Irish music festivals: Dying out or changing up?

Since the Longitude hip hop line up was released in early 2018, thousands have taken to the internet to express their disappointment and feelings of disassociation with today’s youth and sound.

Long gone are the days of guitars, quiet voices and bangos (I’m looking at you Mumford and Sons ).

Longitude went from embracing the slow melodies of Ben Howard and Bon Iver in 2012 to the rap tunes of Travis Scott and Post Malone in 2018. Enthusiastically welcomed by many young listeners, are these music festivals excluding older listeners and therefore their popularity?

As interest goes, Irish festivals have come under scrutiny in regards to their safety, binge drinking and drug intake, not to mention people’s overspending.

In a 2017 survey done by The Irish Times it was estimated that Irish adults will spend €253 million on festivals this year, with 60 per cent admitting that they spend way too much on these events. Expenses include accommodation, tents, food and alcohol.

As EU toppers of young binge drinking, no one can dispute our country has a problem. In festival season, with thousands of people together enjoying the music, drinking can get out of control and cause some serious damage.

Drugs has been another epidemic that has made its name through extensive usage in musical festivals across the country. However, this occurrence is nothing new.

In 2012, The Irish Examiner reported the death of a young woman after taking one ecstasy tablet at an Electric Picnic festival. Following this, a 20 year old man died after taking bad tablets at the festival in 2013.

In response, Electric Picnic since last year has offered drug advice to attendees to prevent overdose, the spread of bad batches of drugs and for general safety. This is a welcomed change that could improve the issue, but it is concerning that such a step needed to be taken.

Reverting back to the beginning, are music festivals dying out? It would be a dramatic ‘no’. Festivals have genuinely always appealed to the younger youth and their music tastes. Years past, it would have been angst, adolescent guitars and musicians blaring down the microphones.

Now it is hip-hop, a possibly more niche music type than previously lined up by the festivals, but there is no doubt thousands will still be there, glitter in their hair and rhythmic beats in their ears, to show their love for the genre.

Safety should be a priority for all attending, both for you and those around you. For a brochure on how to stay safe during a festival visit http://nwdrugtaskforce.ie.

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