The Body&Soul Festival, now in its third year, exploded on to the summer scene in 2010 with its inaugural weekend at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath.
This unique Irish festival is viewed as the must-attend event of 2012, due to its colourful versatility with equal attention afforded to its signature nooks and crannies, as to the line-up itself.
Previously a two-day event, The Body&Soul Festival will open this year on Friday June 22 evening for the first time, giving festival-goers the opportunity to set up camp and descend into the woodlands - where the magic and mischief begins!
Taking place over the June summer solstice weekend, revellers can once again experience the labyrinth of stone-walled gardens, get lost along the winding pathways, tangled up in the woodlands, or escape to the lakeside Zen Gardens - with over 30 therapists on hand to pamper their Body&Soul.
The usual sensory seduction is on offer with a mix of indie, electronic, and acoustic acts, artisan foods, chilled cocktails, holistic therapies, green crafts, a secluded Soul Kids garden, art installations, bubbling hot tubs in the forest, and a sleeveful of exciting surprises.
Finally, Body&Soul’s flamboyant Saturday Night Masquerade Ball - now an annual event, will see festival goers slip into costume; don a mask; and dance, incognito, under the stars.
The musical line-up for this year’s Body&Soul does not disappoint. The festival is all about getting away from mundane radio playlists and experiencing new and varied acts in a magical setting.
The first group of acts confirmed show that Body&Soul travels a different path to other festivals, embraces the alternative and left of centre, and embodies a wide range of styles and sounds.
Conor O’Brien’s Villagers perform at Ballinlough. The Ivor Novello-winning artist will bring his beautifully fragile folk songs to the woodland venue, while on a different tip M83 aka French producer Anthony Gonzales will perform the infectious saxophone-tinged electro of songs like Midnight City.
Anne Erin Clark’s St Vincent project has become a byword for left of centre pop and will bring the quirky sound of her Strange Mercy album to Ballinlough, as well as new songs like Krokodil and Grot.
Little Dragon follow in a long line of electronic bands from Sweden - The Field performed at last year’s Body&Soul - and the foursome’s melodic songs are the ideal soundtrack to Ballinlough’s sun-kissed fields.
On a more uptempo note are Shangaan Electro, whose bizarre but brilliant mixture of African folk and high-paced electro found a home on Damon Albarn’s Honest Jon’s label - where they were remixed by underground luminaries like Shake, Actress, and Demdike Stare - while Gold Panda provides a more introspective sound with his deep, electronic grooves.
Barcelona’s John Talabot, who has just released his blissed-out house debut album Fin, is one of the dance highlights, while Redinho from Glasgow’s on-point Nmbrs label will kick out the electro-funk jams.
London label Ninja Tune has two acts performing. Representing the new school is Emika, the Berlin-based sonic experimentalist who has worked with Berghain’s Marcel Dettmann and last year put out her debut, self-titled label on Ninja.
The Herbaliser represents the Ninja old guard and expect Jake Wherry and Ollie Trattles to drop an entertaining blend of breaks and beats.
Meanwhile, Meteor Music-nominated Irish act Tieranniesaur will be bringing their catchy punk funk to Ballinlough and Dublin producer Kormac will be at the controls to direct festival favourite Kormac’s Big Band, an 11-piece orchestra featuring drums, double bass, barbershop quartet, trumpet, clarinet, and banjo - as well as decks and samplers - that perform his tunes live.
There’s more to come. No boundaries. Enjoy!
The festival runs from June 22-24. For more information log on to www.bodyandsoul.ie