Dublin's Metropolis shows demand for a big winter shindig - and summer festivals are selling out in record time...
Metropolis Festival will return to Dublin's RDS this weekend with DJ Shadow, Grace Jones and Jack Garratt among the headliners.
Filling the gap between the end of the summer festival season and the on-set of Christmas, last year's inaugural outing drew huge crowds. However, promoter Declan Forde told Newstalk that when John Reynolds, the man behind Electric Picnic, first floated the idea, he and his colleagues "all thought he was mad - but went along with it anyway."
Metropolis Festival / Facebook
"It wasn’t something that we were sure would work or that people would go for," he reflects - adding that the event immediately "struck a nerve" with Irish music fans when it was launched during the summer of 2015.
While Metropolis has fast-become an established fixture and major summer festivals like Electric Picnic, Longitude, and Body and Soul are back selling out weeks (and months) in advance - it remains to be seen whether we've reached peak-festival in Ireland or if more events will pop up.
Forde told Newstalk that it is "hard to say" if any gaps remain in the market - adding that like most innovations, the next big idea will probably seem obvious "in hind sight."
The space between the start of the new year and May is the only stretch with no major festival - although it could be a challenge to get music fans to open their purse strings again after the festive season. This period also coincides with the summer big guns revealing their line-ups and starting their summer promotional pushes.
Katja Ogrin EMPICS Entertainment via PA/ Grace Jones live in 2015
Metropolis has taken cues from Sonar in Barcelona - mixing a robust schedule of talks and panel discussions with its electronic-leaning music lineup at a city centre location.
The Red Bull Music Academy's bill includes talks with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, Wolfgang Flur of Kraftwerk fame, and poet/rapper Saul Williams. Forde describes Metropolis as a "thinking man’s electronic music festival."
Staging a festival in the winter offers both positives and negatives for promoters and organisers. Punters can be creatures of habit and last year Metropolis faced a challenge to add a new date into their diaries during a time of the year when entertainment spending traditionally dips.
On the plus side - it is the only major event targeting this season, meaning that it avoids the intense competition for headlining acts and punters' attention which festival organisers face during the summer season.
Metropolis takes place this weekend, with DJ Shadow headlining the opening party on Thursday night. General admission weekend tickets are available, with Friday/Saturday tickets priced at €145 - and three day tickets are on sale for €165.50.