Over the past three years I have dragged my weary body to every festival across the country. And sadly I have not got blasé nor cool about it. I get completely giddy and suffer from near panic attacks on my way there, almost collapsing into a heap from hyper activity before midnight. And then I inevitably get high on festival good spirits and carry on through to the following morning. But this was my first time at Castlepalooza. Let me preface by saying that festival-going is one of the most mercurial and subjective activities one can engage in. You can be with the same group of people all night and have completely contradictory and different experiences. It’s a mysterious beast. But Castlepalooza was one of the best festival experiences I’ve had and here’s why –
- Small but mighty – We got to the festival on Saturday evening and at the entrance immediately bumped into several of our friends, which quickly became an avalanche. All unplanned. It’s a very small venue and makes for effortless fun. What’s more, it takes about two minutes to move between the different stages and areas, which eliminates that insane trudging-through-mud-for-hours phenomenon one experiences at most other festivals.
- No superstars – But so many heroes (CSS, Young Wonder, Lil Dave, Ships, Cymbals, Daithi, Frank B, ASIWYFA, RSAG). So we were happy to just drift. It’s so much more enjoyable to not have to get stressed about making a certain act at a certain time. Homebeat in the castle itself gets a special shout-out for being so gentle with me on Sunday.
- Cleanest loos – Cleaners were in the toilets on a very regular basis, and there was always toilet paper and soap by the sinks. For once I left a festival knowing I wouldn’t have nightmares in the weeks to come.
- Mr Whippy Soundsystem at 4:30 am – Music ended and inevitably the sadness began to rise within me. As I stumbled about in the plastic cups, the morning mist rising around me and with my lower lip beginning to tremble, there emerged on the horizon Mr Whippy Soundsystem. After imploring ‘the dude’ to play us all some music he passed his headphones out to me through the window and played what I can only describe as an amazing track – perfect for where I was, and I stood dancing on my own in the mud for what seemed hours but must’ve been ten minutes. No judging. It was late.
- The castle and the dirty rascals – Another gem of the festival was the story of the two guys who scaled the castle at around 6 on Sunday morning, only to have a panic attack at the top. They were saved by a long ladder and a team of extremely angry security guards, and immediately expelled. Priceless.
Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna