While it is clear that music is the life force behind EDM, no one can argue that dance music would not be where it is now without the driving force of its festival scene. From Woodstock in the early 1970s to the early days of EDC in Los Angeles in the 2000s to the massive underground festivals of Europe, music festivals have been deeply ingrained into the world’s culture.
In a new weekly series, EDM.com is shining the spotlight on lesser known festivals around the world that are on par with marquee festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra, and Tomorrowland. These festivals are highlighted for the atmosphere, the people, and most importantly, the music and the talent that they bring. From Austria’s signature Snowbombing festival, to ZoukOut in Singapore, to Shambhala in Canada, this series will be your one-stop guide to some of the best hidden gems in the festival scene around the world.
This week’s pick is Ireland’s Life Festival.
Since its inception in 2004, Life Festival has grown to become one of the most prestigious, and Ireland’s premier, underground music festival. The concept for Life Festival emerged from the Glade arena of England’s Glastonbury festival, beginning with up-and-comers like DJ Sensor and MC Feedback hosting a day of drum & bass. Since then, Life has expanded to welcome over 2,000 attendees over the course of the three-day festival, and to become one of Europe’s Top 10 Small Festivals as awarded by Resident Advisor. Life Festival is different from the annual music festival, as it strives to bring together the world’s best underground music with a sustainable ethos.
Life Festival takes place on the beautiful gardens of the Belvedere House and Gardens in Westmeath, Ireland. The venue of the festival is a truly special location that will reward those who make the trek to Ireland for Life, as the Belvedere House, which is more of a castle than a house, sits on the shores of a lake and on the edge of a forest. With the beautiful grounds of the Belvedere House providing the backdrop for some of the world’s best electronic music, festival-goers can expect astonishing festival grounds and a beautiful lake surrounding the four stages of music. Armed with such a beautiful location, Life Festival is a completely outdoor festival, as the three day open-air-weekender is a celebration of music and dance between many races, genders, and ethnicities from around the world.
Year in and year out, Life Festival books both fast-rising upcomers and heavyweight superstars from the underground scene. The music at Life is considered to be some of the best underground music in all of Europe, while still booking acts that do not typically fall within the dance music umbrella. This year, Life will feature the hip-hop icon, Nas, performing his iconic album, Illmatic, as the headliner. Other acts performing at the open-air festival include a live set by Ten Walls, in addition to sets by Maceo Plex, Ben Klock, Skream, The Magician, amongst many others. While many of us consider “underground” music to be referring to the dance music scene, Life welcomes all types of underground music, and this year, hip-hop acts like The Underachievers and Ratking will be making their way to Ireland to perform at the premier festival.
For those that want a break from the music, Life offers a diverse array of other activities, including art installations, yoga, healing sessions, meditation, and more. Festival-goers can expect to see fire breathers, street performers, jugglers, and many other performers as they wander around the festival, which only further speaks to the festival’s brand. Life Festival will also welcome unique artists like Pettycash creator, Niamh Bernie, who will be presenting her show, “The Wild Hunt,” a stunning, theatrical shadow puppet performance.
Camping at Life Festival is a must, as a weekend festival ticket includes camping options. The festival, which prides itself on a sustainable ethos, encourages carpooling and busing into the festival grounds, in addition to bringing disposable and recyclable items to the campgrounds.
Life Festival will take place May 29th - 31st, 2015, and limited tickets are still available online here. Festival tickets may also be available at the gate on a limited basis, so make sure to get yours early!
Follow Life Festival: