Summer vibes – the very best blockbusters, gigs and festivals coming your way


Grace Jones will play Trinity
Grace Jones will play Trinity
Kendrick Lamar – arguably the world’s most important musician right now

Paul Whitington and John Meagher round up the very best blockbusters, gigs and festivals coming your way.

Gigs & festivals

Sea Sessions, Bundoran, Co Donegal, June 22– 24

Now in its 10th year, the surf and music festival has gone from strength to strength. Dizzee Rascal, Everything Everything and Rudimental top the international acts, but of the home-grown talent you’ll want to check out Le Galaxie and Delorentos, both of whom have new albums out.


Body & Soul, Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, June 22–24

A favourite among discerning music fans — and one that appeals to parents with young children — this year’s festival boasts a seriously impressive line-up. Fever Ray — one half of Swedish electro duo, The Knife — headlines and there are must-see performances from Jon Hopkins and Iron & Wine.


Billy Joel, Aviva, Dublin, June 23

The piano man doesn’t tour that much any more, so when he does, it’s an event. Of course it would be better to see him playing an indoor venue, but if anyone can tame the sometimes swirly sound at the gleaming stadium on Lansdowne Road, it’s him.


Elvis Costello, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, June 23

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Can it really be 41 years since the former Declan McManus delivered his debut album, My Aim is True? He’s an evergreen performer who appears just as thrilled by the business of playing live as he did in his pomp.


The Killers, RDS Arena, Dublin, June 26

The Las Vegas quartet may have shed two members — for touring purposes only, they say — but Brandon Flowers has been carrying on regardless. Their newest album, Wonderful Wonderful, marks a return to form. Get in early to see a revitalised Franz Ferdinand, who’ve had line-up changes, too.


Roger Waters, 3Arena, Dublin, June 26 and 27

The Pink Floyd member with the most enthusiasm for being on the road brings his Us + Them Tour to Ireland and the promise of plenty of career-spanning favourites, such as ‘Time’ and ‘Another Brick in the Wall’. He may be 74 now, but this rocker is not for fading away.


Kiefer Sutherland, Academy, Dublin, June 30

Best known for his acting chops on the small screen — 24 anyone? — and for several starring roles in blockbuster films, the Canadian has been proffering what one critic described as “whiskey-sodden country music” in recent times. In the Hollywood star-turned-musician category it’s more appealing than the sort of music Russell Crowe has been making.


Alanis Morissette, Iveagh Gardens, July 5

This gorgeous Dublin park hosts several shows during the summer, including this gig by the Canadian songstress, followed by Eels on July 6, The The on July 7, plus Irish acts Damien Dempsey on July 14 and The Academic on July 20.


Groove Festival, Kilruddery House, Bray, Co Wicklow, July 7 and 8

The Anglo-Irish mansion that’s just a short hop from Dublin provides a picturesque setting for a line-up that includes Fun Lovin’ Criminals, The Stunning and Heather Small of M People. There’s a lot of emphasis on making the festival as family-friendly as possible.


Bruno Mars, Marlay Park, Dublin, July 12

The Hawaiian has taken so comfortably to the pop star business that it’s hard to believe that for many years he was a behind-the-scenes guy, writing big hits for others. He has his critics, but there’s no doubting his ability to fashion globally popular anthems such as the once ubiquitous ‘Uptown Funk’.


Longitude Festival, Marlay Park, Dublin, July 13–15

Is this south Dublin festival, now in its fifth year, the natural successor to Oxegen? Possibly, although the absence of camping means it’s not quite the same rite-of-passage festival as Oxegen was. This year’s line-up is hip-hop heavy and includes J Cole, Travis Scott and Solange.


The Flaming Lips, Galway, July 26

The Galway Arts Festival is, deservedly, one of the great cultural happenings in the country each summer and the music programme never feels like a poor relation to the great theatre that’s put on here. The Flaming Lips are the pick of this year’s crop, but Caribou and the home-grown Seamus Fogarty are not to be missed.


Madness, 3Arena, Dublin, July 28

Suggs & Co will be bringing their energetic and playful show to Cork’s Live at the Marquee and the Galway Arts Festival as well as this headline Dublin show. Much of the material will come from the band’s late 1970s, early 1980s heyday but they’ve been in fine creative form in recent years, too.


All Together Now, Curraghmore House, Portlaw, Co Waterford, August 3–5

This brand new festival looks like being a very welcome addition to the country’s already excellent summer music programme and the line-up is eye-catching, too. Fleet Foxes, First Aid Kit, Underworld and Róisín Murphy are among the headline attractions and a strong Irish contingent features Brigid Mae Power and David Keenan.


The Beatyard, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, August 3–5

The Bodytonic crew know plenty about putting on smart music and food events in the city and this festival, now one of Dublin’s hardy annuals, is a delight for both ears and taste buds. The Jacksons are the marquee attraction on the opening night, while brilliant jazz experimentalist Kamasi Washington will make the Saturday extra special.


Indiependence Festival, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, August 3–5

Music lovers are spoiled for choice on the August bank holiday weekend and this much admired and long-established festival has them returning time and again. Primal Scream will headline and an eclectic list of UK names will keep things interesting, among them Kate Nash, Jake Bugg and Everything Everything.


