Body & Soul and Sea Sessions are behind us, but that doesn’t mean that festival season is over. In fact, it's only just begun. Choosing just one can be tricky, so here Michelle Ruddy tells us all there is to know about Castlepalooza.
Described as the “overall best festival” by the Irish Independent, Castlepalooza is already on a pedestal in proving that good things come in small packages.
 
Taking place on July 31st to August 2nd this year in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, this wooded wonderland is already making a big name for itself and not just because of its fantastic line up. 
 
From psychedelic pop bands like Of Montreal, to DJ’s like Alex Metric and a little bit of Fight Like Apes thrown in along the way, Castlepalooza has something to suit everyone. 
 
Although it’s labelled primarily as an Indie Rock festival, there’s a bit of everything thrown into the mix. Other big names such as Jape, Fryars and Aeroplane will also be performing at this year’s event.
 
This royal rave in the woods is one of Ireland’s smaller festivals, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Selling on average 2,500 tickets a year, it’s very easy to mix and mingle with the new people you’ll meet, making some great friends along the way. 
 
It was named “best of the fests” by the Sunday Times, and surely that has to mean something!
 
There are four areas to camp on site, and you get to take your pick of Eenie, Meenie, Miney or Mo. For those of you who are feeling a little more luxurious, there’s also boutique camping on site; 4 or 5 metre pitched bell tents with a carpeted interior. 
 
Boutique camping works out at €33 per person per night, but it's worth the extra money if you like your comfort. If the camping life is really not for you however, you can check into one of the many hotels nearby.
 
Cost of tickets can be a little tricky to grasp on Castlepalooza’s website, but I’ll try to break it down as best I can. 
 
A three day ticket including castle camping is €94 (plus booking fee), a three day ticket without camping is €75, Sunday only without camping is €50, a camper van ticket is €50 and a three day ticket camping on the Moat site is €89. 
 
Not a very pricey festival at all for somebody on a student budget, especially once you compare it to the likes of Body & Soul or Electric Picnic.
 
Castlepalooza has all the regular services on site; water, toilets and showers. But something that makes it stand out from the rest is this – it has broadband available. For those of you who are keen on making sure the world knows just how much fun you’re having, this will be absolute bliss.
 
Due to the alcohol license issued, you can’t bring your own alcohol to Castlepalooza. This is a pain, no doubt, but full bars are open from 10am to 10pm every day and there’s even an off license on site where cans can be bought in bulk. 
 
Bargains at the bars are always guaranteed too, so it won’t put too much of a downer on your weekend.
 
A festival favourite, Vodafone Centre Stage will be the main stage at Castlepalooza this year. Vodafone will also have a fully stocked costume shop at the festival, all ready for Sunday’s fancy dress theme which is yet to be revealed. Headliners will be performing on the Vodafone Centre Stage all weekend long.
 
The Bavaria Stage will be blaring tunes until all hours of the morning, and it also has its own craft beer bar. This is a new edition to Castlepalooza and it's one that’s sure to impress. 
 
The Courtyard is an intimate new area to party in, and has been extended this year to reveal hidden rooms, meaning you can experience the surreal tunes while inside the walls of Charleville Castle.
 
Castlepalooza is a green event and their goal is to become Ireland’s most environmentally friendly festival. The majority of food and drink is locally produced, showers will run off solar panels and they even have a policy that at least 50% of their acts are based in Ireland, resulting in fewer miles travelled to reach the festival and very little use of air transport.
 
They also have an “Every Can Counts” scheme, where festival goers who recycle their cans can win lots of different prizes including organic t-shirts, rain ponchos and much more. 
 
As with the majority of festivals, Castlepalooza is an over 18’s event, and photo ID will need to be shown to enter the event and to buy alcohol if the seller is in doubt. 
 
Under 18’s are permitted entry if accompanied by an adult, but will not be allowed entry into bars.
 
If you’re looking for a music festival that won’t break the bank, Castlepalooza is definitely worth looking into. With a fantastic line up and tunes that go on all night, it’s time to find out why everyone’s talking so highly of this little festival.