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Open Ear 2024: A Guide

Without a slither of a shadow of a doubt, Open Ear is out there, reigning supreme as the island’s finest summer festival.

Since launching back in 2016, the festival has consistently re-affirmed its status as Ireland’s most essential haven for open minds and curious ears – a standing that it’s set to nail down for its sixth edition on the stunning North Shore of Sherkin Island, West Cork, this weekend.

Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or an absolute newcomer, this year’s line-up is as vital as they come. From Thursday, May 30 until Monday, Sunday June 2, perfectly-pitched venues and live performance spaces, from the frankly legendary Banger Cliff on The Secret Beach, to the Franciscan Abbey, St Mona’s Church and the Jolly Roger Pub, will host myriad forward-pushing artists, producers and DJs from these shores and beyond.


As with previous editions of the festival, this year’s line-up is another masterfully curated affair. As well as highlights including Hilary Woods, Vacant Heads, Mohammad Syfkhan (on Thursday night), da Googie aka Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine and Gnod R&D, to name just a few, the programme features some fully essential exclusive one-off collaborations from the likes of Amanda Feery and Eimear Walshe, Elaine Howley & The Cyclist, and Kate Carr & David Donohue.

Speaking about the collaborative thread running throughout the weekend,  festival co-organiser Dion Doherty, aka Belacqua, said: “It’s of huge importance. When we started the festival we were pretty unique in the Irish musical landscape of the time. Now there are so many great festivals focusing on Irish experimental music, and even the more mainstream festivals drink from the same pond.”

Best of all, unlike some of Europe’s very best experimental festivals, Open Ear doesn’t cater to choice paralysis. On Sherkin Island, every slot is given its due, with no overlap between sets throughout the weekend.

Revisit our recent interview with Elaine Howley and The Cyclist, as well as Doherty, here.

Check out the day-to-day breakdowns, along with a selection of highlights from some of our must-sees, below.




All Weekend

Dennis McNulty – I LAND

I LAND is a soundwalk created by Dennis McNulty. To access this, simply download the Echoes App (available from all stores). Open Ear describes it as “a permanent sound installation that starts at St Mona’s Church and goes all the way to the secret beach.”

Eden. by Sorcha Browning

Winner of the inaugural Open Ear / TU BAVA Graduate award. Eden. is, as organisers tell us, :a looped installation on 2 sculptural screens and will be on display in the Community CentreTimetables.”

Some additional info


At the time of writing, this year’s festival is down to its very last remaining weekend tickets. Hop over here to secure yours now. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Sunday tickets are also on sale. An absolute steal at €85.20 for such a world-beating line-up throughout the day. You wouldn’t get anything like it at the Picnic.


Waking up on Sherkin Island, surrounded by the soundest heads kickstarting their day, is something everyone should experience at least once. As well as regular camping, quiet camping, campervan and glamping options will be available at this year’s festival. Both glamping and campervan tickets are currently sold-out.


As you will appreciate when you get there, cars or other vehicles are not permitted on the island during the festival, but you can bring your bike.

Coming from Dublin or Cork but don’t fancy driving? The last remaining bus tickets (12.30pm Dublin at Custom House Quay and St. Patrick’s Quay in Cork at 3.30pm) can be bought here.

Directions to Sherkin Island via Baltimore are available on the Open Ear website.


This year’s festival isn’t simply carefully curated on the sonic front. Across the weekend, various food vendors will be at hand for your every culinary whim.

Open Ear said: “Bahay with their tasty fusion of Irish & Filipino food; Nolwen’s Street Food & Good Yolks dishing up tasty breakies; E Woks with the best name in the street food game; Happy Valley with their insanely good coffee and pastries: this year’s OE has something for every palate.

As well as the above mentioned taste purveyors, we have a very special lil stall being run by the new Ukrainian community of Sherkin, who will be selling traditional Ukrainian savoury pancakes, BBQ and pastries.”

Oh, and there will also be a barrel sauna positioned on Silver Strand. Game-changer. See you on the island.

For all other info, head over to the Open Ear website and Instagram page

Let’s leave Sherkin Island as we found it. Go here to learn more about the island

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.