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Published on December 7th, 2012 | by Culch.ie


Spirit of Folk Festival 2012

2012-09-22 15.18.51
As we come to the cold end of a very hectic year, a few of us are looking back over the highlight of our Summer season – anyone who has read culch regularly will know how much we loved Spirit of Folk. It’s a small festival with a big heart and, this year they managed to keep the same atmosphere and sense of community amongst the festival goers. Anto, Peter and Brian, who were there last year, were joined by Blots, Darren, Elly, Phillip and Sarah so this post will contain contributions from a few of us. A SOFF megapost if you will.

I’d been in two minds about attending SOF last year. I didn’t know a lot about it and I wasn’t really up for a weekend of camping. In hindsight, I’m so glad I went and I’d been looking forward to the second year for months. This year was a bigger crowd with an additional night but the same atmosphere of friendliness between strangers prevailed. I saw so many amazing acts over the course of the weekend and have purchased albums from some since. Particular highlights for me were: John Blek and the Rats, The Hot Sprockets, Little Xs for Eyes, Tucan and Busoscionn’s Trad Side of the Moon. We also spent a lot of time in the Hall of Heroes which is sort of the like the party tent for the entire weekend. They run activities like karaoke, a sports day, a table quiz and, new for this year, Blind Date (utterly hilarious). It’s a certainty that I’ll be at Spirit of Folk 2013. 🙂 Here’s my weekend in pictures:


After a year of being horrifically broke, I didn’t think I’d get near a festival this year. I even had free tickets to Electric Picnic, but couldn’t make it. So, with a new job sorted, I felt I could treat myself to a weekend of music, beer, food and a bit of craic with my mates.

Elly and I arrived down on the Saturday afternoon and my first surprise was the scale. It was far smaller, far less crowded than the mayhem of EP or Oxegen. The atmosphere was unbelievably chilled. As a BYOB festival, there were no giant branded billboards or queues for bars that only serve one drink. People roamed freely with their cans and plastic cups, hipflasks and bottles.

The sense of community is like nothing I had ever expected from a music festival. By the end of the weekend, we new everyone to see and had made some great friends. I revisited my samba days and spent two hours drumming my heart out in the African drumming tent on Saturday evening. It was the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done.

And that’s just it, that’s what this festival is, that’s what makes it so special – Spirit of Folk is therapy. It’s a breakaway from the real world, from mayhem, from branding and the fame game, from posers and hipsters. It was one of my standout moments from 2012 and I can’t wait for next year.


I was a festival virgin before Spirit of Folk. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and my only ideas of what to bring and wear were based on my friends trips to other major Irish festivals. So I packed my LED bunny ears and many warm clothes and off I went. When I arrived, I feared that the bunny ears were a mistake, as most people were dressed very normally, or as hippies…

There was nothing to worry about, though, as it didn’t matter what anyone was wearing – this was the most open and welcoming group of people that you will ever find. The festival is best described as a bunch of hippies in a field, grooving to some amazing tunes and taking part in loads of different activities. From falconry demonstrations to story telling, hula-hooping to drum circles, this festival delivers a wide range of activities and aims to include everyone.

Party animals can dance and drink until the wee hours in the Hall of Heroes, and those with families (yes, it’s family friendly too) can avail of the camper van park to ensure a quiet nights sleep. The choice of music is eclectic, and there’s something to suit nearly every taste. All in all, I don’t think there’s a better festival to lose your virginity to!


If Spirit of Folk were a lady, I’d find it hard, very hard to pin point the one reason why it is that I fell so in love with her. There are of course stand out moments and memories, but encapsulated into one reason, it is nigh on impossible to narrow it down.

We had all said after year 1 that we had a knowledge that #SoFF12 could only get bigger. Our fear [ is that the right word ?] was what it would become. Would it lose that magic that it had in year 1…. It did get bigger. But now, now I simply love you more than I did last year.

Like Antonio, highlights for me also included new to me act John Blek and the Rats, Bunoscionn and the ever enegetic Hot Sprockets. The upgrading of The Green Soul and the Whelan’s Well Area was just genius.


The Spirit – that something, that bit that makes me want to never leave, that, is in the people you meet…. the people who stood by your side, who laughed, cried and sang as the sun went down on Dunderry Park. Roll on 2013. Like last year, you simply could not come soon enough and I will miss you dearly until that time.


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