music festivals


BARE in the Woods: Building a Festival From Scratch

Peter Dunne, founder of BARE In The Woods Festival

Music festivals, it’s fair to say, are on something of a relentless rise. Combining a weekend of hedonism with the opportunity to see musicians that would cost far more to see individually, the events present a risky but potentially rewarding opportunity for businessmen.

With the country’s biggest festival Electric Picnic selling out before even announcing a lineup this year, newcomers have been consistently sticking their head above the parapet – alongside BARE, festivals like Live On Air and BD Festival are nudging into the scene. BARE in the Woods, a growing event in Garryhinch Woods, Portarlington, is perhaps the most successful newcomer.

“We launched in 2014 with a single day ‘taster’”, organiser Peter Dunne told us. “It was really just getting people to buy into the concept, but it was also great experience for us. It’s been a slow burner, but I worked a lot on the other side of things, as a band manager, and so I understand what it’s like. It’s a slow process building trust with the acts [it’s worth noting that a couple of new Irish festivals have shut down in recent years, often without paying the performers], we just make sure we send them home happy. Now we have a lot of acts emailing us asking if they can come back again.”

“For me, it’s like seeing the festival experience from the other side of the fence. There’s a lot of correspondence, and you really have to pull together,” he says of the process. “I’ve learned a few tricks, and we’ve brought a lot of experienced heads into our top team. We’ve been using a system called Mobstar [a musical talent platform], which has made it far easier to pick acts we’re interested in for the festival.”