If you know us at all, you know we like good music, and love a good music festival.

So when the organizers of Castlepalooza generously welcomed us as their guests, we were all over it. A small, intimate crowd of 3,000, set against (what else) but a gothic castle in the middle of a forest near Tullamore, Castlepalooza put on three days of non-stop music on two different stages, complete with a wide selection of great food and cheap beer. It was the perfect recipe for us to enjoy the two things that we love most about music fests: discovering new bands, and intense people-watching of all the crazies who attend. It has to be one of the best music festivals in Ireland!

Castlepalooza Welcome

Castlepalooza Castle


The Music

Admittedly, there were some bands that Pete and I vowed to punch off the stage if they didn’t end the agony quickly. But overall the performances were quite good, and there were some real stand-outs.

Admiral Follow – I’m a big sucker for rock bands that feature classical instruments, and in this case, it was a flute.  This Scottish band has a lot of great variety in their sound and had listeners hopping to their catchy tunes.

Admiral Fallow performs at Castelpalooza


Dry The RiverThis band hailing from East London has an easy listening folk sound that readily encouraged much foot tapping and swaying.

Dry the River at Castlepalooza


Ceili – During the late Saturday afternoon, in the middle of a bunch of alternative rock acts, this traditional Irish band had everyone up singing and dancing. It was such a cool and patriotic spectacle to see, as this large band had the crowd going like no other given an afternoon time slot. The best part about it – where else would you ever see a Teletubby trying to polka?

No Irish festival is complete without a Ceili!

Funny costumes at Castlepalooza


These Charming Men – A band entirely devoted to The Smiths playlist, and they nailed it. The lead singer is Morrissey’s doppelganger in vocal chords and somewhat in looks. They played an extremely spirited hour of music that no one could stop dancing to.

These Charming Men at Castlepalooza 2011


Naughty By Nature – This 90s hip hop duo has been making music for 20 years, and I stood front row, singing along to almost every lyric (how old am I?) They turned their act into a montage of 90s hip hop hits – not just their own – and put on a really stellar show. At the end they even had several fans up on stage dancing with them, making it a most lively way to cap off a great weekend of music.

Naughty by Nature Castlepalooza 2011


The People Watching

It alllll comes out at music festivals. Costumes, decorative make-up, and the most colorful array of wellies (rubber boots) that I’ve ever seen.

People Watching at Castlepalooza

Tigers, grrrrr!

Clap Clap!

Love these Wellies


And of course, there’s always the exceedingly drunk guys who choose to put on a show of their own.

“Can I sit here?” he asked, pointing to the empty spot on the blanket beside me. Pete and I had been watching this guy for hours as he stumbled around our little area from girl to girl, some tolerating him for a short while, but eventually always shushing him away at some point. Seeing as Pete had left me alone to stand in the queue for beer, it was now my turn.

“No, my husband will be right back,” I replied, as politely as I could.

Taking my rejection as an apparent invitation to sit elsewhere, he instead chose the bare grass right in front of me, and boldly reached out to start squeezing my outstretched toes.

“Um, don’t touch me, please,” I said, pulling my feet back in. He looked up at me completely dejected, and seemingly surprised at being so. But this didn’t stop him from trying again.

“So, what’s your name?” he continued. I could barely understand him through the accent and the slurring. When I finally indicated as much, he bravely leaned in until his face was less than a foot from mine. It was then that the full force of his stench hit me then. Likely wearing the same grubby clothes since the start of the festival, he reeked of all things nauseating.

“Could you maybe go away please?” I tried to balance my question kindly with what came next, “You really smell.”

His face turned into a snarl. “You stink like shit,” this odorous prince charming said, “you should go take a shower.” I couldn’t help but laugh, entirely sure that I smelled like roses in comparison. Oops! This encouraged him further.

“Look at how she dresses,” he nodded to a young blonde standing a few feet behind me, wearing shorts that barely covered her ass. I nodded, truly impressed he could even see that far. “She’s hot, you’re not.

“Okay, that’s enough. Go. Now.” At first he refused, leaning in to perhaps insult me further, when a couple sitting in front of me came to my rescue, drawing him into conversation and eventually banishing him from our little area.

Hours later, well after Pete had returned and much reminiscing had been done with Dave and Gemma (my saviours from Cork), we saw our friend being carried out on a stretcher. Passed out to the world, we figured he had been going a good twelve hours or so that day. Gotta admire his endurance.

A big thanks to the organizers of Castlepalooza for a memorable weekend!


