More and more down-sized boutique music festivals have been popping up all over Ireland over the past year or two. But Colm O’Herlihy, who started the MDR label earlier this year, has been holding probably the smallest boutique festival for a few years now. Mountain Dew takes place in his own back yard in Macroom and is now in its fourth year, remaining an invite-only affair, which meant that the atmosphere was really lovely. It’s bigger than it has been before, with around 11 bands playing the main stage on Saturday, July 27, alongside DJs like Stevie Grainger, Jack Collins and Toby Kaar. I hadn’t been before and it was an absolute privilege to attend this time around. A big congratulations to Colm, his sister Maire and dad Jerry for all their work in setting it up, inviting people into their home and feeding them too (amazing veggie quiche and curry).

Here are a few things I learned:

Grave Lanterns blew me away. They were so intense, so energetic and the songs just sound huge. They were probably the big winners for me this weekend.

– The Shaker Hymn have certainly got people excited to hear more music, if my car full of people singing them on Sunday morning was any way to judge things. You can hear a track from them on Aoife Barry’s latest Newfound Sounds podcast here.

– A gig in a living room will always feel different and special. When the band is Relatives and the front room is packed but hushed at 3am on a Saturday, you know it’s otherworldly.

– Kudos to Dan Walsh, who played with five bands over the course of the evening.

Toby Kaar will stay up all night telling jokes.

– Moustache Latte’s lead singer Senita can hit the high notes, saving the highest for last. Her right-hand woman Imelda said even she was blown away by it.

– The Rocket Man has an amazing moustache.

Here’s to Mountain Dew 2014!

What did you enjoy most about Mountain Dew? The atmosphere? Camping? The rain in the morning? Let me know in the comments below!

All pictures by Brid O’Donovan.

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Relatives
Things started out with an excursion down to the river for New York duo Relatives. They only played two songs, but the crowd gathered together, with the only disturbance the stream behind. They were wonderful. What a special way to start things off.

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The Shaker Hymn
I wasn’t taken with the Shaker Hymn the first time I saw them earlier in the year, but having seen them twice in the past week, I’ve completely changed my mind. They have some big songs. I think there’s an album due out early next year don’t bet against them.

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Moustache Latte
They probably should have been on later, but it was nice to be able to just appreciate the musicianship on show here. The soul band have some really good songs, and put on a fun show.

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The Mandolas
I don’t really like the medieval sound that the Mandolas peddle but pretty much everybody else did. Good summery music, perfectly suited to the occasion – but it just wasn’t for me.

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Superblondes
They do a mean Walkmen impression which I really enjoyed. I thought Superblondes were good, though for some reason the tent cleared out. Maybe that was everybody trying to make the most of the sun before it disappeared for the evening.

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Elastic Sleep
It was my first time seeing this dream-pop band, the successors to Terror Pop. Muireann and Chris’s vocals complement each other well and their cover of ‘You Only Live Once’ was as good as everybody was saying. I can’t wait to hear more from them.

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Grave Lanterns
This was a visceral, intense show, one that blew me away. I knew they were good – I didn’t know they were that good.

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Young Wonder
It was the first time I had seen Young Wonder as a three-piece, with Colm O’Herlihy taking on guitar duties. It didn’t feel like it had been stuffed in there, as some may have feared, and adds a whole new level to their sound. New track ‘Intergalactic’ sounded good, but ‘Time’ is still their biggest song. I think they may not have been sober though.

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Daithí
Daithí always puts on a fun show. He dropped a feew remixes (including one of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’) in this set, which was on pretty late (2am, I think). And the lights were amazing, too.


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The Great Balloon Race
I missed the start of this set as I was in the living room watching Relatives. But the Great Balloon Race really grew into things as it went on, even though they were probably worse for wear. The last two songs in particular I just didn’t want to end.

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Altered Hours
I think these guys are one of the best bands in Ireland at the moment. Their live show is pulsating, intense, immersive and so much more. ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’ sounds huge live, and the fact it’s surrounded by so many other great songs meant I didn’t want this to end, even though it was what, 5am? I think I could see these guys every week and never get bored of them.

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Everything else at Mountain Dew, including the dew, above

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