There’s something about Knockanstockan. I’m not sure if it’s the carefree atmosphere, the lake-side location, the air of discovery that comes with their eclectic line up, or that it’s just so rustically hippie dippy it practically seeps into your pores. It really reminds me of settling into a corner of Glastonbury and bedding in for the weekend, something I’ve always wanted to do in theory, but suffered from too much fear of missing out to go through with it (my rave review for State.ie from 2010 sums it up, really).
I’m not sure the organizers realise it (see Bettine’s answer to my first question!), but there’s also a growing mythology around the place. It comes out in the stories people come home with, in the talk of early days and in the way the festival seems to infuse the entire ethos of a certain section of Irish music culture. That, and they just seem so, so nice! A case in point: not only has Bettine given me a fantastic lowdown of what the festival is all about here, she’s thrown in an exclusive early band announcement, too. Read on!
I hear Knockanstockan has quite a back story (I may be totally wrong, but I heard a story of a squat community turning into gigs and then festivals). How did things start, how did they develop and when did it all become so real for you?
Ha-ha that is hilarious! You’re not too far wrong though. The festival started from the idea of a group of musicians who were gigging tirelessly and finding it hard to get slots at the bigger festivals. At the time, in 2007, there weren’t really any small festivals around that booked unsigned and independent Irish artists, so the idea was to build our own.
What started out small soon began to take momentum and every year, we all wanted to make a bigger impact for the musicians than the previous year. More people volunteer their time every year and we learn to grow with the imagination and skills of the community. “Blood, Sweat and Volunteers” as we say.
In 2010, a bunch of the crew did move in together into a large house which has space to rehearse, record, build stages, make music videos and much more. It’s not a’ squat’; it’s more a base for some very creative people!
It became very real when we realised we weren’t there to party, but to run a festival!
You can see the house in the Hot Sprockets video ‘Comin On’: