The first weekend of July brought with it the hugely anticipated Light Colour Sound festival and a line-up which would more than hold its own when compared to any other festival here in Ireland.

Nestled in the hauntingly charming county Kilkenny, complete in all its magical medieval glory, the beautiful grounds of Shankill Castle set the backdrop for a festival weekend which promised an array of sensory stimulation.

Set in the shadow of the majestic Mount Leinster, the HMV main stage would play host to the likes of Cathy Davey, Jerry Fish, Wallis Bird, ASIWYFA, Kila and The Riptide Movement to name but a small few. Even the late and unfortunate cancelation of Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip (for reasons which shall likely remain a mystery) failed to dampen the spirits of revellers as the sun set on the opening night in the company of the superb Cathy Davey.

But to every festival there is far more than the main stage- and LCS was to prove no exception. King Kong Company brought the curtain down on Friday night with an explosive set in Whelan’s 25 Big Top. This followed high energy sets from The Raglans, the magnificent Neon Wolf and Engine Alley. Five stages superbly set and all delivering as promised. And as Friday drew to a close, campers headed back to their tents fulfilled and buzzing from the promise of what Saturday would bring.

Over 100 acts would thrill festival goers over the two day event, and it’s worth noting that something like 90% of these acts were Irish- an almighty nod to the depth and diversity of musical talent on tap here.

Guerilla Aerial intertwined themselves amongst the crowds, adding their unique brand of colour and artistry to the festival and heightening that mystical sense which was already in abundance. Poetry, plays and other captivating literary offerings flowed from the Spoken Word tent as fire eaters and freaks mingled outside!

Saturday arrived with a surge in energy as the family friendly event stepped up a gear amid a swell in the crowds- and it was Saturday on which the Whelan’s Big Top came into its own! Kilkenny band Audio Fires took to the stage and delivered a high energy, adrenalin fuelled set. Bursting with electricity from start to finish, the local lads thrilled as the heavens opened outside. Delivering every track from their current EP, plus much more, it was the all action Audio Fires who were to pave the way for the high energy climax to the brand new event. And as the performance got into full swing, so too did the festival- and in every way, this is indeed what a music festival is all about. After the set, front man Paul Hindle spoke to us about the performance and the entire event.

“Believe it or not, we haven’t played in about three weeks because I’ve been under the weather, but I don’t feel like that was apparent in our performance and once the crowds came in it felt really great!”

And he was right! “It’s difficult not to look at the festival from a local perspective”, explained Hindle who is no stranger to the festival scene. “It felt like it took us an hour to get from the car in to register because we knew everyone from the local circuit and I think that’s a sign that can only be good for us and for the festival. And not only in terms of other local acts, but also people we know from Dublin, Cork and Kerry and so on, all coming together here in Kilkenny-it’s great!”

Images by Jamie Barrett.

I couldn’t resist pressing the Audio Fires front man on the future of the festival.

“The first year of any festival is always a tough one, mainly because nobody ever knows what to expect, but we’ve taken in most of it and it’s fair to say it’s been a success. It’s really family friendly, the talent on show is fantastic and the location is great- even the weather has been good with the rain holding off for the best part! It certainly feels like there’s a future for Light Colour Sound.”

This will be music to the ears of festival organisers and the many volunteers who stitched the event together through many weeks of hard graft. Lewis Redmond of Community Radio Kilkenny City is one such organiser, playing an integral part in readying the sprawling venue. “It’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people who have worked around the clock to make it happen, but seeing it all come together and watching everyone having such an amazing time makes everything well worth it” he explained with a look of immense pride beaming from his face. “The line-up is awesome, the crowd is amazing and everyone is loving it. To see it come together like it has, and for it to be happening right here in Kilkenny is just amazing for everyone involved and everyone who turned out to be a part of it.”

Kila delivered a superb performance on the HMV main stage, their energetic brand of Gaelic folk-rock was a major hit as festival goers danced in the afternoon sun. Earlier, another local band, Indigo Eye had rocked the Brodericks Music stage as they prepared to support Mundy in Ballykeefe the following weekend. Gypsy Rebel Rabble took Whelan’s by storm in front of a bumper crowd as the rain subsided outside.

As evening turned to night it was all eyes on the main stage as O Emperor took hold before full-on electric sets from The Barley Mob and the brilliant Jape, before the stunning Wallis Bird and ASIWYFA brought the curtain down in what was a blaze of glory.

The aptly titled Light Colour Sound festival delivered, and above all has bags of potential. A family festival- a music festival, every bit the intimate mosaic one would have expected.

I managed to skilfully track down our competition winner.. (Ok, I accidently bumped into her quite by chance, but go with me on this), and asked her to reflect on the weekend event.

“I couldn’t believe I’d actually won the tickets, I never win anything”, said Shauna Dowd, a Kilkenny native.

“It’s been brilliant, and something we really needed around here, especially with nobody playing Nowlan Park this year. Jape and Wallis Bird were amazing! Thanks to Live and Die in Music for the tickets, it’s been a great weekend. Bring on next year!”

And so as far as this festival is concerned, it is a case of all eyes on next year. The intimate and captivating celebration which had a little bit of everything- Light, Colour, Sound, and a bloke walking around with a huge Toilet sign tucked under his arm (hey, it’s a music festival).

And so, as Ireland’s world renowned festival season hits overdrive, we may rest assured that Light Colour Sound more than holds its own and is in no way out of place amid the big boys.

A bright festival with a bright future. What a weekend!