Saturday, 6 January 2018

Whelan's Ones To Watch 2018

Farah Elle Whelan's Ones To Watch 2017
Farah Elle, Whelan's Ones To Watch, 2017


All photos: Remy Connolly.

Info: It's starting to feel like there is no such thing as 'festival season' in Ireland anymore, with the explosion of live music, and the insatiable appetite of punters, we demand live music 7 days a week, 12 months of the year, and this is a fabulous situation to be in, long, long may it continue. For me the New Year, in a festival sense, truly kicks off with the annual Whelan's Ones To Watch showcase in association with IMRO which takes place this year from Thursday the 18th to Sunday the 21st of January. 50 plus acts, 4 nights, 3 stages, for the ridiculously paltry sum of €10.00 for all 4 nights, including a free pint of Hop House, there is no better value festival in the country of this magnitude.

This will be my fourth time attending WOTW, and I'm quite excited by the line-up to date, before Christmas the organisers announced that they had received in excess of 300 applications, I really don't envy them their task of whittling that down to 15% of bands that have applied. On a personal level the festival has become my go to point for witnessing acts that I am going to be hearing and seeing a lot of over the next year or two, I think finding 'the next big thing' is a bit too coarse and narrow, but it happens. Acts I've seen live for the first time over the last 2 years, and who have gone on to great things, and established themselves in the groundswell of Irish radio and music critics, include Katie Laffan, Maria Kelly, The Fontaines, Pillow Queens, Hot Cops, Brass Phantoms, Tebi Rex, The Clockworks, WOLFF and so many more. In many cases that trajectory had already started.

The Fontaines, Whelan's Ones To Watch, 2017

With the above Playlist I'm focusing on bands I haven't seen live yet previously at the top, but whose sound excites me, or I've reviewed here on the blog, a notable shout out here has to go to Dublin's Silverbacks. That said, the entire line-up announced to date is unsurprisingly solid. I'm very eager to see Little One, Chancer, Sylk, Lowli, Sarah O'Gorman, ROE, Ailie and JyellowL who I discovered via The Thin Air this week. 

More acts are to be announced over the next two weeks, and it will be interesting to see who will join the festival line-up. One thing that is sure is that punters will be entertained throughout, these are the acts you will be seeing at Forbidden Fruit, Electric Picnic etc. over the next 1-2 years, also, come say hi, I'll be scurrying around with a camera and would love to hear who are your highlights over the weekend. Also, finally, go see Girlfriend.

Tickets for Whelan's Ones To Watch 2018 can be purchased here, with the event page here https://www.facebook.com/events/392490561171182/

Katie Laffan, WOTW, 2017

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