Body&Soul Review – Friday 17/06/16
Body&Soul returned on Friday night with another trip to the beautiful confines of Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath. The first thing that really gets you about the festival is the scale of the event. The festival boasts 14 stages, which vary in size from the main stage, which can have thousands of viewers at a given time, to the smaller gazebo style stages lost in the middle of the forest and playing to a couple of hundred viewers, at best. It can take 20 minutes to walk from the main stage to one of the more remote areas, such as the Lighthouse Cinema stage. The whole thing sprawls and is just dying to be explored.
One of the first acts I saw was the impressively named Bitch Falcon at the Midnight Circus stage, the second biggest stage of the event. They are a Dublin based three piece who started things off with a bang. It was possibly due to the early stage time on a Friday, but the crowd seemed really up for it.
Another Irish band Basciville were first up on the main stage, quickly followed by BadBadNotGood from Toronto. They are basically a jazz band, but are known for their interpretations of hip hop tracks and also their collaborations with Rap artists such as Tyler the Creator and Ghostface Killah.
The smaller stages all attract sizeable crowds, and the audience by no means stays at the main stage for the bigger names on the bill. Some people seem happy to spend their time with friends and more or less ignore the music. As one Garda I spoke to said ‘There’s a good vibe here’ and he wasn’t wrong. The Lighthouse Stage is a great spot for a break when your legs start to tire. The area is used for Yoga during the day, but at night it converts into a cinema and Labyrinth played on Friday night, possibly in tribute to David Bowie. You’ll have seen all the movies they show but they’re classics and you can dip in and out.
The Gloaming were the unusual choice for headliners on the night. The last time I saw them play was at the National Concert Hall, and they’re by no means an obvious festival band. The are a collection of hugely impressive musicians though and they seemed to love playing in front of the vast crowd. The last act of the day was another Irish act in Girl Band. It’s great to see Irish bands taking the main stage and deserving to be there. The main stage closed at this point, but revellers continued into the early hours, lost in a forest…