With the second half of the semester well under way and our summer plans quickly filling up, it’s time to take a look at the cornucopia of festivals that our country has to offer. But  beefore you jet off on your J1 or catch a train to Eastern Europe, consider the wealth of music, arts and festivities right on our very doorstep.

Starting in chronological order, just after exams finish, kicking off from the 29th May is the Forbidden Fruit festival very close to home on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. After overcoming initial teething problems, Bulmers have created an elegant and exciting atmosphere to rival the larger events. Combining music, arts, comedy and fashion, this festival offers a more relaxed and understated way to appreciate contemporary talent and at €119 for a weekend ticket it offers great value for money.

Moving on we encounter the most difficult decision of the summer: Sea Sessions or Body & Soul? While not exactly catering for the same audience, both run from the 19th to the 21st of June and offer a chance to get in touch with the great outdoors. The former which takes place on the shores of Bundoran has been gaining momentum since it emerged in 2008. A fantastic, fast-paced weekend combining music and water-sports, Sea Sessions is renowned for showcasing the best Irish talent and we can look forward to Maverick Sabre and Le Galaxie making an appearance this June. If you fancy something a little earthier and like hanging out and relaxing at the Body & Soul corner of Electric Picnic then plan a visit to this Westmeath festival of the same name. Full of the strange, weird and wonderful –this goes for the music and the décor- this experience is sure to open your eyes and help you get in touch with nature a bit more, if that’s what you’re into…

If you go down to the woods of Marlay Park in High summer, specifically the 17th- 19th July, you’ll be sure to see some of the biggest and most current names of the music scene performing at  Longitude’s multitude of stages. Although this festival doesn’t offer a camping experience, it does give you the chance to pick and choose your weekend to meet your own preferences. While lacking a bit in atmosphere and decoration, it makes up for this in the sheer volume of cultural and musical delights that are on offer. This year’s festival is sure to be a sell-out with Hozier, Alt-J and The Chemical Brothers headlining each night.

If you find yourself suffering withdrawal symptoms during the festival lull of late July, take a trip down to Mitchelstown, Cork, to indulge in the hidden gem that is the Indiependence Music and Arts festival. Nestled below the Galtee Mountains, this low-key festival is all about the Music. It sells out every year because of its reputation for boasting the best that Irish music has to offer so don’t hesitate to get your tickets if this sounds like your cup of tea.

As the long days draw to a close and the end of summer is nigh we can rejoice in the knowledge that the best has indeed been saved for last. The Electric Picnic Music and Arts festival began as an alternative understated event and has since grown to become the largest weekend camping festival in Ireland and with this year’s first acts announced, it is shaping up to be one of the biggest and best yet. With something on offer for absolutely every taste, it is not an event that I can even begin to describe, and it simply has to be experienced. For that reason you absolutely must make sure that the only place you will be on the 4th of September is Stradbally Estate.

By Kevin O’Rielly