29 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • That first photo in the “people watching” section is AMAZING. And actually, this whole event sounds amazing – I’m gonna youtube some of your artist recommendations!
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Camden Lock on the Regent’s Canal

    • August 9 2011

      Thanks Chirsty! The whole event was pretty cool, and some of the bands really knocked our socks off. (Admiral Follow as my favorite!)

  • August 8 2011

    So that’s what happened to Naughty by Nature…always wondered. Love the Teletubby too. Thanks for a fun read.
    Steve recently posted..Eat My Way Through The Ballgame

    • August 9 2011

      They are still going strong (well, not AS strong, but touring a lot). And now, they are even following us on Twitter – woo hoo! 🙂

  • Mom
    August 8 2011

    Amazing people pics. that belong in People’s magazine. I agree a wonderful read. The smelly guy ???? don’t know about him.

    • August 9 2011

      Haha! Don’t know about him either. He was entertaining, at the very least.

  • Gemma!
    August 8 2011

    LOL! Oh the memories of ‘O2’, thankfully he wasn’t the highlight. Pics are fantastic…well done, you really captured the spirit of the day! Looking forward to more posts,
    love your saviours,
    Gem & Dave!!

  • Andrew - The Unframed World
    August 8 2011

    those are the most unhappy lions I’ve ever seen.

    • August 9 2011

      I think the queue for beer was particularly long at that point. 🙂

  • August 9 2011

    I’ve always dreamt of being carried out in a stretcher… 🙂

    Looks like you had an awesome time (minus the drunk arsehole)…
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..For Sale: 1 Private Island – Stunning Views, Quiet Neighbours, Handyman Special

    • August 9 2011

      I’m sure you can make all your dreams come true if you just try hard enough – ha!

  • August 9 2011

    I find it very amusing that naughty by nature are playing a festival called castlepalooza in Ireland 🙂 Sorry about the obnoxious drunk, but looks like a great time otherwise!
    Phil recently posted..Do you Expect to See this in a West African City?

    • August 9 2011

      The obnoxious drunk was just part of the fun of people watching there! Highly entertaining! 🙂

  • August 9 2011

    There is always one eejit to spoil the party. Sounds like a good festival otherwise.

    • August 9 2011

      Ah, the eejit was entertaining, if anything! 🙂

  • August 9 2011

    What an interesting eclectic mix of everything. I never would’ve expected this from something called a “Castlepalooza,” in rural Ireland, no less. Alas, I might just be the first one rolled out of there as it seems, I can no longer party as I used to.
    Sherry recently posted..“Sleepless in Shanghai”

    • August 10 2011

      Ha – me neither! Which is why we chose not to camp, I don’t think i could have taken three nights of the mess we saw around us! 🙂

  • Did you both wear your Teletubby outfits as well?

    I think “These Charming Men” is one of the best band names I have ever heard.
    Caanan @ No Vacation Required recently posted..Awesome Adventures – Northern Lights Edition

    • August 10 2011

      Dammitall, but our teletubby outfits were at the cleanser! 🙂

  • August 9 2011

    Aside from your little charmer this sounds like it was a fantastic day! Wish we had gotten to a festival in Ireland
    Andrea recently posted..Ireland’s Beer Beyond Guinness

    • August 10 2011

      A charmer – he was! All apart of the fun! Yes, too bad you guys couldn’t have made it too… 🙂

  • August 10 2011

    I love festivals and all the people watching. Too bad I am going to miss Hempfest here in Seattle next week – that would be good for people watching 🙂
    Don Faust recently posted..Using Travel Forums and Message Boards for Trip Planning

    • August 10 2011

      Oooh yes – that would be! We love them so much – just lined up another one in Germany for next month. We could easily spend all our time in Europe going to festivals!

  • August 10 2011

    wow- this sounds awesome! I’ll have to see if I can download any of their music!
    jade recently posted..Lifestyle Travel: Beer Tour of Colorado

    • August 15 2011

      Definitely try Admiral Follow and Dry The River. Two of our faves! Oh, and now we’ve been listening to a lot of The Smiths since then too! 🙂

  • August 10 2011

    This isn’t something I would usually attend but it sounds like a lot of fun, especially the people watching. Great article and pictures.
    Bob Crunch recently posted..Bluegreen Communities and Operation FINALLY HOME

    • August 11 2011

      Thanks Bob – you gotta do a music fest at least once! If only for the people watching!

  • August 15 2011

    Your pics are stunning – like, really – WOW.

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