Castlepalooza, Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly, August 3–5

Another popular long-established festival, this year’s line-up may be devoid of big names but there’s plenty of Irish outfits to tempt revellers including Ships, winners of this year’s Choice Music Prize and David Kitt’s electronica alter ego New Jackson as well as comedy from the likes of Karl Spain and Eric Lalor.


Britney Spears, 3Arena, Dublin, August 20

Ms Spears was ripping up the pop charts as a teenager while the Swifts, Perrys and Rihannas of this world were still at school. She may have had her troubles — gruesomely documented by the paparazzi — but Britney will be keen to show she still has it.


Brian Wilson, Vicar St, Dublin, August 21 and 22

Popular music owes a huge debt to the Beach Boys and their mercurial leader. Wilson — who turns 76 next week — may no longer tour with cousin and old bandmate Mike Love (who keeps the Beach Boys name), but he will be joined by former Beach Boy Al Jardine for these intimate, greatest hits shows.


Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois, August 31–September 2

Still the Irish festival that sets the bar for all the others, this year’s instalment features a mind-bogglingly large selection of music, comedy, spoken word, politics and much, much more. Kendrick Lamar (pictured) — arguably the world’s most important musician right now — is the main attraction, and there will be appearances from Massive Attack, Dua Lipa, N.E.R.D., St Vincent… the list goes on.


Grace Jones, Trinity Summer Series July 23

Four decades on from her first few startling albums, and the Jamaican veteran remains as singular as ever. Jones has followed her own path from the start and her bloody single-mindedness is a cause for celebration. This summer series of gigs at Dublin’s oldest university also features dates from Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and Bryan Ferry.


Live at the Marquee, Cork July 13

The Leeside carnival of music is already under way – a-ha, Don McLean and Bell X1 have come and gone in the past week. But the eclectic mix of international and Irish names continues for the next fortnight.

Dubliner Gavin James is the star attraction tonight and while Picture This (June 19 and 20), the Script (June 25 and 26) are bound to pull in the masses. 2fm DJ Jenny Green and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra also play a pair of shows (June 22 and 23).

Tomorrow night sees a performance from Chic (fresh from a show at Malahide Castle tonight) and James Bay will be in town on June 27. The wildly diverse nature of Live at the Marquee is illustrated by the final three nights: comedian Dara Ó Briain is on June 29, Christy Moore plays on June 30 and Nathan Carter brings the curtain down on July 1.


Paul Simon, RDS July 13

The title of the tour says it all: Homeward Bound – the Farewell Tour. Simon, one of the great songwriters of his generation, is adamant that, at 76, he is giving up life on the road, so this is almost certainly the last chance to see him play on Irish shores.

From his first releases in the mid-50s, the New Yorker was hailed as a tunesmith of rare distinction and enjoyed global popularity when teaming up with Art Garfunkel in the mid-1960s. His post-Simon and Garfunkel innings has been just as auspicious and his era-defining 1986 album Graceland remains a landmark work in a long career full of highlights. This tour kicked off in Canada last month and Simon has delivered career-spanning, crowd-favourite sets night after night.



Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado

(June 29)

Denis Villeneuve’s grim thriller Sicario was a stylish hit three years back, but this sequel is not directed by the French-Canadian, and may not be as good. Benicio del Toro reprises the role of Alejandro Gillick, a US government agent with a shady past who returns to his native Mexico to foil a cartel plot to smuggle Jihadi terrorists into America. Josh Brolin and Catherine Keener co-star.


Ocean’s 8

(June 18)

Whether or not we need an all-female sequel to the Ocean’s 11 films, we’ve got one, and it’s a lot of fun. Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s character Danny, who’s released from prison and promptly assembles a team of ne’er-do wells to stage a daring jewel heist at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Rihanna co-star.


Dublin Oldschool  (June 29)

David Tynan and Emmet Kirwan’s film based on Kirwan’s play is a hard-hitting drama exploring the perils of so-called recreational drug use. Kirwan is Jason, a fun-loving Dubliner whose weekends pass in a blurry haze of drink and drugs. But when he runs into his missing heroin-addicted brother down a city lane, Jason realises he has a stark choice to make.


Whitney  (July 6)

The second major documentary on the life of Whitney Houston to be released in the last 12 months, Kevin Macdonald’s film uses a wealth of previously unseen archive footage to explore the singer’s tragic descent into drug addiction and personal chaos. Crucially, however, it was made with her family’s blessing, so may be less hard-hitting than Nick Broomfield’s Can I Be Me.


The Secret of Marrowbone (July 13)

This is a horror film with a twist, set in the late 1960s. A mother and her four children have fled to a house in rural America to escape the attentions of her psychotic partner, but though they do their best to put the darkness behind them, the past catches up with the family in spectacular fashion. George MacKay and Anya Taylor-Joy are among the fine cast of this nicely original chiller.


