This weekend, the Beatyard returns to Dún Laoghaire harbour after a very successful debut in 2015. It has already got bigger and better in its second year; featuring a great line up and plenty of new attractions.
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Boney M, George Clinton, Roy Ayers, Jape, Rubberbandits, Theo Parrish and many others star on a stellar musical bill of fare, while Eatyard, Gamesyard, Banteryard and Studioyard will diversify the entertainment on offer and provide a wide range of food and refreshing craft beer to wash it down.
The Beatyard is a good news story for lots of reasons. The Festival of World Cultures hasn’t taken place in at least five years and Stena Line left Dún Laoghaire harbour last summer. So you have a seaside town without a music festival and a ferry route and a vast site that is lying idle. Enter the Bodytonic crew with a brilliant idea and even better execution.
Last year, the inaugural event reminded me a little bit of the Parc Del Forum in Barcelona that hosts Primavera, so when Laurence Mackin said as much in his review in The Irish Times and wrote: “The festival has the look and feel of a grown-up European event, akin to Barcelona’s Primavera,” I felt like I hadn’t gone completely mad. The more I think about it, the more music festivals should take place by the seaside rather than the middle of nowhere miles inland.
Good food is also an essential ingredient of a modern festival and Beatyard do it better than most with a wide range of local produce at a very reasonable price. You’d think food and drink options have generally improved at festivals and concerts, but I was reminded that we’re still sometimes in the dark ages at the Beyoncé concert in Croke Park. I was starving, but couldn’t eat anything on sale apart from chips. They didn’t even have any fish on offer, just extortionate and disgusting looking burgers and hot dogs, which is completely useless to a pesco-vegetarian, vegetarian or vegan. In 2016, that’s simply not good enough.
This year’s Beatyard also stands out for Banteryard; an exciting spoken word project that Bodytonic and journalist Jim Carroll have been running for years. Blindboy Boatclub from Rubberbandits will be in conversation with Jim about art, politics, surreality, Limerick, sex, fish fingers, music, religion, health, fashion and other pertinent matters, while there are a host of other discussions and panels.
The Beatyard 2016 promises to be one of the weekends of the summer, and it’s absolutely fantastic that Dún Laoghaire is finally hosting a major festival again.
You can view the times for the weekend and buy tickets here. Site map, directions and transport links are all below.