BUSHMILLS VILLAGE, Northern Ireland, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Remember when festivals weren't mainstream? Now these giant events are part and parcel of the summer festival season along with the ubiquitous ponchos and wellies. If the crowds and predictable line-ups are leaving you cold, take heart, the new rock spot on Ireland's north coast is a little town called Bushmills, where whiskey and music meet for a unique festival spirit that offers something different.
The whiskey and music event called Bushmills Live stands out not least because it's the world's only music festival in an Irish Whiskey distillery but it also gives you a chance to enjoy handcrafted Bushmills Irish Whiskey alongside some of the world's biggest and emerging bands and singer-songwriters - with just 500 other music lovers.
Just imagine, two days spent amongst the pot stills, barrels and warehouses of the Old Bushmills Distillery listening to global stars Of Monsters and Men and Jake Bugg, as they perform alongside up-and-coming acts and friends, Foy Vance, Willy Mason and Iain Archer.
Davy Matchett, music mogul, co-founder of artist development business, Third Bar and festival goer, did just that and here's what he had to say…
It's an incredible feeling, being in a room and suddenly realising that everything around you was created, not by machines or by robots, but with a pair of human hands.
This is hardly the first thing that strikes me about County Antrim's famous Old Bushmills Distillery, where Bushmills has combined spirits and spotlight for two truly unique days of music - that honour goes to the iconic smell of the amber nectar that's being distilled, blended and bottled all under this one roof - but it's certainly the idea that stays with me the longest.
From the 3D art installation made out of cask wood that replaces the typical festival posters, to the ancient-looking casks that line the walls, to the walls themselves, everything appears to be a product of human hands, be they young, old or a few hundred years gone by.
The sounds, too, have been lovingly handcrafted by the foremost musical experimenters, men and women who have been welcomed from all over the world to this intimate spot among the barrels and pot stills.
Tonight's show leaves little space for programmed beats or quantized melodies. Each note is only heard because talented musicians such as David C Clements and VerseChorusVerse command their fingers into action, in the same way that each drop is only tasted because a pair of hands tipped some grain into a mash tun a few years back.
As music techs fumble about with guitars and friends knock their glasses to a clink, I find myself focussing on the 500-or-so pairs of hands in the room, some of them wildly gesturing to illustrate inaudible anecdotes, others patiently tapping the side of their tumbler in time with the music.
There are hands from some 15 countries here, clapping, taking pictures, pummelling the air and heartily patting the backs of artists so celebrated we usually only get to see them as tiny, insect-like figures from some faraway point in a crowded field.
Locals mingle with visitors, headliners mingle with fans and band members mingle with other band members for a host of impromptu, one-of-a-kind collaborations. For the most part, technology takes a back seat. No-one is watching the show on a screen, not least the performers themselves, who spend their down time literally rubbing shoulders with the crowd.
On a night like this, there are plenty of excuses to strike up a conversation; the song choices, the drink choices, that amazing distillery aroma that wafts about like it owns the place (and, in a way, I guess it does). If anything can get people talking, it's music and whiskey.
As I shake my umpteenth hand of the evening, it gets me thinking about how few of my own possessions have been put together by humans.
For all the talented creative types out there using technology to tell their stories, there's something hugely refreshing about Bushmills Live, the only festival that finds its inspiration in age-old craftsmanship. Nights like this one remind us that handmade is not a lost art, just a rare and special one.
About the author
Davy Matchett, 37, is a co-founder of Oh Yeah Music Centre and a director at Third Bar Artist Development in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
About Bushmills Live
Bushmills Live is a unique two-day festival celebrating handcrafted whiskey and music. Headlined by internationally acclaimed indie folk band, Of Monsters and Men, it took place on Ireland's stunning North Coast on 19th and 20th June 2013.
Only 500 tickets were available globally for Bushmills Live, which saw both established and emerging artists share the stage for a series of intimate gigs in age-old buildings at the historic Old Bushmills Distillery, where the art of distilling has been perfected over generations.
Music and whiskey fans won the chance to attend the festival by entering a ticket draw on the Bushmills Irish Whiskey Facebook page - facebook.com/bushmills1608.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For highlights from Bushmills Live:
SOURCE Bushmills Irish Whiskey