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Glasgowbury's 10th Birthday

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Rory McConnell | 10:26 UK time, Thursday, 29 July 2010

Imagine a festival that catered more or less exclusively for unsigned, under the radar bands; a festival where you could see all your favourite bands from where you lived, in one day. And imagine that this festival could draw a crowd of 4,000 people. Imagine Glasgowbury.

Glasgowbury-main-stage-2010.jpgTo celebrate its 10th Birthday, last weekend the finest bands and performers in Northern Ireland came together in the Sperrin Mountains, on a glorious summer day, and shattered the face of the mountain with new unsigned music. It's traditionally regarded as the Northern Irish music scene's big holiday, but there was something in the air this year. With Northern Irish music in arguably its rudest health for years, the assembled masses were treated to a spectacular display of incendiary music.

With BBC Introducing supporting the Small But Massive stage (the main stage, in case you were wondering!) as well as the G Sessions Stage (otherwise known as the second stage!) we were perfectly poised to bring you all the highlights, and a few surprises along the way...

With music thundering out from every direction on the top of the mountain, last year's headliners And So I Watch You From Afar sneaked onto the G Sessions stage, and unleashed their unique brand of sonic devastation. It was a secret performance, but still managed to attract the attention of almost everyone at the festival. They came in their thousands, spilling out as they tried to cram into the hot, sweaty tent, whilst the North coast four-piece proved exactly why they've been called one of the most exciting bands in the country.

Elsewhere, there was something to cater for all tastes. Belfast troubadour Duke Special brought a touch of vaudevillian charm to the mountain, art-poppers Yes Cadets sent shards of angular guitar and synth melodies cascading off the rocks, and mojoFURY scraped the sky with their darkly atmospheric rock assault. With so much to sample, the only complaint uttered was that the stage times for too many top notch acts clashed. And when our only grumble is that we've been spoilt for choice, surely that's the definition of a good day?

Glasgowbury-main-stage-2010---LaFaro.jpgNot Squares, Chipzel, Building Pictures, Silhouette, Colenso Parade...there really were too many highlights to mention. And at the end of the day, after the dual onslaught of LaFaro on the main stage and General Fiasco on the G Sessions stage (where they attracted so many people that the sides of the tent were removed to accommodate their fans!), Fighting With Wire headlined the main stage, cementing a relationship that goes back to the very beginning.

As FWW frontman Cahir O'Doherty brought festival organiser Paddy Glasgow and his wife to the stage, it felt like every single person there was glowing with pride at what has been accomplished in the last ten years. With the music fading out into the night, Glasgowbury truly lived up to its "Small but Massive" moniker. As we look forward to its 11th birthday next year, we can but wonder how long that will be the case.


  • Comment number 1.

    As a fairly recent newcomer to Northern Ireland, (I have been here for 2 years having moved across the water from Wigan, England), I was totally blown away by both the quality and diversity of the music coming out of Ireland both from the North and South, and also with the feel and vibe of the Glasgowbury festival itself.

    I also cannot understand how so much talent is going unoticed by the general music media and powers that be. Personally speaking that suits me just fine.

    I agree with you on everything you said Mr McConell. Other bands worth a mention Fighting Like Apes and their attempted destruction of the stage with amplifier trolleys, fantastic, Henrietta Game's and the Lowly Knights folk/pop harmonies, Chipzels Game Boy 'T.U.N.E.S' complete with her excited screams, or Bronagh Gallaghers hillarious drunken ramblings inbetween songs, the very impressive 'Mod'ified Vals and the music hall theatrics of the Duke and co, made for a wonderous occasion.

    It was like finding a new Wigan Casino, Spike Island, Manchester Hacienda or Glastonbury itself (obviously on a much smaller scale)in the 80s before the onslaught of television and yuppies (their mum and dads bought them tickets, type students), got hold of it. There were a few of these about by the way, unfortunatley they are everywhere now.

    So long may Eagles Rock continue and grow. And to the BBC I know you were there, but next year 'Get on it, big time', it deserves it.


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