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Ireland's music festival season is upon us and with Slane and Oxygen exiting the circuit, time has come for independent festivals to step into the limelight and take centre stage.

Music FestivalMany of Ireland’s boutique festivals have been growing steady in popularity in the last couple of years with an upsurgence of them this year replacing mainstream festivals as the cheaper, eco friendly alternative. Not so rock'n'roll as much as spirit and soul, idyllic settings, emphasis on environment and associations with charities are characteristic of many of these festivals. We look at a selection of what’s on offer this Summer:

Life Festival: Taking place this weekend, May 25-27, at Belvedere House, Mullingar, Life festival will showcase over 150 live performances and dj’s across six stages. Headliners include Jamie Jones, Engine-Earz Experiment, Iration Steppas and DJ Marky. Committed to minimizing its ecological footprint, last year their recycling station was able to recycle more than 70% of their waste. Luxury camping accomodation includes American Indian Tipis, Mongolian Yurts and Bell tents. Pre–booked full weekend tickets are €128 with weekend tickets at the gate setting you back €150.

Body and Soul Festival: Also in Westmeath, the Body and Soul festival celebrates the Summer solstice at Ballinlough Castle from June 22-24. Now in its third year it has been billed as a magical alternative to your standard festival. Emphasis is put on  the whole experience rather than hype and attractions.Voted Best Small Festival at the Irish Festival Awards in 2011, it also prides itself on being sustainable conscious. This year’s line up includes the Villagers, Gold Panda, Django Django and Tieranniesaur as well as alternative entertainment including a masquerade ball,acrobatics, fireworks, yoga workshops and burlesque dancers to name a few. Weekend tickets are available for €99. 

Forstock: The same weekend will see acts such as Aslan, The Rubberbandits, Ryan Sheridan and The Riptide Movement take over the beautiful Vances Estate in Clones, Co. Monaghan. Two days of entertainment will also include activities for adrenaline junkies such as zorbing and bungee jumping. A weekend camping ticket will cost €70. 

Indiependence Festival: August 3-5  sees Mitchelstown, Co. Cork host Feeder, Maverick Sabre, 2ManyDJs, Delorentos, The Japanese Popstars among many more. The festival was nominated for Best Small Festival at the European Festival Awards last year after extending the event to three days. Situated on a limestone basin at the foot of the Galtee Mountains, makes it perfect for combating adverse weather conditions. 

Castlepalooza Festival: In direct competition, the Caslepalooza Fesival is held the same weekend on the grounds of Charleville Castle in Tullamore, Co.Offaly. Line up includes The Charlatans, Jape, Ghostpoet and MMOTHS. The festival was a finalist in the Green Awards 2011 Entertainment and Leisure Category resulting from their committment to promoting environmental efficiency and sustainablility. Launch offer tickets cost a very budget friendly price of €50 for three days including moat camping.   

With alot more on offer than just music, this year’s range of independent festivals has something for everyone, ensuring the Summer’s festival calendar is in safe hands.

DM

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