Alas, festival season appears to be over again, and the question remains, as it does at this time every year: what is there to do now? Where can we go to dance our socks off to world-class performers for hours on end? Apart from the odd gig from time to time, Ireland fails miserably in this regard. After a summer of top class acts playing in Ireland, the state of our clubbing scene once again comes to the forefront and causes dismay.
Ireland can certainly be considered rural on a global scale, and the electronic dance music scene here is consequently laggard compared to that of our European counterparts. A weekend trip to any of the major cities in Europe shows us that we are sorely missing out. Berlin has a variety of regular, quality club nights, providing something for everyone. Prague enjoys a similarly impressive music scene, with both cities’ clubs open until it’s bright out. The likes of these cities are the focal points of the markets for electronic dance music with Ireland merely hovering on the periphery.
Student nights are marketed solely on the cheap drink they provide – obviously popular, but the music is provided only as a backdrop for getting drunk. Looking for a decent night out is a constant battle. Break–beat or drum and bass nights are few and far between. Ireland’s club scene is over run by chart music, and there are no regular experimental nights. Promising club nights are sometimes announced, but begin in clubs on the edge of town, resulting in a catch-22 situation where they never reach the critical mass required to graduate to the larger, more central nightclubs.
Having accepted that Dublin will never be a city of electronic music, the next best thing is to hope we can keep the festival season going. My prayers seem to have been answered. The city will see an influx of electronic music this month with a few dedicated vinyl junkies presenting Dublin with an electronic arts festival. For four days, DEAF will immerse Dublin in the joys that are part of the culture of many European cities. The festival is attracting top names such as Laurent Garnier and Luke Vibert and will satisfy the needs of techno and electronica lovers for a short while, but something much more dramatic is required in the long term.