Skyscraper (July 12)

The disaster movie has long been a staple of the silly season and this ­production looks pretty bloody ­calamitous. Dwayne Johnson is Will Sawyer, a former FBI agent who’s just moved into a hi-tech Hong Kong skyscraper with his family when terrorists attack and it catches fire. And so to save his loved ones, The Rock must break in.


Incredibles 2 (July 13)

Pixar’s attempts to follow-up their classic hits have not always been uniformly successful, and Incredibles 2 has a lot to live up to. The Parr family have grown tired of concealing their superpowers when a politician offers them a way out. And while Helen goes off to fight a mysterious new villain, Bob is left at home minding the super-kids.


Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

(July 20)

The 2008 original grossed 10 times its budget and inspired ghastly cinema singalongs, and this frothy sequel will be hoping to do likewise. Young Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is pregnant and rather nervous about it until some old friends tell her how her mother managed to raise a child alone. Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski and the songs of Abba co-star.


Mission Impossible — Fallout  (July 26)

At 55 and three-quarters, old Tom still cuts a dash as the skyscraper-scaling secret agent Ethan Hunt, and in this all-action sequel, the world is in deep do-do again and he’s the only man who can save it. Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg reprise their roles in a film that will no doubt do exactly what it says on the tin.


Ant-Man and the Wasp (August 3)

In the Marvel universe, even a modest and whimsical hit like their 2015 release Ant-Man gets an expensive sequel. At least it stars the winning Paul Rudd as former burglar Scott Lang, who’s getting used to parenthood and his new responsibilities as a superhero when he teams up with a glamorous female to combat a new enemy.


The Meg (August 10 )

No one makes films about killer sharks any more, do they? At least this one has a relatively unique selling point, as the villain of the piece is a 75-foot prehistoric behemoth that rises from the depths to lay waste to a coastal resort. In its way stands a growling Jason Statham, which suggests the whole thing may be a trifle tongue in cheek.


The Happytime Murders (August 17)

Though the Sesame Street people were not one bit amused, this new comedy set in a dark fantasy world where puppets are reviled second-class citizens looks genuinely funny. Melissa McCarthy and Joel McHale star as FBI agents on the trail of a muppet killer who’s targeting members of a 1980s television show.


The Equalizer 2 (August 17)

Denzel Washington excelled in The Equalizer, a 2014 action thriller based on a classic 1980s TV show, but one felt that murderously efficient former CIA man Robert McCall was only getting started. He goes to war with all manner of unpleasant people in this sequel when he finds out that an old friend has been murdered.


Crazy Rich Asians (August 17)

Good romantic comedies are like hen’s teeth these days, and the advance word is strong on this film based on Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name. Chinese-American academic Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) has flown to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) to attend a wedding when she discovers that he hails from a wealthy and rather dodgy family, and that every woman in the country is after him.


Leave no Trace (August 25)

Early word on this taut Debra Granik thriller has been excellent. Ben Foster, a criminally underrated actor, plays a grizzled US army veteran who’s raising his teenage daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) off the grid in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon. They live in a tent, hunt for food and read improving books, but when the girl allows herself to be spotted by a hiker, their wild idyll is threatened. Looking forward to this one.


The Spy Who Dumped Me (August 28)

Most Bond spoofs are not very funny, but this one may just be a cut above the rest. Mila Kunis, who’s been absent on maternal duty in recent years, returns to the fray playing Audrey, a young woman who gets mixed up in international espionage after discovering that her ex-boyfriend is a spy. Kate ­McKinnon and Gillian Anderson co-star.




The eternally youthful Keanu Reeves stars in this promising looking sci-fi thriller about a synthetic biologist living in fascistic future state who refuses to accept that his family has perished in a car crash, and does all in his power to bring them back to life. Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch and Emily Alyn Lind co-star.


Sorry to Bother You (September)

Boots Riley’s satirical comedy went down a bomb at Sundance and fearlessly wades into America’s fraught race politics. Young black man Cassius Green is struggling to make his way in the world until he gets a job at a telemarketing company and discovers he has a talent for putting on a white voice. Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Danny Glover and Armie Hammer co-star.


American Animals (September 7)

The hugely talented Barry Keoghan delivers another extraordinary ­powerful performance in Bart Layton’s psychological crime thriller. Keoghan is Spencer, a small town youth who rejects his pampered bourgeois ­background and join forces with his best friend to stage an ill-advised robbery.


Black 47 (September 7)

Lance Daly’s hugely ambitious ­historical epic is set against the ­backdrop of the Great Famine and stars James ­Frecheville as a Connemara man who returns home after military service overseas to find that his family has been decimated, and vows revenge on those he considers responsible. It’s entertaining, and unsettling.

Galway Film Fleadh July 10 -15



One of the most convivial and creative events in the Irish cinematic calendar, it always delivers a rich programme of Irish and international features and documentaries, and some impressive special guests. Though the full programme has not yet been released, highlights will include Matthew Holness’s Possum, a chilling horror film about a disgraced puppeteer with a dark past, Limerick director David Gleeson’s moody psychological thriller Don’t Go, and the charming stop-motion animation Captain Morten and the Spider Queen and Katie (pictured), Ross Whitaker’s documentary about the boxer’s bid to rebuild her career, gets its world premiere.

Indo Review

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