Body & Soul has carved a pretty significant niche for itself since its debut festival in2009. Regular attendees will attest to the fact that the Body & Soul area at Electric Picnic is among the highlights of Ireland's most popular summer festival, so when the idea was conceived to transplant the bespoke musical performances and artistic installations from Stradbally to a home of its own in Co Westmeath, it seemed to be a no-brainer.
As the years have trundled on, Body & Soul has grown up from the underdog festival it was in 2009 and is now one of the more heavyweight fixtures on Ireland's festival schedule. The acts have gotten bigger, too. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are a draw anywhere in the world. James Murphy, the genius behind LCD Soundsystem, is among the world's most sought after DJs and PiL's John Lydon was in the bloody Sex Pistols, for god's sake.
Here are five things which we recommend doing at this year's Body & Soul festival.
Go see James Murphy's DJ set on Friday night
James Murphy, as we mentioned above, is the creative mind behind LCD Soundsystem and the co-founder of DFA Records. Having put LCD out to pasture a couple of years ago, Murphy is dividing his time as a DJ, managing his label and some high profile record production jobs, including the upcoming Arcade Fire album. Don't expect to hear any LCD Soundsystem during his set; while that would absolutely bring the house down, Murphy has moved on to other creative endeavours.
There's a Knowles playing
Don't expect Beyonce 2.0 if you're going to check out Queen Bey's little sister Solange this weekend. While definitely armed with as ferocious a set of pipes, Solange is a little more chilled-out, a little more indie but every bit as talented as her sibling. Comparisons are hard to avoid but Solange is the first to deny any level of competition between the two, saying that they have different goals as musicians. Beyonce played Oxegen, Solange is playing Body & Soul and that seems just about right to us.
It's a foodies dream
The sheer array of culinary treats on show at Body & Soul mirrors the eclectic nature of the festival's line-up. There will be something on hand to satisfy every taste, but we suggest opting for some of the more rustic options on hand. Veggies will be heavily catered for too, as you might expect, with the stall from The Happy Pear well worth numerous visits.
You get to see Nick Cave
Nick Cave playing beside a golf course in Westmeath? Count us in! One of music's more enigmatic performers and, in our opinion at least, one of the last true iconic figures in rock n' roll Nick Cave arrests your attention when you see him live and doesn't let go until that final glimpse you catch when he walks off stage at the end of his set. We can't wait.
There's all manner of art, all over the gaff
One of the most fun things you can do in Body & Soul is to just go for a walk around the site and see who or what you bump into. An incredible amount of thought has gone in to every area of the festival and the festival's level of artistry is what sets it apart from a few of the more drab stage/bars/toilets festivals that we have in this country. Everywhere you look there is something that will catch your eyes and ears, all you have to do is show up.
Meanwhile, have a gander at Steve Mogerley's rather wonderful Body & Soul video to get you in the mood. Yeow!