Well, it appears we may have spoken too soon when we spoke of the newfound dry weather which made Saturday’s Sea Sessions so enjoyable. The heavens opened once more yesterday and washed a considerable amount of festival revellers into the nearby Bundoran pubs making the site appear more like a ghost town than a summer festival. The more seasoned festival regulars, though, stuck it out and were duly rewarded with some fine musical performances.
Frank & Walters, all wearing matching suits and ties, were the first band with the unenviable task of cheering up a rain-soaked crowd who had retreated to the cover of main tent. Their brand of happy-chappy pop/rock and an admirable enthusiasm did go some way to helping the crowd put our waterlogged clothes to the back of our mind and get back into the festival spirit.
The very large sounds of Windings were the next act that Entertainment.ie treated ourselves to. Steve Ryan and his band have been gaining momentum as of late and this was shown as the smaller of the two Sea Sessions tents was filled with people trying to catch an earful. It was at this point too that the rain began to recede, the pubs emptied and people began to brave the cold and the mud, but at this point no one really cared about getting a little dirty.
Cork’s Fred were the next act on the main stage. Having long been a well-kept secret, the band has recently traded the ‘word of mouth’ next big thing tag to actually being played every day on national radio – and rightfully so. Fred are a very polished pop act and have a keenly developed sense of how to construct an engaging pop tune, using all the different elements of the band. This also translates to a live setting where they shone over some of their bigger name bands that had taken to the same stage on the previous two days.
Next up was Niamh Farrell (not the Ham Sandwich one, the other one) and her band The Danger Is who has been the subject of some considerable praise in the Irish press for here delicately constructed songs and, most of all, her soaring singing voice. Her four track EP was released earlier this year and, judging by the bobbing heads and the lips mouthing the lyrics, it has already made an impact on fans of Irish music.
Finally, up on the main stage once more, arguably the biggest name of the festival took to the stage – Ziggy Marley – and, wow, the family resemblance is striking, If you squint your eyes just enough you’d think it was the ghost of his father standing up there, and even more so when he played some of the songs from his Bob’s repertoire, like a pristine version of ‘Stir It Up’. Those in the audience unfamiliar with Ziggy’s music will not be surprised that it’s classic reggae which he deals in, but that’s not to say that he trades off his famous family name alone – there’s a lot more to him than that.
That brought the 2011 Sea Sessions festival to a close. Even if the weather was slightly less than ideal, there is no real fault that can be laid at the organisers. It was an intimate festival, but organised well and with audience enjoyment at the centre of its thinking. Here’s to 2012!