Castlepalooza, August Bank Holiday Weekend 2013
Castlepalooza, now in its eighth year, is one of the more intimate festivals on the scene, situated in the lovely surroundings of Charleville Castle near Tullamore, with a capacity of about 2,500. Access to parts of the castle is allowed after a thorough welly cleansing from a friendly be-hi-vis'd gentleman. Nice place but the highlight was the two ginger kitties knocking around, exhausted from hours of attention and affection. The average age of the crowd seemed to be late twenties, perhaps a few years older than the crowds of competing festivals Oxegen and Indiependence. The food choices were a bit limited due to this, but a bit of the sting was taken out with the onsite off-license where you could purchase a slab of beer for the relatively reasonable price of €50. The onsite blackjack and poker tables were also a nice touch, even if the dealer won on a push, which was a bit cheeky. Campers could avail of Castle camping, which was right in the middle of the venue and a touch crowded, or Moat camping, just a 2 minute walk out of the grounds in a spacious field.
We showed up on Saturday afternoon, after a thorough inspection at the gate (there was a mountain of confiscated booze behind the security desk), just in time for the gentle croon of SOAK on the main stage, which was shrouded by a canopy of trees. She put on a good show but her delicate tunes would perhaps be better suited to a small dim nightclub over a festival.
After a brief stroll we happened upon Tig Linn, who combined elements of Irish and Nigerian music, rock, and funk, coupled to a driving beat. Cat Dowling was up next back on the main stage and she maintained the tempo with an energetic set full of bouncy songs and great stage presence. However, the highlight of Saturday, and the weekend for this reporter, was RSAG, whose quirky explosive sounds filled the tent and whipped the crowd up into one of the weekends more frenzied moments. Fans of Fight Like Apes and CSS enjoyed the headliners' spirited sets. A few DJ's kept the dedicated partiers up until the wee hours, wrapping it about about four if memory serves correctly.
Sunday brought a slightly larger crowd and perfect weather. Little Bear was the first band of note on the day, their gentle beautiful songs shook out the cobwebs from the previous night and setting the stage for a big day filled with great acts. Halves put on one of the best performances of the weekend, their dreamy synthy light show drawing one of the larger crowds for the second stage. VANN Music were a bit too cool for school, their 80's inspired snyth-pop energetic but lacking in originality. Capping off the weekend was a vicious one-two punch in the form of And So I Watch You From Afar and Le Galaxie, two of the most exciting bands on the Irish music scene at the moment. The crowd responded well to the raucous rock of ASIWYFA before Le Galaxie got everyone dancing with their catchy, stomping sounds.
Overall the consensus among patrons seemed to be highly positive. Castlepalooza is the best value for money on the Irish festival scene at 50 Euro in with three days camping. Definitely one to keep your eye on for next year.
Review by Shane Fitzgerald
Story by entertainment.ie | 15:33 | Friday 2nd August 2013 | Live Reviews