Saturday, 27 September 2008

Barcelona whistle-stop tour

A couple of weeks ago RICHARD, MICHEÁL and myself hopped over to BARCELONA to hang-out with the one-and-only RAMON (BANKROBBER Records) - the ultimate host. We spent three days bouncing between the launch of GUILLIAMINO's new album to the SIDECAR and, our hands-down favourite, the APOLLO.

We even managed to rendezvous with SIOBHAN O'KELLY who happened to be in BCN for a few days (thanks to AOIFE back-home and her mighty txt finger). Siobhan is based mostly in London these days where she attended the GUILDHALL SCHOOL (training ground for actors like EWAN McGREGOR and RALPH FIENNES - two and a half thousand apply each year but only 15 are accepted to the Guildhall).

We also caught up (far too briefly) with NURIA and MARTINE (of PAYA days) who popped down from CADAQUÉS where KATEANN, RONAN & SULAN visited them during the summer. (Cadaqués was home to SALVADOR DALI and a popular destination for PABLO PICASSO, JOAN MIRÓ and MARCEL DUCHAMP.)

We even managed to take a spin around GAUDI's uncompleted LA SAGRADA FAMILIA - it still a building-site inside but when you wander around it's hard to imagine that this architecture dates from early last century's a perfect example of timeless design.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Where did the summer go?

The blog's been neglected this summer, but it's back when I can squeeze the time to put a few scribbles together. (Didn't even manage to squeeze-in enough DONGAL this year :-( ..will have to do something about that.)

BRITTANY was something else: arrived in BREST (TALL SHIPS 2008), travelled east-ish for Les VIEILLE CHARRUES where we set-up base with the 'ROCK EN SEINE 07' crew (FRÉ, SABRINA plus 25), good music, an audience of around 200,000 and an amazing warm Breton welcome for the Irish.

ELECTRIC PICNIC 08: what can I say? Organiser JOHN REYNOLDS was more than generous to the 'DONEGAL CAMPERS' who rolled-in once again on that iconic VW combi-van and got treated to a fantasy weekend. The positive thinking of 35,000 paid off - there wasn't a drop of rain until around 02.00 on Sunday night - we danced through it while surprise-guests THE ORB blasted BODY & SOUL with HARRY NILSSON '...where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain'.

The Electric Picnic is a wonderful mix of music, fun-fair, circus, theatre, comedy etc. and great food - yep, this year BRIDGESTONE FOOD AWARDS were dished out! Awards, which were devised for Electric Picnic by Bridgestone publishers JOHN and SALLY McKENNA, were given in four categories:

* The Best Dressed Food Award for presentation and style
* The Healthy Buzz Award for seriously healthy food
* The Greenest Gourmet Award for eco-friendliness
* The On Our Doorstep Award for best use of local and regional ingredients

Taking the gong for 'Best Dressed' stall, the MAD HATTER's TEA PARTY, based in the Body & Soul compound, provided festival goers with a picturesque Alice and Wonderland setting to enjoy tea and scones and toasted Gubbeen cheese sandwiches.

The TINY TEA TENT on the VILLAGE GREEN took the 'Greenest Gourmet' award, generating its own electricity through wind and solar power and using its tent to create awareness about deforestation of the tropical rainforest.

Dishing up the best healthy food this year was GOODNESS GRACIOUS, with its healthy salads and exceptionally good veggie burgers. And finally, THE GOURMET OFFENSIVE took the 'On Our Doorstep' award for its tasty and "very good value" cuisine from around the world made from locally sourced produce.

Speaking about the awards Bridgestone publisher John McKenna said: "The simple thing about the Bridgestones is that they are about inspired people who do inspiring work and who have a singular style, which is why we can go from roadside stalls to five star hotels.

"Giving awards to festival stall holders shows that the old fine dining idea of food is purest bunk; good food is good food, wherever, however, thanks to the person and their passion to be good, to be their best. And it's appropriate to give these awards at Electric Picnic, which has always made an effort to be grown up and serious about food, which shows the respect it shows its punters, a respect often missing in festival situations."

TIckets for next year's event go on sale around OCTOBER (10th or so), don't get caught out, they'll be gone in a flash.

more info: