Posted on september 14, 2023
Fuinneamh Festival 2023 Guide
Words by Oisín Campbell & Michael Savage
The Irish festival season prepares for its grandest of finales this weekend with the almighty Fuinneamh offering up their biggest instalment to date.
150 acts, 6 stages, 48 hours. Fuinneamh lead visionary Luke Reddy certainly cuts his work out for himself. No stranger to orchestrating parties with more than ten years of planning raves under his belt, Reddy’s festival ethos of combining music, art and wellbeing acts more as a healing experience than anything else. Designed from the ground up, it doesn’t pander to the widest audience or the commercial vultures of Electric Picnic. It’s hard and fast, community-driven, and it won’t stop for anybody.
Fuinneamh rebels against the corporate increepment of Heineken tents, Guinness stages, and other Generic Alcohol Brand bars. Instead, there’s breathwork, yoga, holistic workshops, safe spaces for all to rest up, and colourful spots to engage in pushing topics. For many it is the last camping festival of the year so it is approached with a lot of unreleased energy. In essence, “it is total freedom and total anarchy.”
With this lovely soothing cushion of care stations dotted around the dance stages, the music falls blissfully into your hands over the weekend with some of the more beautiful stage designs you're likely to see at any festival. Bellurgan Park will play host to some of the most prolific global dance acts right now in Australia’s X Club, raunchy German duo MCR-T & Miss Bashful, and more Deutschland techno sounds coming from DJ Heartstring, Ellen Allien, and SPFDJ over the weekend. There’s a big emphasis on Psytrance too with Latin American tones from Brazil’s Shivaion, Lorphy, Juliosmap, and Organic Joy. Some other familiar psychedelic trance artists from the Galactic Groove Gathering that happened last month will make an appearance like Meerkat and Psytori.
At the heart of Fuinneamh though, is the incredible Irish scene. Combining the country’s cream of electronic experts, daring selectors, ground shaking sound systems, Celtic trad bands and visual artists, it’s a heady concoction of visceral art & noise unlike any other in the country.
Among the lengthy list of Irish acts making their way to Co. Louth this weekend, there are a few names that we believe you simply cannot miss out on across iconic stages like Keep Her Lit and Ogham Alignment.
Rónán Ó Snodaigh
At the Lotus Live stage 📍
Magical & mesmerising creativity in storytelling, song, and display. Rónán will be gifting visitors with his lighthearted take on life with his therapeutic music and his way of making you feel a sense of belonging.
Sunday 8pm at the Síbín Beag stage 📍
You might have mistaken the name for the former monthly hip-hop night in The Bernard Shaw, but you won’t hear much Run D.M.C from the Irish label owner unless it's 170 bpm+. Misha Freshin plays fast with breaks, jungle, and drum n’ bass. Expect maniacal bass bin music from the Síbín Beag stage.
Sunday 8pm at the Orion stage 📍
The Dublin Party starter has an energetic flow in all of her sets and after last year's Fuinneamh, she's armed with confidence and boldness. Ayolxi will have everyone dancing with her fast mixing, deep grooves, and taste in Electro, Detroit and Jersey.
Space Dimension Controller
Sunday 5pm at the Keep Her Lit stage 📍
We are well excited for SDC’s luscious electronica this weekend. Set to showcase his blend of beautiful arps and loving plucks over deep steadied grooves, the R&S alumni will bring a delightfully elegant mix to the fore amidst some of the heavier hitters on the lineup.
Saturday 12pm at the Orion stage 📍
"Kriptik will always be a place where true talent will be showcased." The Cork Kollective show off their skills on the Orion stage on Saturday from lunch time onwards. You can expect dark, atmospheric techno from Club Economy founder and Síbín Co-founder MEJMI, who recently went b2b with Ayolxi and who is set for a Plant Bass'd appearance in the near future.
The Krew will also have Buca and Hooligan pushing driving rhythms as dancers descend onto the grounds. Kriptik are a welcome sight in Cork as they seek out exciting new locations, audio and visual displays, and art installations so get down early to see what they offer.
Sunday at the Lotus Live stage 📍
One of last year’s most memorable performers, Bog Bodies return to the Lotus Tribe stage this year after their tantalising Sunday afternoon slot in 2022. Their blend of psy and heavy folk provides a hyper-energetic tribal experience, consistently leaving a sea of livened dancers in their wake.
Sunday 10pm at the Síbín Beag stage 📍
Dublin based 140 champ Ambit brings her refined low end transmissions to the Síbín Beag stage. With breathtaking releases on EMA’s Woozy as well as CMS & co’s Modem now among her arsenal, Ambit has become a mainstay on the Irish circuit supporting acts like Goldie, Tim Reaper, Dwarde, and Samurai Breaks of late.
Sunday 1am at the Ogham Alignment stage 📍
Vinyl only DJ and techno producer, Cailín is well respected in the global electronic scene. With 2 Boiler Rooms under her belt and multiple festivals, she will have a thumping techno set that infiltrates Hardcore and Industrial sounds. Her recent release ‘Dickheads’ from The Phantom Love Affair EP is an acid stomper we can’t get enough of.
Sunday 12pm at the Orion stage 📍
A sunrise set for the early risers from the Donkoisseur. The mysterious DJ loves Bucky and loves Donks even more but after successfully catching us all with his funny remixes of Father Ted and Coronation Street, Eugene is growing on his sound and pushing his tracks to the limit. This will be epic!
Sunday 7.30pm at the Keep Her Lit stage 📍
By now a seasoned selector in Irish dance circles, Efa O’Neill is a name that anyone with an interest in the scene will by now be synonymous with. The Out of Space founder has endured another standout year to date joining the G-Town crew at the Big Top for Galway Arts, as well as debuting at Electric Picnic’s Rave in the Woods and locking in a support slot with Overmono for their prestigious Vicar Street date in October. You’ll find Efa on the KHL this Sunday with a sure mix of eclectic dance bombs.
PANDA DREY B2B CONKAN
Sunday 6pm at the Síbín Beag stage 📍
The duo come together again after playing at Bass On The Barge last month in Belfast, where they played Garage, Jungle, and DnB alongside Big Jacket Crew. Expect a mean attitude with MCing and rapping over tasty beats.
Saturday 12am at the Keep Her Lit stage 📍
Dublin’s lovable Tender crew bring their community focused dance for a date with destiny this weekend in Bellurgan. Glued together by Bull Horris, Mercorn, Andrew Shannon & Gary, the collective have forged one of the capital’s most important parties since their initiation at venues like Tengu and Racket last year having established vital safe space for queers and allies alike in the dance. Expect a raucous loved up energy from this contingent set to span through eurotrance, hard house and electronic pop.
The music is one thing that is sure to take your breath away this weekend, but the beauty of the setting, the wholeness of the crowd, and the energy that is then created will really leave you feeling something special come Monday morning.
Grá, Rithim agus Athrú - Love, Rhythm and Change. That is the motto by which Fuinneamh lives and is created. It’s the ultimate closer to what has been another densely packed festival calendar here in Ireland. We look forward to harnessing the energy from the weekend into the new season! See yiz all in Bellurgan!