As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, its festival season and Metro Chica is on a mission to support boutique Irish festivals and music this year! With that in mind, I packed my tent and took the short trip from Dublin to Dunany, Co Louth for Vantastival. First impressions? Easy to access car park and helpful staff, maybe needed a few more signs on the road to help us find our way… The sun was shining and we dragged our tents, booze and unnecessary toiletries to the adjacent field into our campsite. We chose to set up next to the Paddy Mirage tent which in hindsight might not have been the best move – music blaring at 5am and my oncoming hangover didn’t mix well. I was with some friends who had been there last year and they informed me that this years event looked like it had more people and was better organised and naturally, more fun! We settled in for the day…
So Saturday went by in a blur of blazing sunshine, mad windy weather, great music and dancing in the forest. My musical highlights were Duke Special, The Cast of Cheers, Reverend JM’s Panic Worship, The Young Folk and The Amazing Few. I ate delicious Kanum thai and drank my own cans (BYOB is genius at festivals). The tents were spaced out enough that the sound didn’t interfere with the others, and the Paddy Mirage ‘tent’ was a joy with its small pub vibe and wooden benches. We ended the night out in the forest at the Gramophone Disco which was both weird and wonderful, and made friends on our way back to the tents.
Sunday was more of the same – and I even managed some sunburn! What amazed me most about Vantastival was the friendly nature of everyone. No one was there to cause trouble and over the whole weekend I didn’t see or hear of even one incident. I felt completely safe leaving my stuff in my tent and late at night I never felt threatened walking about – something missing from a lot of the big Irish festivals. I was also blown away by the cleanliness of the portaloos even by Monday morn!!! My musical highlights on Sunday were Bipolar Empire, Wallis Bird, Von Shakes, The Riptide Movement and Prairie Dawgs. Alongside the music, Vantastival cater to VW vans and campers – giving a beautiful and colourful backdrop to the grounds. It’s definitely a unique festival!
So with all those positives about Vantastival I should make a few tiny suggestions! More food options please and it would be good if they weren’t all in the same location. More sink/showers would go a long way too – even though I’m not sure how much use they got! Better signage to the various areas and some more lighting at night would add to the vibe too. But even without all that, I was more than happy with my first Vantastival experience and think this is a festival that will only go from strength to strength in the coming years. I’d definitely recommend it!!!
See The Young Folk live from Vantastival in the Paddy Mirage tent here: