Festival season, unlike the more by the book summer or winter, is not a ‘season’ in any traditional sense of the word. It is not marked by a gentle dusting of snow across a field, nor by the falling of leaves, nor by the first hesitant glances of cold crisp sunlight across a freshly blossoming meadow, rather it‘s defined as the one time of year when it’s deemed culturally acceptable for people not directly involved in the rearing of livestock to wear wellies. Kevin O’Neill gives a preview of Groove Festival, one of Ireland’s most exciting emerging festivals.

Groove Cover

This year, Groove Festival marks its 4th birthday, following three very prosperous past events. Running on the 2nd and 3rd July, the festival aims to create a vibrant and entertaining atmosphere for people of all ages and backgrounds. With live music, great food and an aesthetically-pleasing setting, this is undoubtedly a recipe for success. There are 4 main aspects to Groove which places it amongst the best festivals in the country.

Firstly, the location is not only accessible, but fitting. Killruddery House is largely regarded as one of Ireland’s finest remaining manor houses. It breathes culture, with vast wooded areas and fantastic architecture. Its official address is Bray, but is only a 40 minute drive from Dublin city centre. Although there’s no camping provided on the grounds, there are plenty of local campsites, such as the Roundwood Caravan and Camping Park, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, the Esplande and Martello Hotels are more than willing to accommodate you.

Then of course, there’s the music. Over the weekend, two stages (Main Stage and Hop House 13 Stage) will be show-casing acts from a wide-range of genres, with head-liners including Aslan, Ocean Colour Scene, The Blades and The Academic. On top of this, a certain shout-out must be saved for Rebel Rebel, a David Bowie tribute band made up of some of the best musicians in the country. If you were never fortunate enough to witness the ‘Thin White Duke’ live, this is the closest you’re going to get!

Yet there’s far more than just the tunes. Groove’s Celtic Kitchen specialises in serving traditional Celtic meals inspired by local and historical methods. There will also be a number of cooking demonstrations, most notably by TV3’s Great Irish Bake Off’s Chef Paul Kelly. Apart from the culinary delights, climbing walls and aqua-sphering all provide opportunities to exert a bit of energy and break a sweat over the two days.

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Despite suggestions in the logo, Groove Festival is proud to declare the aqua-sphering pool remains shark free.

Finally, the price is also another huge draw for Groove. An adult weekend pass comes in at €74.50, whilst a family ticket for the two days (2 adults/2 kids) is only a mere €180. For a student, this incredible blend of quality entertainment at a very reasonable price, probably represents the best value for money you’ll find all summer. For all the reasons listed and more, Groove Festival is worth checking out.

Kevin O’Neill