Ireland’s most spectacular festival is back!
Ireland’s oldest, most spectacular and hottest festival will once again ignite the summer festival season when it is rekindled on the historic Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath on Bealtaine, Saturday May 5th. Festival of Fires will set the ancient seat of the High Kings alight with the very best in arts, culture, ceremony, history and heritage, crafts, debate, artisan food and drink, ancient Celtic sports, re-enactments, ancient agricultural rituals and music. Think Burning Man meets Braveheart and you’re nearly there.
Uisneach – located at the exact centre of Ireland – will be illuminated with pageantry and parades, with all festival-goers participants in a unique Bealtaine fire ceremony featuring a dazzling night-time parade devised by the award-winning LUXe performance group. We will have breath-taking fire displays featuring some of the best artists and performance groups from Burning Man and Glastonbury.
The award-winning Uisneach Warriors – hundreds of Celtic horsemen and women – are returning in greater numbers. Music, spoken word and theatre space, a heritage and history stage, clans area, arts trail, historical tours, food and drink villages, children’s play areas, shamanic workshops, drum circles, creative workshops and more make this a truly unique event. Re-enactments by the award-winning Fingal Living History group, fire ceremonies, a holistic village, a medieval village, ancient Celtic sports, agricultural displays and traditional craft workshops and more also hark back to the festival’s ancient roots. Close your eyes for a minute and you’ll be transported back to ancient times.
Six music stages will feature a dazzling array of acts, including Ireland’s hottest star BRESSIE, playing his biggest ever solo show in his hometown. ‘The Voice’ mentor is bringing some special guests with him from ‘The Voice’ including CONOR QUINN who was sensationally kicked off the show against all odds in the semi-final. Graham Dowling is also performing with his band ICON OF FIRE making this family festival the official festival of ‘The Voice’!
True High Kings of music coming to the ancient seat of the High Kings include HOTHOUSE FLOWERS, KÍLA and DONAL LUNNY, performing with MAIRTÍN O’CONNOR and other special guests from the word of trad. Festival of the Fires is also the only event where this year’s Choice Music Prize winners (Ireland’s top music prize) will play, with two-time album of the year winner JAPE and song of the year winners ROYSEVEN both performing on the Button Factory stage. Ireland’s oldest known band, the KILFENORA CÉILÍ BAND will be making their first appearance at Ireland’s oldest festival, JERRY FISH returns after stealing the show here in 2009 whilst HAWKWIND great Nik Turner will be bringing the legendary bands music to an Irish festival for the first time, cementing Uisneach’s links to Stonehenge in the process (the stones from Stonehenge were stolen from Uisneach).
Also playing is Maria Doyle Kennedy, Horslips great Johnny Fean, The Riptide Movement, Relish, Johnny Cronin & The Aftermath, Crow Black Chicken, The Pale, Peter Doran, Arrow in the Sky, Icon on Fire, Rainy Boy Sleep, Casey Leigh, Preachers Son, Late Late Show bandleader Paddy Cullivan, The Hot Sprockets, Sircles (ex-The Blizzards), Neon Wolf, The Raglans, Rural Savage, Propeller Palms, The Bahh Band, Mikey & The Scallywags, Fling, Touch the Earth, Jimmy Broder, Suzanne Ledwith, Ashley Tubridy (star of the Late Late Toy Show), Valerie Armstrong, The Egg & Spoons, The Poetry Divas, Revelation Sound System, Dub Investigation (live set), Ras Tinny, The Dub Doctors (live set), MC Cian Finn, DJ Tibo Irie Ireland Crew, Marty Mulligan, Fia Rua, Gavin James, Queen Elvis, Kill Goliath, Creamy Goodness, Mustang Hobo, Sweet Jane, Kathryn Green, Shadowplay, Aquileia, Amber Jean, Noel & Declan O’Farrell, Rhob Cunnigham, the DG Kelly Orchestra, Ginger Biscuits, Black Knott, Hazy Thursdays, Ri Ra agus Ruaille Buaille, Veer Left, Babylon, The Athlone Troubadors and the most decorated marching band in Ireland, The Mullingar Town Band! Many more will appear on the day at secret stages dotted throughout the festival site, including some very big names on some very little stages!.
With a history stretching back thousands of years, the one-of-a-kind event culminates with an unmissable night-time ceremonial parade which will lead all festival goers to the summit of Uisneach where signal Bealtaine fires will be lit. In turn, over 100 fires will be sparked nationwide as the flame is passed to all 21 counties visible from the summit.
Located at the exact centre of Ireland close to Mullingar and Athlone, The Hill of Uisneach was the original seat of the High Kings and Ireland’s capital city long before Tara. It is the birth and resting place of the Goddess Ériu after whom Ireland was named, and it is a historic location which attracted everyone from St. Patrick to James Joyce to Michael Jackson. A short-listed UNESCO World Heritage site, the hill has featured in practically every era of Irish history, and was even written about by Caesar. Native Americans referred to the hill as being the capital of the Western World, and in more recent times, Ireland was divided into the Dioceses that exist today when a Christian Synod met on the hill in the 11th century.
The ancient Bealtaine festival was brought back to life with Grouse Lodge Residential Recording Studios in 2009. Since then, the Bealtaine event was nominated seven times at the Irish Festival Awards 2011 and as Best Green Event at the Irish Event Industry Awards. The Irish Times called it “a source of hope” with TG4 describing it as “Ireland’s answer to Burning Man”.
Festival of the Fires is proudly independent, sponsor-free and non-commercial. It is a non VIP event, with no branding, VIP enclosures or anything else. Every festival goer is a participant in a one-of-a-kind event, which is for all the family with free admission for children under 12 as well as free campervan and car parking.
Tickets are on sale now from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and fromwww.ticketmaster.ie priced €39.50. See www.facebook.com/festivalofthefire and www.festivalofthefires.com for updates. For more info call Paddy Dunning or Ronan Casey at 09064 36175 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org