Festivals - Guide

The Conncert at The Lodge, Co. Mayo

It’s been our decade-plus pleasure to remind readers that, beyond the bigger cities on this particular floating landmass, we are extremely fucking blessed to have myriad sound heads making it all happen for independent Irish music – very often for the love of it, above all else.

Throw in the fact that what those heads are making happen is often wonderfully world-beating in quality, not to mention how it builds and supports communities where they would literally otherwise cease to exist, and we are positively consecrated with the absolute craic.

Should you wish to experience the square root of this exact celebration of the scene as we know, get yourself to the Lodge, a 120-year-old pub overlooking Lough Conn in County Mayo on Saturday, August 3rd for inaugural outing of The Conncert.

We’re told that the seeds of this new, one-day festival were “first germinated when Ballina Punx legend Conor Hickey realised that two of his friends had independently, and unknowingly, been planning the same event.”

Those two individuals, Co. Mayo musicians John Breslin and Patrick Hallinan, have went above and beyond to curate a forward-pushing bill featuring local and extralocal alternative artists, a space, they say, “to celebrate the DIY values shared among those artists and a chance for some very good craic while doing so”.

Lining up for the inaugural Conncert is Poor Creature (featuring members of Landless & Lankum), a solo show from Cork improv master Dan Walsh aka FIXITY, Belfast-based quartet Junk Drawer (full disclosure: of which I’m a member – anyway, pints), Hands Up Who Wants to Die and Cobra Truth from Dublin, Rún (like Poor Creature, from Sligo), Y0P (representing Ballina Punx) and John of the Apocalypse from Dublin via Ballina. Sound will be monitored and engineered by Ireland’s nicest man, Patrick Cullen of The Altered Hours. 

The Conncert crew grew up immersed in Ballina’s underground and punk scene, and they’ve carried this influence into various musical endeavours: Community of Independents in Dublin and Cushty Gamut in London (Breslin), Ballina Punx (Hickey), and Inner Ear in Galway (Hallinan). Embracing the ethos of mutual support and independence, this gig ensures that all proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the artists and sound engineer involved.

Hallinan said: “We’ve such a rich vein of interesting music in Mayo and beyond, so it feels good to do something supportive and to bring folks together to enjoy this.” 

And Breslin, who went to national school only a stone’s throw from The Lodge, said: “It feels great to bring these brilliant and weird acts so close to home.  

“I’ve done a bit of touring around the DIY community in Europe and the US and have always been blown away by how well we’re looked after. So the plan is to bring a bit of that to the Conncert and hopefully show the players and attendees a fantastic time,” he added. 

The Conncert takes place in The Lodge, Cloghans, Lough Conn, Co. Mayo (F26 XY81) on Saturday, Aug 3rd 2024 from 3pm. Tickets can be bought here for a surely record-breakingly reasonable €20. Essential.

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