So this guy playing a full size base cello falls off the stage into a crowd of music nuts. The music nuts carry him high above their heads into the middle of the crowd…and he figures..keep playing.
Gay pride at Sunflowerfest.
Gay pride at Sunflowerfest.

This was probably the iconic moment of this little gem of a music festival called ‘Sunflowerfest‘. Although the set by the ‘Twisted Sisters’ ran a close second as the stage was invaded by the LGBT crowd to great applause and laughter by all present as the photo above proves.

Ireland has a few music festivals, some very large and important on the commercial music scene, others not so much.At first glance this local music festival is just another ‘Wannabe Glastonbury‘. After our third visit I can tell you it’s much more than that.

Set in farmlands just outside Belfast and Lisburn, the peaceful lush green fields of Co.Down swell this time of year with thousands of music lovers, festival virgins and everyone in between. And I mean everyone! 

In fact the only people who would look out-of-place here would be those afraid to be themselves.

Dirt, rain, sun, loud music, men in skirts, women playing football with men in skirts, children in face paint, gays, straights, Christians, atheists, blacks, whites, eccentrics, artistic, talented, ‘has-beens’ & ‘wannabees’, old people and young people…you will find all here!

A bright welcome!
A bright welcome! If you  just landed in your spacecraft from a far off planet and landed here…no one would notice you.

My personal musical highlights include the great solo acoustic rendition of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’  on the Pond stage. I think the musician’s name was ‘Owen Denvir’ but I may be wrong.

The enthralling  sets in the Barn stage by ‘Hot Cops’ and ‘Green Monkey’ went down a treat. The Barn stage tends to deliver the loudest of the groups including those ‘thrash metal’ maniacs.

The guitarist led performance of Irish Rock group ‘Preachers Son’ on the main stage was also great. The lead guitarist had all the skill and swagger of Keith Richards…and a killer red guitar too.

Seriously good vibes on all stages.
Seriously good vibes on all stages.

Also noteworthy were the performances by ‘Twisted Sisters‘ (not really my cup of tea musically but a great crowd pleasing set nonetheless). I particularly liked the way the crazy lead singer, well into her fifth  decade in age, warned the crowd in-between her constant  ‘f-ing & blinding’, that the next song was particularly colourful and not for kids. She wasn’t lying, as a great lesson in sex education followed!

The kids fitting right in with theirs face paint.
The kids fitting right in with their face paint.

The camp sites are fun and safe for kids. We stayed in the family site away from the singles’ and young-ones’ site.  It did sound good fun down there though, bringing me back to my ‘Trip to Tip’ days. Security is well ran and organised. Twice our boys lost the walkie-talkie that they have to keep in touch with us as they roamed the place, and twice security found it (the Wilkie-talkie).

The atmosphere was fantastic and fun. There seemed to be a strong hint of something  not common to these parts in the air too…but I’m not sure what that could have been???  People seemed really, really happy though. Particularly the group of ‘flower people’ happily dancing barefoot with the biggest permanent smiles on their little happy faces.

The Barn Stage
The Barn Stage

The organisers try to diversify in their choice of headline acts, with one night quite dance orientated, the next quite rocky, and the last night delivered an all in crowd pleaser with ‘Skinny Lister‘. Imagine Mumford and Sons, The Pogues and the Proclaimers all rolled into one…and that’s what you got . Queue the madness!

This is when the Base Cello player went crowd surfing by the way. I never would have thought it possible but hey…thems  the rockin roll moments for you hope to end a festival with right!

All in, it was a great event and hopefully the sun will shine on it next year.

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Over for another year.

 

 

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