Words: Dylan Murphy
Good music and great food and drinks shouldn’t be mutually exclusive at festivals. With that in mind, Beyond The Pale has produced a tightly curated lineup featuring the best in both worlds for their inaugural edition. Ahead of the festival, we’ve put our heads together to list the 10 essential acts you can’t miss this summer. Tickets for Beyond The Pale are available from their website now.
It’s the first full festival season back in three years. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you are feeling a little out of shape or the concept of a weekend of live music and crowds seems completely alien.
Over the course of the pandemic, we got older, our interests evolved and we all examined what really matters most to us. With that in mind, Beyond The Pale arrives as a brand new offering on the Irish circuit. With only 5,000 tickets available and a sophisticated approach to curation alongside a god tier selection food and drink, it’s built for the heads that keep their ear to the ground but don’t want to compromise on the finer things in life.
Taking place in Glendalough Estate in Wicklow from Friday 10 June – Sunday 12, the festival marries naturalistic scenery with the best kind of music to soundtrack the settings. Ahead of the inaugural edition, we’ve lined up 10 acts, in no particular order that you can’t miss in Wicklow this summer.
As amazing as they were, we’re glad The Mary Wallopers aren’t restricted to livestreams anymore. Their DIY home performances were essential for us to keep our sanity during lockdown, but their shows in the flesh just hit different. Full-hearted folk music that speaks to the soul with the kind of chemistry that only comes with having a couple of blood relatives in the group, the trio are a must-see act this July.
It’d be easier to boil tea in a chocolate teapot than distill the brilliance of Shygirl into a blurb. A scan on Youtube will showcase songs like ‘Cleo’ that twists classical sounds into mainroom club heaters and ‘BDE’, a hyper-sexual future-rap cut which features slowthai. The point is, expect the unexpected with the London artist who is moulding the intersection of different sounds on her own terms.
Honestly, given his own production and varied taste, a Leon Vynehall set could differ on any given day. His 2018 album Nothing Is Still is a meditative and cohesive concept record that forgoes the dance floor. Elsewhere, he’s made jazzier club-infused cuts and even provided cinematic production for rappers like Wesley Joseph and he’s showed off his love of funk, hip hop and anything else that takes his fancy in sets. I guess the point we’re making is, while the UK artist is capable reading the room and shapeshifting appropriately.
When most of us can’t even be good at one thing, it’s even more impressive when someone is great at everything they try. Think Donald Glover. He featured in a sit com, was a writer for 30Rock, makes music as Childish Gambino and directs and acts in his own show Atlanta. Irish-Sierra Leoneon artist Loah, certainly falls into that category too. She played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican in London, has co-written with Hozier, collaborated with Dreamville’s Bas, reimagined 1920s poetry as brand new music and even worked on the frontline as a pharmacist during the pandemic. Expect nothing else than pop excellence this summer.
There’s no doubt, Beyond The Pale features a forward-facing lineup, but it’s always wise to get a healthy dose of experienced vets and there’s few better than Orbital. The duo have turned heads at Glastonbury, scored films and produced iconic tracks like ‘Belfast’ and ‘halcyon on and on‘ which have endured for three decades. For any doubters forecasting a predictable show after the pair’s lengthy career, just Youtube some of their improv live performances and get ready for a celestial set that takes the road-less-travelled at every opportunity.
Admiration for Four Tet stretches beyond genre boundaries. Whether it’s adding the final touches to a record with Madlib, collaborating with Burial or teaming up with Thom Yorke, the producer makes music that commands respect. And not the headsy, gatekeepy type either. It’s refined enough to soundtrack meditations, accessible enough that your dad won’t turn it off in the car and the sets go off. Catching him in the naturalistic settings of Glendalough Estate will be special.
Label head, podcaster, radio presenter… Jamz Supernova is a tastemaker that’s successfully spinning a lot of plates. However, it’s DJing where Jamz is really in her element. With an acclaimed Essential Mix under her belt, countless club shows and a decade’s worth of professional curation that glides between hip hop, funk, soul, electronic and just about anything that takes her fancy, her set at Beyond The Pale is set up to be special.
More often than not, looking an artist’s past collaborators is a good indicator of where they sit musically. For St. Lucia native, Poté, it checks out. Having worked with Kojey Radical and Damon Albarn, it’ll come as no surprise that he’s a shapeshifter that lives outside his comfort zone. Inspired by his heritage, his productions meld often atmospheric electronic sounds with percussion inspired by his heritage and his own unmistakable voice into the perfect music to get lost to.
London-based Irish singer and songwriter Carrie Baxter was raised on a diet of Norah Jones and Frank Sinatra before coming of age in the internet era and falling in love with hip hop. It means her music often sits in that sweet spot between neo-soul and golden era hip hop with her unmistakeable vocals gliding on top. If the sun comes out, this performance will be a guaranteed overdose of serotonin.
The comment section of Aoife Nessa Frances’ videos are largely filled with people expressing gratitude to whatever divine power pushed her music their way. The through line to all the participants in this very online thanksgiving of sorts seems to be that they found her songs when they needed them most. Whatever supernatural forces made it happen, they appear to also exist throughout her debut album Land Of No Junction. Coalescing with her sometimes cryptic, often earnest songwriting, it makes for act that promises to provide a one of a kind spiritual experience this summer at Beyond The Pale.
Tickets for Beyond The Pale are on sale now, click here to purchase.