Ahead of the return of Night & Day to County Roscommon this weekend, organiser Craig Hughes spoke to the Roscommon People to explain the reasons behind a change in both date and location for the popular festival…
Hi Craig, Night & Day is officially a ‘summer festival’ this year. What was the thinking behind the change from September?
We held last year’s event in Castlerea in September and got lucky with the weather but we just felt we needed to move it to the summertime when there is a bit more certainty (around weather conditions).
There has been a change of venue too. How will that impact the festival?
Lough Key Forest Park was available in June so we jumped at the opportunity because anyone who’s been here will know what an amazing location it is. Not only is it amazing because it’s so picturesque but also because of the facilities and activities that are here which build on the family-friendly festival we are trying to push.
What are some of the main benefits for festival-goers?
If you are camping the festival, for example, apart from having luxury built-in camping facilities you’ll also have activities like kayaking, boat tours, zip lining, and orienteering around the park so it really is perfect location for us.
How have preparations differed from last year?
I think you’re always learning and this year we had a bit of a shorter turnaround time with last year’s festival taking place at the end of September. We certainly learned a lot from last year because we’d a bit more time in the set up this year, which made a big difference. Last year we were running around frantically like headless chickens but right now we’re ahead of schedule which is great. We’re now looking forward to putting on an even better festival this year.
Tell us a bit about this year’s line-up?
I guess people might be most familiar with The Hothouse Flowers, and interestingly enough, lead singer Liam Ó Maonlaí’s son Cian is one the presenters of the TG4 show that just went out about last year’s show!
We have the likes of Pillow Queens; David Keenan, one of my favourite artists at the moment; Emma Langford, who was a judge in our song contest last year. We also have some international acts like Mercury Rev and electronic music from the likes of The Drifter. As well as that we have homegrown talent; we’ve got Music Generation from Roscommon and a lot of local acts who get to come up on stage alongside some of their heroes.
From a family-friendly perspective, what can people expect?
We are opening the campsite on the Friday and then the music is on Saturday and Sunday so families will be able to explore everything else around the park on Friday and then enjoy a full itinerary on Saturday and Sunday of family-friendly fun. We have lots of musical workshops, circus skills, face painting, nature foraging for medicinal plants, and other kinds of stage-based entertainment. There’s so much here for kids and the family-friendly side of our festival is so important. It’s something that really resonated with people last year and I think that’s why we have so many families coming back this year.