This year, Castlepalooza music and arts festival took place in Charleville Castle, Tullamore from July 31st to August 2nd, and what an amazing weekend it was.
Having previously been described as the “overall best festival” by the Irish Independent, I had high expectations for Castlepalooza. As the fourth festival I’ve attended this summer, it had a lot to be compared to. On their official website, they say “We promise you great music; merriment; magic; madness and mind-blowing memories” which is exactly what we got.
I had contemplated giving Castlepalooza a miss this year, saving up for college hadn’t exactly been going very well. But when I won four VIP tickets with boutique camping, as well as a festival makeover on Ireland AM, I’d have been a fool to say no. After my television debut (which I could definitely get used to) being made fabulous for the festival, it was time to head off to Tullamore.
Because we’d won boutique camping, me and my friends got to stay in a 4×4 metre tipi, with a carpeted interior as well as air mattresses. Boutique camping usually works out around €33 per person per night, and if you have the money I’d definitely recommend it. Your festival experience is heightened knowing that you’re coming home to a big spacious tent – it was a lot better than trying to squeeze two girls and a six foot two lad into a two man pop up tent, which is what we had to do at Knockanstockan!
The festival site was a two minute walk from the campsite, and everything was close by. Although there wasn’t a huge amount of clothes stalls, the one that was there had a great variety of clothes, hats and wigs – what more could you want? At the Inticraft stall , the staff were helpful and friendly, and I’ll definitely buying some more festival gear off them at Electric Picnic.
We preferred to take a break from drinking during the day, and used our time to explore what else Charleville Castle had to offer. My favourite activity was definitely the mask painting, it brought out the inner four year old in just about everyone, and I don’t think I’ve concentrated on something as much since my leaving cert! As well as that you could make flower crowns, both of which were free. All you had to do was make a donation to the Berkeley fund if you could, which everyone was more than happy to help with. There were drum workshops, burlesque and yoga classes throughout the three days too.
When it came to food you were spoiled for choice, from Thai dishes to the ever popular curry cheese chips, there was something to suit everyone. After a weekend that consisted mainly of beer and Home Fries’ potatoes, I for one am a little scared to step on the weighing scales.
Speaking of beer, that was the one thing that left me a little miffed at Castlepalooza. You weren’t allowed to bring in your own alcohol, but we were reassured that there’d be an off license on site and that they’d have great offers on at the bar. How very, very misleading. Their “off license” only sold two types of beer (San Miguel and Bavaria) as well as Dan Kelly’s Cider. These could only be bought in packs of 12 or 24, and the price? €50 for 24 cans of beer, and a whopping €70 for the equivalent of 24 cans of cider (twelve one litre bottles). And if you wanted to buy a bottle of wine at the bar, you were forking out another €23. Trying my luck to sneak in a naggin or two seems very appealing for next year…
And the most important part of any festival? The music! Music can really make or break the weekend and Castlepalooza had an unbelievable variety of genres. My personal favourites from the weekend were April Towers, Elephant, I Have A Tribe and of course Fight Like Apes who really stole the show. With more chilled out tunes during the day and dance music blaring until all hours at night, they got the balance perfect this year.
One thing that I feel obliged to mention having spent 50% of my time there, is the Bavaria Bierhaus Tent. For house and techo lovers this tent was absolute bliss, and my legs are in serious pain from all the dancing I did there at the weekend. Sectioning off a tent specifically for this genre was a great move from Castlepalooza.
The friendly vibes and happy atmosphere made Castlepalooza simply amazing this year, and even with the constant rainy nights, nobody let it get them down. Out of Life, Sea Sessions and Knockanstockan, Castlepalooza is by far the best festival I’ve been to this summer. Good things come in small parcels, and I’ll definitely be back for more next year.