Typically, there are two types of big festival.
There’s the Damp Tent In A Field kind – Glastonbury, Electric Picnic, etc. You go, welly clad, and you inevitably return to your home with flu.
Alternatively, you go abroad and enjoy A Very Warm Beach type of fling – Bennicassim or Primavera are usually the event of choice here. Time loses all meaning, and you forget what grass looks like.
Beatyard falls somewhere in the middle. You’re surrounded by Dun Laoghaire, and you’d look fairly out of place wearing wellies walking around a concrete arena.
Then again, it’s fair to say Beatyard hasn’t yet established itself as a big festival, per se, only in its third year. It’s still managed to rangle in some big names as it’s grown.
The majority of the acts at the festival cover a narrow selection of genres, but Famous Eno is one of several crossover acts playing at the weekend.
Blending hip-hop vocals with techno beats, it’s a lively start to Saturday’s proceedings, even people aren’t exactly on a buzz yet. The London producer’s stand out track Gypsy Riddim piggy-backs on the sound of the summer, dancehall, and that’s when things really kick up a notch. It’ll be surprising if he isn’t back for a District 8 or Hangar show in the near future.
Legacy acts have also been a mainstay at Beatyards past. This year’s no exception, though with Banarama, ‘legacy’ could easily be swapped for ‘novelty’.
If you’d had too much gargle and stumbled into the set, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was two ma’s doing karaoke (Siobhan Fahy was not present for the performance). To be fair though, they’re the two best ma’s I’ve seen doing karaoke in a while.
It’s technicolour nostalgia and it’s most vibrant. And despite I Heard A Rumour‘s hyper simple choreography being hysterical, nobody’s taking this more seriously than the gals themselves. Robert De Niro’s Waiting remains the strongest track in their back catalogue – all of a sudden, it’s 1984 and you’re wondering where you left your leg warmers.
Mark Ronson never really came across as being a gobby DJ. He was always the softly spoken bezzie mate of Amy Winehouse, with a penchant for doing hip-hop extremely well despite being extremely Caucasian.
But no, in fact, he is one of those shouty gobshites that repeatedly asks Beatyard if it’s ready (it is). Luckily, he makes up for it with his mixes. Impressively, he manages to mix Kanye’s Black Skinhead and Tame Impala’s Elephant for an intensity not yet seen over the weekend. Giggs’ Lock Doh also makes a welcome appearance on the setlist.
When he’s not shouting or delivering bangers, he gets emotional, paying tribute to Winehouse by playing some of her best tracks. And shouting about her too, obviously.
Ronson is the much-needed adrenaline rush needed to cap the day’s proceedings – he gives a lot more than Uptown Funk, that’s for sure.
Sunday sees efforts to maintain the tempo, though there are plenty of hungover heads indulging in the Just Eat lounge (big thumbs up for Box Burger by the way for single handedly keeping me alive).
Toos And The Maytals bring Caribbean coolness to an otherwise overcast south Dublin. If people want to understand where most of the summer’s biggest hits, seeing them at some point is more than necessary. It’s a raw, free-flowing exhibition of reggae and dancehall magic.
They may not be a household name to the younger among attendees, but their monster hit Do The Reggay will register with all ears.
Beatyard’s indoor stage is full to the brim for most of the weekend. I’m sure this has everything to do with the acts and nothing to do with the additional toilets. The vibe is very ‘disco in your old school prefab’, and it’s a bit disconnected from the general vibe, even with the great selection of acts playing.
Bantum continues to prove himself as being one of the most formidable Irish acts on the scene right now. While Move throbs through the walls, Feel Your Rhythm is a solid shimmy accompanied by the strong vocals from the Rusangano Family. It’s these magnetic, unwavering transitions that maintain intrigue among the audience. If you’re heading to Hard Working Class Heroes, make sure you see him – he’s Cork’s finest export after myself.
From relative newcomers to deep house king pins, Fish Go Deep are up next in the dance hub. They’re nothing if not consistent, and they prove time again that they’re still a name that can draw a crowd.
Morcheeba are very smooth in delivery, but ultimately it’s dirgy for a large amount of the set. Friction comes and goes without much fanfare, and it’s a long, long wait for their biggest hit Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day. Is it worth it? Having shifted from a sweaty indoor dance floor to bleak grey skies for a forty minute stand-off? Not particularly.