Bulmers Forbidden Fruit 2015

Forbidden Fruit

Bulmers Forbidden Fruit 2015 – Review by Frances Winston

Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

Friday May 29th

The opening night of weekend festivals can be a bit hit and miss. As the gates open later the atmosphere doesn’t usually reach the frenzied heights that it does at the full days and the crowd are generally more subdued many off them having been working earlier in the day. Pair that with a somewhat stripped back line up and it seems that anyone attending the Friday night of these festivals draws the short straw. Unless of course you have a superstar DJ as your headliner that is!

BFF is one of the more chilled out festivals and the emphasis is very much on dance, electronic and hip hop rather than the guitar based fare that is usual at festivals. It’s a formula that works with organizers forced to expand the size of all the tents this year to accommodate the crowds piling in to see acts.

Personally the comedy tent has always been a highlight for me as they draw some huge names but it wasn’t open for the first night of the festival so instead I floated between the Original Stage and the Undergrowth Tent taking in parts of the sets from Disciples, Mark Knight and Kowton. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed and not the usual madness you associate with festivals. However there was excitement bubbling throughout the evening for the main headliner – Mr Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim.

Fatboy needs no introduction. The superstar DJ regularly fills prestigious clubs around the world and his Brighton Beach shows have become the stuff of legend. Anyone who thinks that watching someone mix tracks for ninety minutes is boring has clearly never seen a DJ of this calibre. Cook gets fully involved in experience dancing along and encouraging the crowd to go crazy. A backdrop of clever videos adds another element to the performance and from the opening he never let the pace slip. I’m not sure if anyone else was watching other acts during his set as everyone seemed to gravitate towards the Original Stage.

My only complaint would be that the strict running time didn’t allow for an encore despite the fact that the crowd were chanting for more. Although the night was somewhat more subdued than you would expect from a festival everybody left happy and there was a great atmosphere as people spilled out of the venue many of them singing their favourite Fatboy song.

Saturday 30th May

As expected the Saturday had a completely different atmosphere to the opening night of the event. the gates opened at 2pm and people were already in extremely high spirits by then. It is amazing how the prospect of a long weekend affects people’s mood.

There was a far bigger line up for this day given the longer running time and is impossible to take in everything so I found that I was getting snippets of various performers. The Comedy Tent was open which was a real bonus and Eric Lalor and Fred Cooke were definite stand outs. Although I only caught a few minutes of headliner David McSavage he did seem to be going down well which was good as he can be like Marmite sometimes.

Musically there was plenty on offer. The Live Live stage is a new addition this year and sees up and coming bands get a chance to perform and there was some real talent on offer here. Blooms in particular made an impression although people tended to float in here in between the big names on other stages rather than committing to seeing any one act.

The Booka Brass Band probably would have played this stage a year ago but their reputation has grown so much in the past 12 months that they made the Original Stage. This Dublin based eight piece group are really making waves and have a huge energy behind their performances. Although the venue was not yet packed when they took to the stage at 3.15 pm they still garnered huge attention from the crowd who can usually be fickle that early in the day. They are definitely one to watch and if you see their shows advertised you should check them out. They will completely change your perception of wind instruments!

Later in the day I was torn between Groove Armada who were doing a DJ set in the Undergrowth Stage and the Original Stage headliners Wu Tang Clan so I did what any good festival goer would do and flitted between the two. They actually did seems to be vying for popularity as many people seemed to have the same idea I did. both were amazing and crowd pleasing as you would expect from acts of this calibre. However, Fatboy was a hard act to follow from the previous night and I’m not sure they quite managed to top him.

All in all it was a wonderfully chilled out day without the messiness usually associated with festivals. The crowd really did seem to be there for the music and the atmosphere was electric. BFF seem to have found a winning formula and it will be interesting to see how they top it next year.

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