Sligo's quiet Temple House offers an intimate alternative to overwhelming events

Temple House Festival 2011 review

published: Fri 17th Jun 2011

Ash

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June 2011
Temple House, near Ballymote in Co Sligo, Ireland, Ireland
120 euros for 3 days, including camping
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Thu 2nd Jun 2011

Sometimes the sheer enormity of large festivals such as Oxegen and Glastonberry can be intimidating and quite often the vastness of crowd and setting can overwhelm rather than seduce. So when offered the chance to review a small festival set in the folds of Sligo, I was eager to oblige.

around the festival site (2)
After all, a small venue is probably a better environment to appreciate and absorb, not just the music and the setting, but the people who are there with you. I was even more eager when hearing Temple House had received the award for Best New Festival 2010 and boasted its very own medieval village complete with archery range!

It's fair to say the line-up didn't particularly captivate my enthusiasm, but nonetheless hosted a fistful of well established acts capable of luring the crowds. Somewhat disappointingly, the crowds never came. At its peak, the festival probably reached around half of its 5000 mark capacity and subsequently much of my wanderings lead me to barren marquees devoid of attention. One vendor described it as "dead", while on arrival one girl's words could be heard echoing through a sparse campsite, "It was good last year"; her intonation suggesting this year was already a bitter disappointment. Perhaps her words were uttered prematurely. For despite the turnout, the festival provided those attending with moments of real intimacy.

During the day, while heads lay resting in tents, there was a relaxed calmness throughout the site and in the evening when hangovers began to relent a more lively atmosphere set in.

G Miley and the Soul Street Orchestra
On Friday I saw families dancing on wood-chips to G Miley and the Soul Street Orchestra. Miley, a Dublin based singer songwriter has a subtle and soothing tone to his voice, delicate but soulful and one which invariably suits the music he plays- a blend of pop, soul and jazz. Two songs which stood out in particular were 'Dancing With My Dreams' and a cover of Aloe Blacc's 'I need a Dollar'; the former serving as a great testament to Miley's qualities as a song-writer. I thoroughly recommend you check these guys out if they're playing anywhere near you!

I'd be lying if I said I was a fan of Ash post 'Free All Angels' (2001) and it might be no coincidence that shortly after that album Tim Wheeler started using a Gibson Flying V, a guitar which I hate for a multitude of mainly associative reasons. Perhaps Ash may have dropped off many people's radars ever since choosing not to release material through the conventional format of albums (post Twilight Of the Innocents -2007) and in which case many people might be pleased to know that they still pack a lively and enjoyable punch when performing live. In a journalistic haze mid-point through their set I did find myself criticizing their unpolished performance, but swiftly decided that their attraction and appeal lay in the very same imperfection. Tim Wheeler's high pitched melodies sit perfectly against a grungy background, and grunge works best when it seems unrehearsed and slightly flawed. Even when the singing waivers slightly and the diction fades it somehow adds to the vibrant grunge of the performance. For me, 'Shining Light' was the highlight of their set, not only because it is such a good song, but because the audience reacted so well to it.

Ash
review by: Ferdinand Dakota

photos by: Andrew McLaughlin

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June 2011
Temple House, near Ballymote in Co Sligo, Ireland, Ireland
120 euros for 3 days, including camping
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Thu 2nd Jun 2011


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