Midlands Grows To Cambridge Blueprint

Darryl Downey’s second Midlands Music Festival and the first on the new site at Mullingar pulled 12,000 per day and left the Rag Lane Entertainment chief happy that his Irish event is growing on course.

"Promoters and agents always want more and want it sooner and I’d obviously be happier if we’d have had 15,000 this year, but we’re growing towards that and that’s where it will stop," Downey said.

"Cambridge Folk Festival is the obvious comparison because they’ve capped that at around 10,000 although they’ve got room for more. I want to create a similar atmosphere by giving people the same sort of space to relax and enjoy themselves," he explained.

The crowd was 2,000 per day up on last year and the Cambridge blueprint was made more obvious by the fact they overlap on the same weekend. Also, Steve Earle, The Waterboys and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder were high on both bills.

Like many European "summer" festival sites, Midlands was hit by weeks of constant rain but Downey was pleased with how well the Belvedere House grounds stood up to it.

The festival started at Ballinlough Castle, near Athboy, but Downey moved it 30 miles across Westmeath after its first year to get a bigger site with better road access.

The other acts helping to develop Downey’s masterplan July 28-29 included Christy Moore, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Thompson, Aimee Mann, Hothouse Flowers, Gillian Welch, Glen Campbell, and Blind Boys Of Alabama.