As the official ‘Surf Bus’ pulled into Bundoran town amidst the howling wind and rain, it seemed as though Sea Sessions had been the latest victim of that familiar plague of Irish music festivals – the weather. Some who defiantly wore shorts in spite of the prohibitive weather forecasts lugged waterlogged sleeping bags towards the campsite with the prospect of setting up a tent in torrential rain clearly on the forefront of their minds. But the Irish festivalgoer is a hardy character and it takes weather of more biblical proportions to interrupt the good times (see: Oxegen 2009) even if, in the interest of full disclosure, it must be noted that this report is being written from the comfort and warmth of a hotel room.
Arriving at the festival site as O Emperor took to the stage, thankfully under the cover of a big tent, the band played a set of songs comprised from their acclaimed album Hither Thither. O Emperor proved popular with the Sea Sessions revellers in attendance, but the lack of crowd numbers suggested that some festivalgoers were satisfied staying inside the warm confines of the local pub, electing to wait out the worst of the weather.
Sadly, and despite wishful thinking, there is no Pie Minister on site but the food supplied by the festival is generally good and a chickpea curry was munched down after which Entertainment.ie brought a coffee along to witness the rock and roll offerings of Dublin’s The Minutes, who won over the expectant crowd almost immediately.
Next up over on the main stage was Conor O’Brien and his Villagers, whose gravelly baritone (speaking) voice suggested that this seemingly never-ending tour is having some effect, but O’Brien’s singing voice was unaffected. O’Brien has developed an ability to extend the intimacy of his music to large crowds, a knack which is often unattainable to some. A few new songs were interspersed in the set, but it was centrepieces of his album Becoming A Jackal, such as The Meaning of the Ritual, Ship of Promises and the title-track itself, which drew the largest roars of approval from the Sea Sessioners.
By now it was midnight and the rain had eased off significantly. The party was continuing on until the wee hours of the night but eventually Entertainment.ie decided it best to call it a night and save some energy for Saturday’s festivities. We hear the sun might even come out today. We can but hope.