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Music / August 12, 2021

The essential guide to Meadows Festival

Saint Sister by Ellius Grace
Music / August 12, 2021

The essential guide to Meadows Festival

Words: Dylan Murphy

Next weekend Royal Hospital Kilmainham opens its doors to festival-goers for the all-Irish takeover across six shows.

The summer isn’t over yet and Meadows Festival has come in clutch with a huge lineup of all Irish talent as part of a specially designed open-air summer series of live music, performance and spoken word. Taking place across three days at the historic setting of IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham which has also hosted Forbidden Fruit in the past, the programme focuses on supporting talent from every corner of the country that has been through the wringer in the last 18 months.

Across six shows that span indie, folk, soul and pop and with two live podcasts under the umbrella of ‘All Curious Minds’ the festival will showcase a host of acts that until now, many of us have only been able to enjoy virtually from our own homes.

Tickets are available for groups of 4 and 6 and are available here.

Ahead of the festival, we’ve created a guide to the different acts performing across the weekend and the essential bits for you to know.

Friday Matinee (Gates 16.00)

After the year we’ve had, we’re all in need of a little escapism and Friday afternoon at Meadows Festival has two of Ireland’s most creative storytellers on standby to whisk you away.

David Keenan crafts stories with a uniquely Irish sense of dark humour and an original approach to songwriting that centres lived experience in everything he does. Earlier this summer, he released his latest single ‘Bark’ hinting towards the sound of his forthcoming album which lands this October via Rubyworks. Fingers crossed he teases what he has in store.

Elsewhere in the afternoon, Choice Prize-nominated singer Niamh Regan takes the stage with her distinctive melodies and homespun songwriting. While she’s earned countless comparisons to a host of other celebrated singers, following the success of her own album Hemet she’s established herself as an accomplished performer in her own right. Ahead of the weekend, peep her performance on The Late Late Show, you won’t be disappointed.

Friday Evening (Gates 19.30)

Just Mustard’s brand of forward-facing noise rock pulls influence from everything from electronic to shoegaze and having made a splash with their debut album Wednesday, the Dundalk five piece have primed themselves for a global take over having signed to Partisan Records where they’ll join Fontaines D.C. and IDLES.

They play the evening show with one of 2021’s Irish breakout artists John Francis Flynn. Having recorded and played with Lankum before taking the plunge and releasing his own solo music, the folk artist has been catching looks for his stunning debut album I Would Not Live Always.  

If you are looking for that visceral music experience you’ve been missing for over a year, Friday evening’s showcase is exactly what the doctor ordered/

A little taster of what is in store.

Saturday Matinee (Gates 16.00)

Saturday afternoon’s show has, unsurprisingly, sold out, but if you were lucky enough to nab tickets you are in for a treat.

In the past two years, CMAT has consistently married modern pop sensibilities with an endearing country twang and subsequently, she’s on course to challenge Lil Nas X for the title of the best in the wild west. Armed with humour, cowboy memes and a serious pen game it’s one of the only opportunities this year to catch her Diet Baby EP live in Ireland.

We’re big fans of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series and one of the best we’ve laid our eyes on is that of Irish duo Saint Sister. The pair weave soul-cleansing melodies through layered synths and the kind of harp playing that makes the world stop still for a moment. With the release of their sophomore album Where I Should End, it feels as though the duo are truly in their stride and what better time to catch them live than in the setting of Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

Saturday Afternoon

For us, the live conversation moderated by Donal Fallon on Saturday afternoon is a dark horse for the event of the weekend.

‘A Sense of Place’ features a host of people who have been essential in pushing Irish culture forward in the past 20 years including Radie Peat of 2019 Choice Prize Winners Lankum who also hosted a whopper NTS Radio show with Katie Kim back in April, David Balfe aka For Those I Love, who is a favourite for the next edition of the Choice Prize after the re-release of his heart-wrenching debut album, Craig Walker of Dublin rockers Power of Dreams, author and 2016 winner of Women’s Prize for fiction Lisa McInerney and Paul Page of Whipping Boy.

Saturday Evening (Gates 19.30)

A Lazarus Soul and Lisa O’Neill are set to take the stage respectively on Saturday night.

Ahead of the show peep Lisa’s video for ‘Rock The Machine’.

Sunday Matinee (Gates 16:00)

Having already performed and reimagined the work of Ólafur Arnalds, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Joni Mitchell & Aphex Twin, Dublin based music ensemble Glasshouse return to the capital. They’ll rework and perform the music of Favid Bowie and Kate Bush alongside some very special guests.

Sunday Afternoon

More podcasting goodness on Sunday afternoon courtesy of none other than Blindboy Boatclub as he welcomes film-maker, Jim Sheridan, for a conversation.

Sunday Evening (Gates 19.30)

Sunday evening will see Glasshouse return to close out proceedings, this time reworking the music of none other than the legendary Prince and Joni Mitchell.

Tickets are priced from €19.10 per person subject to service fees and are available here.