The regal N3 rolled out ahead of us and disappeared into a bulging, grey cloud as we traversed to Ballinlough Castle, the venue of the Body and Soul Festival. Loaded with tents, wellies, Capri Suns and Buckfast in plastic bottles, we reassured ourselves that it will be grand. We live in one of the wettest countries in the world, sure it wouldn't do us any harm.
The already wet and slightly slushy grounds were met with further showers on Saturday and the footsteps of thousands of people lugging baggage and booze around all in the name of having a great time. And, God bless our souls, we certainly know how to make the best out of a bad situation. It was my first time to attend Body and Soul and the rumours of its magic had been spread across the country. "Unlike any other festival" was one line that was thrown about a few times by die-hard Body and Soulers and they were right. As a branch-out from the almighty Electric Picnic festival, Body and Soul has got heart and it is pumped by the people that attend it.
The line-up was undoubtedly superb. With Django Django, Tieranniesaur, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Reid, Donal Dineen, M83, SertOne and John Talabot dotted out across the day and night, there was a constant delivery of high-quality acts as opposed to "the later they're on, the better they are" scheduling a lot of festivals tend to follow. M83 completely stole the show on Sunday night. They took to the stage just as the much sought-after sunshine was slinking away for the night and songs like 'Couleurs', 'Steve McQueen' and the unexpected Tron Legacy remixed track, 'Fall', propelled the crowd further into the zone we name 'good times'. 'Midnight City' caused the crowds to almost or completely lose the plot, particularly when that famous sax solo kicked in.
The Saturday consisted of rain and mud and the Sunday was a stunning example of a brief Irish summer, making the two days entirely different festivals. While the fliuch Saturday functioned as a festival, it was the sunny Sunday that cemented it as a truly fantastic festival. It begs the question, why can't we, the residents of this drizzly country, come up with temporary pathways to combat mud? It's about time that someone provided a solution so that we can differentiate between the beginnings of the muck and the endings of the port-a-loos. Muck, much like glitter (one of the biggest elements of Body and Soul 2012), is impossible to wash off.
The family-friendly aspect of this festival meant that elven kids of all ages were running circles around the usual festival heads. While the kids were provided with many realms of wonderful entertainment, it was worth noting that the raised platform for wheelchair users, and anyone else that needed solid ground, was placed one foot off the ground at the very back of the main area. This meant that if anyone taller than five foot were to stand in front of the platform, the view was entirely blocked. For future Body and Soul festivals, it would be great if the organisers gave as much consideration to those seated at lower level as they did to those who have yet to have a growth spurt.
Even if the rain did wash away most of the crowd's face paint, it certainly didn't dampen any spirits. Body and Soul is above your average festival but all hats must be tipped to the attendees, whose bodies may have been in bits on Monday morning but whose souls are certainly more fulfilled.
- Louise Bruton