3,500 people to attend Ireland’s first big music festival for 16 months

Gavin James, Denise Chaila and more to perform at Royal Hospital Kilmainham on July 3rd

Ireland’s first big music festival for 16 months is due to take place at Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin, on Saturday, July 3rd.

The lineup in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art is to include Gavin James, Lyra, Denise Chaila, Sharon Shannon, Wyvern Lingo and Wild Youth, each of whom will perform full sets. The event will be hosted by the 2 Johnnies.

The festival will include an entry requirement of rapid antigen testing for each of the 3,500 people who will be allowed to attend; ticketholders, who must be 18 or over, will get details in advance.

Tickets will be sold in pods of four or six people, with lead-person contact details required for contact tracing. They go on sale at 9am on Friday, June 25th, for €39.50 per person plus a Ticketmaster service charge.


Control measures to protect artists, staff and fans include staggered access times, socially distanced queuing systems, hygiene stations, enhanced cleaning regimes, easily accessible toilets, socially distanced seated and standing pods for the audience, and the wearing of masks outside pods. Social distancing at the festival will be reduced from 2m to 1m.

Promoters have asked people not to attend if they have Covid symptoms; if people are ill, their tickets are fully refundable.

It’s unclear whether there will be testing or follow-up after the concert, or how the pilot will be assessed.

The festival follows James Vincent McMorrow's pilot concert at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin on June 10th, which 500 people were permitted to attend.

Minister for Arts Catherine Martin said the festival “marks a significant step forward towards larger gigs in the coming months, subject to the public-health situation”. She has set aside 500 free tickets for frontline healthcare workers “as a gesture of thanks for their hard work and dedication during the pandemic”.

She said the pilot events are “critical on the road to reopening live entertainment” and would help the Government to plan management of events while Covid is still circulating, and “build confidence in the guidance and event-management protocols developed to keep everyone safe”. The Minister added that antigen tests were being used at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham festival “to help consider the logistics of them as a means of gaining entry to live events as the sector reopens”.

The event is being produced by MCD in association with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Office of Public Works, and Dublin City Council.

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times