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September 2010

20 Music Tune the Fiddle, Strain the bow

some very different music experi- ences; from Middleton’s YouTube hit wonder Crystal Swing, the up and coming alternative five-piece O Emperor from Waterford, to UCC’s very own DJ Society’s Club night in the Liquid Lounge on Tuesday.

Mick McCarthy Music Editor

Welcome back to UCC everyone. As your music editor this year, I hope to deliver an informative and interesting newspaper section on something that is universally en- joyed. Since the start of Fresher’s Fest, and week, I’ve witnessed

As I mentioned in the Fresher’s Edition of the Express, Cork has an eclectic music scene offering everything from traditional Irish music to hip-hop. This past week has been no exception. Our Fea- tures Editor Miss Perry showcased her talents on Freshers fest and drew more of a crowd than Crystal Swing who lit up the lights of Ellen DeGeneres’ TV studio all the way across the Atlantic foam.

The Tuesday night dynamic has changed in Cork thanks to our very

Crystal Swing play to a curious crowd during Freshers Week outside the library.

Photo: Julia Healy

own DJ Society. Their new club night Perception, held in the Liquid Lounge started out with a massive bang. DJ Big Daddy Can and DJ Hoggy played a mind blowing set ending with some spine shaking Dub step that really capped off a fantastic night. As usual, one of UCC’s favourite snapper’s, Julia

Oxygen gasping for air?

Kevin O’Neill investigates how one festival’s failing has paved the way for another’s success

September is associated with so much: the end of summer, the onset of autumn and winter, the re- turn to school and college. Then there comes the culmination of the festival season. In Ireland, the fes- tivities are brought to a close with the unique experience that is Elec- tric Picnic. This year’s


marked a real change in approach in this country. Typically a rock festival, Oxegen has begun to alter its line-ups to attract a broader au- dience. Last year saw the likes of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga join a bill that was headlined by Blur and the Kings of Leon, whereas this year it seemed as though the alter- native acts were added as an after- thought. Hip-hop giants Eminem and Jay-Z were among the biggest draws which resulted in a huge shift in the attendees in Pun- chestown, notable by the rather small crowds who showed up for Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and the Black Keys.

The dilution of festival

line-ups has been evident for years. The controversy over Jay-Z head- lining Glastonbury in England brought the question to the fore, though it is strange to note that in the space of three years, Oxegen’s headliners went from Rage Against the Machine, REM and a pre-‘Sex on Fire’ Kings of Leon to Eminem and the Black Eyed Peas. Not many saw that coming, I bet! The results are clear to

see. Not since 2008 has Oxegen even come close to selling out and, while MCD may tell you that at- tendance is on the up, they may also want to note that so are the huge amount of competitions giv- ing away free passes. In the first two weeks of July, it was near im- possible to turn on a radio without being offered the opportunity to pick up VIP passes. In theory, the other side of

the coin is Ireland’s “boutique” music festival, Electric Picnic. Ex- panded to over 30,000 people and

a huge sight in Laois, the term “boutique” is a little wide of the mark, though credit must go to Festival Republic that strive to recreate the intimate and unique festival feel year after year. This is a place where you can go to old- time blues musicians performing on a pirate ship in the middle of the woods, check out a poet in the Mindfield area before just simply strolling around admiring the works of art hung from trees and cleverly placed around the idyllic campsite.

However, it is clear that

Electric Picnic too has been hit by economic issues. Now charging the same price as Oxegen (€240), the festival infamously cut almost its entire theatre programme just days before the festival was due to start. At the same time, this year’s head- line acts simply did not have the draw of previous years. And, un- like previous years, MCD did their level best to overexpose the festi- val by flogging dozens of tickets in competitions every single day in the few weeks preceding the event. On paper, the two have

Healy was there to capture the hap- piness of the night on film.

As the editor of all things musical in this fine publication I hope all of your needs are catered for. I am adamant that the music section fo- cuses on local venues, local bands and will also hear sound bites from

the broader musical spectrum. With so much going on in Cork and the country itself I feel it’s our duty to bring you the reader the best news and reviews from the Irish music world.

I am truly blessed with the contrib- utors to the music section. I’d like to thank everyone who has con- tributed to this section. I maybe the editor of the Express’ coverage of music, but without out the fantastic writers and photographers we have here in this university, that give up their time and effort to this fine publication, it wouldn’t exist.

Once again I’m opening the doors for new and enthusiastic writers, photographers and general contrib- utors. If you have any grá for music or writing and you want to be a part of this paper just contact me at So tune your six strings and tighten your goat skinned bodhráns be- cause this year is a big year for music.

their similarities – both are essen- tially driven by the musical side of things, however they could not be more different. Every aspect of Electric Picnic feels a little cleaner and thought over. It is much cleaner, much more family orien- tated. The fact that it is less than half the capacity (32,500 in com- parison to Oxegen’s 80,000) cer- tainly helps too, as does the age limitations. Over 18s or under 12s – no room for intoxicated 17 year olds here!

That is not to say that

Electric Picnic is not without its faults, however. Ill-informed stew- ards for one, overpriced food an-

other. At the same time, the festival is clearly geared toward a certain crowd. The line-up, the deals for families and campervans, the focus on art mean as such that it is all de- signed to ensure a more placid, older crowd. And Festival Repub- lic must be applauded for this. They are refusing to take the easy option by inviting pop acts to head- line their festival, but sticking to their original ethos. You just have to hope

they don’t suffer for their focus on the alternative. It would be a shame to lose such a unique event, espe- cially when you consider what the other option is.

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