My Westport Festival Review

It was a pleasure to be in attendance at the inaugural 'Westport Festival'. The 'Oxegen' for families was set in  the stunning location of Westport House with a line-up to please the folks and a super little playground to please the kids. It was a near perfect weekend with only the bad weather on the Saturday to complain about.

This review outlines the weekend my family had at Westport Festival of Music & Performing Arts. I'd have loved to have seen way more bands than I did, but as we're a family, hard choices were made between Pirate Ships and music on stage and sometimes music lost! I caught glimpses of many acts and it would be unfair to comment based on a song or two.


The Lost Brothers opened the acoustic stage with a fine performance lifting most of the set from their recently released second album 'So Long John Fante'. As the Acoustic stage was next to the 'Taste of Westport' food area, this became the relaxed laid-back part of the festival site.

When we got to Ryan Sheridan on the main stage he was finishing up with his single 'Jigsaw' followed by a super version of The White Stripes 'Seven Nation Army'. The addition of a full time electric guitarist on stage live with Ryan has given an extra edge to his set.

Next it was onto Sam Amidon on the Acoustic Stage. I really enjoyed his set of folk songs. However it was a struggle for Sam to get into his normal groove on a wet and dreary Saturday afternoon to a smallish crowd. Anyway I am for one a new fan!

We took a trip to the Marquee Stage for The Minutes who pulled a decent sized crowd. However the band proved to me that there's not much substance to their music. Every one of their tracks sounded the same and they struggled to lift themselves out of the ordinary. After a bit we seen Royseven on the same stage who were the opposite to The Minutes. They got the crowd moving, singing and they felt very much apart of the live experience. A highlight from their set was the recent single 'Killer'.

Colin Devlin made a great effort to warm up the crowd with a mix of new songs and old classics from 'The Devlins'. He kicked off his set with the most bizarre cover of Moterhead's 'Ace of Spades' you'll ever hear. The recent single from The Devlins 'Julian' was played and sounded great. Check out the video here:

In the most frustrating stage time clash Colin Devlin, Damien Dempsey and Wallis Bird overlapped resulting on us getting to see only half sets from each. Damien Dempsey on the Marquee Stage was typical Damien Dempsey. 'Apple of my Eye', 'Seize The Day', 'Patience' and the opener 'Negative Vides' were all highlights of a set which included a new song that did not sound out of place at all and hints of a return to form for Damien's next album. 

Wallis Bird performing on her own on the Acoustic Set was a revelation and she received a great reception from the packed crowd. There's nobody out there with more energy that Wallis and she's an artist who effectively uses the loops pedals in her songs. 

I caught a few songs from Lloyd Cole, as well as a few from The Waterboys but by now the heavens opened and we were beat!


We arrived in time for the sunshine pop of Cars Love Girls and they were actually really good. The songs are  full of cheese but Cars Love Girls provide full sounds perfect for a Sunday afternoon. 

We spent most of Sunday at the Marquee Tent. The next band we seen there was 'Kopek' who began playing to a few dozen people but finished their set playing to a packed tent. It was obvious from the onset that 'Kopek' are an experienced band who put on a great show. A highlight from their set was the title track of their debut album 'White Collar Lies'.

Duke Special was for me the best act at Westport. The set was a mixture of his hits to date with a few new songs from 'Oh pioneer' thrown in. Stand out songs were new song 'Condition', 'Freewheel' and this track 'Last Night I Nearly Died'.

Our festival finished with a picnic in the open area of the main stage listening to the wonderful talents of Imelda May and Seasick Steve. When the Sun was blocked by rain clouds we bolted for the door and called it a day!

Best 5 Acts of Westport

1. Duke Special
2. Wallis Bird
3. Kopek
4. Colin Devlin
5. Sam Amidon

Hopefully it was a financial success with Westport Festival returning in 2013!