesn’t quite go to plan… It will also see the European premiere of William Bolcom’s Dinner At Eight, based on the 1932 play and film starring Jean Harlow.
Sligo Live
October 24-29 Venues across Sligo

Programme TBC

Sligo town’s folk, roots and indie festival, Sligo Live, returns this October for its 15th year. Although the line-up for the 2018 festival is yet to be announced, it will no doubt be another cracker, as over the years it's welcomed the heavyweight likes of Van Morrison, Rufus Wainwright, Elvis Costello and Jools Holland to the Yeats County.
ONE DAY FESTIVALS
ED SHEERAN
Park Ui Chaoimh, Cork (May 4-6); Boucher Playing Fields, Belfast (May 9); Pearse Stadium, Galway (May 12+13); Phoenix Park, Dublin (May 16-19).

It’s a sort of homecoming for the boy Sheeran this summer, as he returns to his ancestral homeland for an extraordinary nine sold-out dates, which will see. The honorary Irishman even has a tattoo as Gaeilge which reads, “Nuair is gá dom fháil bhaile, is tú mo réalt eolais”, which means, “When I need to get home, you’re my guiding light”. In particular, the performance of his smash hit ‘Galway Girl’ at Pearse Stadium should be one of the live moments of the year.
NOEL GALLAGHER'S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
SSE Arena Belfast, May 9 & 3Arena Dublin, May 10.

Noel Gallagher brings his High Flying Birds to Irish shores in May, with shows in Belfast and Dublin. The elder Gallagher is touring his latest album, Who Built the Moon?, which found him exploring new creative terrain, with cult Belfast DJ David Holmes on production duties. In addition to the High-Flying Birds material, fans can of course expect a decent smattering of Oasis classics.
THE ROLLING STONES
Croke Park, Dublin May 17

The World’s Greatest Rock’n’Roll return to Ireland for the first time since 2007 for a hotly anticipated Croker date. With a treasure trove of anthemic classics to call on, this promises to be one of the shows of the year. It was recently confirmed that Irish rockers The Academic will play support, while the Stones’ manager, Dale Skejerset, has promised that the Dublin show will be the longest of the tour – so prepare of two-and-a-half hours of iconic hits.
BECK AND YEAH YEAH YEAH'S
3Arena, Dublin May 23

Gen X icon Beck hooks up with cult indie favourites Yeah Yeah Yeahs for a mouthwatering double-header in May. One of the most gifted live performers of his generation, Beck – currently touring his latest album Colors – always provides a dazzling evening of genre-straddling musical adventure. Karen O and co., meanwhile, are celebrating their 15th anniversary of their classic debut, Fever To Tell, so this is going to be one hell of an early summer treat.
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
Malahide Castle, Dublin June 5

After charming all and sundry last September with their sweat-laden, utterly incendiary sold out shows at the Olympia, the James Murphy-led bunch look set to do it all over again, this time in the roomier confines of Malahide Castle. Touring in support of their first album in seven years, American Dream, the reformed dance-punks will follow in the footsteps of Prince and Radiohead when they grace the stage of this gorgeous venue.
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS AND PATTI SMITH
The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin June 6

We don’t know who came up with the idea of putting these two counter-culture icons together, but whoever did fully deserves a pay rise (or at the very least a wee plaque to congratulate them). A show that will unite goths, punks and poetry fans, both acts remain at the top of their game and ‘Red Right Hand,’ ‘Horses’ and more are going to be spellbinding.
GORILLAZ
Malahide Castle, Dublin June 9

Masterminded by Blur’s Damon Albarn and Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz take their eye-popping new tour to Dublin this summer. On the road in support of the sublime Humanz, this aural and visual feast is made all the more tasty with the addition of support acts Del La Soul, Little Simz and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
LIAM GALLAGHER
Malahide Castle, Dublin/Ormeau Park, Belfast June 15-16

Not to be outdone by his big brother, Our Kid continues his commercial and creative rebirth this summer with a brace of open air shows that see him appear on Dublin and Belfast stages. Armed with his rocking new album As You Were and a fistful of Oasis songs, you can bet his set will send the faithful mad for it.
TAYLOR SWIFT
Croke Park, Dublin June 15 & 16

While the Reputation Tour is presently shrouded in secrecy, we’ve whipped out our very own crystal ball and prophesise that the ex-country queen will deliver an experience for the ages. Supported by Charli XCX and Camila Cabello, Croker will bear witness to pop’s very own holy trinity and it will doubtless be awesome.
THE NATIONAL
Energia Park, Dublin June 15 & 16

The National’s love affair with Ireland continues with this brace pair of shows at Energia Park (Donnybrook Stadium). Following on from their remarkable (and intimate) shows at Vicar Street, the chart topping indie icons return to air favourites from recent record Sleep Well Beast and more.
PICTURE THIS
Live at the Marquee, Cork June 19-20

Hot on the heels of two sold out gigs there last year, the dynamic duo return to the Marquee to do it all over again. Buoyed by the frankly phenomenal success of their self titled debut album, the Co. Kildare pop-rockers have taken another huge stride forward, and the likes of ‘Never Change,’ ‘Addicted To You’ and ‘95’ already feel like much-loved festival favourites.
THE SCRIPT
Live at the Marquee, Cork June 26 and 27

Currently in world-beating form and celebrating the success of fourth album Freedom Child, Danny and co. hit Cork for two shows at the legendary Marquee in June. If their recent Irish gigs are anything to go by, the Rebel County should prepare itself for a masterclass in super slick, catchy-as-hell pop.
QUEEN AND ADAM LAMBERT
Marlay Park, Dublin July 8

Filling Freddie Mercury’s considerable shoes is no easy task, but former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert has pulled it off with aplomb (for the most part). Showcasing a spectacular stage production inspired by the 40th anniversary of News Of The World, evergreen anthems such as ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Killer Queen’ will get Marlay Park rocking.
THE ACADEMIC
Iveagh Gardens, Dublin July 20 0

The Westmeath indie rockers’ break-out year continues when the four-piece play their biggest headline show to date at Dublin’s stunning Iveagh Gardens. Emboldened by the success their number one album Tales From the Backseat, we feel the Academic – who also support the Stones at Croker – are only just reaching the peak of their powers.
BRITNEY SPEARS
3ARENA, Dublin August 20

Everyone’s favourite former Mouseketeer-turned-pop behemoth brings her record-breaking Britney: Piece Of Me tour to Dublin this August. Offering fans the chance to catch her legendary Las Vegas show on these shores for the first and only time, this promises to be quite the spectacle. Mr Worldwide himself Pitbull supports, adding even more star power to the event.
ARCTIC MONKEYS
3ARENA, Dublin September 24

At the time of writing, details on the band’s forthcoming opus Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino are intriguingly vague, but one thing we can count on is a face-melting performance at 3Arena from the returning indie rockers.