The State of Mantua: 5 Good Things and 5 Not So Good Things

July 17, 2007 at 4:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Finally found my head again after a mucky weekend down in Ballaghadereen in Co Roscommon at The State of Mantua Festival. Overall, it was a really good laugh, and an excellent mix of the craziest crusties, the loveliest folk and the happiest buzzing people in the land. Enough superlatives!

Here is a summary of 5 Good Things and 5 Not So Good Things from the weekend.

Good Thing:

The Muck – the pink wellies got probably their last outing ever. You can’t have a festival these days without a bit of mud, can ya?

Not So Good Thing:

The Muck – which prevented any cars from travelling on to the campsites. This would have been fine, if not just a wee bit annoying, for punters, but it applied to the bands as well. Bands arriving on Friday night had to leave their cars on the main road outside the festival, and lug their gear in to the crew camping site, which was about a 15 – 20 minute walk. That was just absolutely not on, and down to poor organisation and communication between the organisors, the security and the bands. Still, I’m sure The Skatalites did not have to do the same thing the following day. They’re fecking pensioners for Crike’s Sake!

Good Thing:

Talking to about half the festival on Friday night.

Not So Good Thing:

Waking up on Saturday afternoon realising that I’d talked to about half the festival on the night before.

Good Thing:

Super Extra Bonus Party, Frogpocket, Ten Past Seven, Jinx Lennon, Bluefood, The Skatalites, Marshy in the Comedy Tent, pretty much everything I heard in The Reggae Tent – which was really chilled out and lovely – and The Alphabet Set Tent. Especially the four lads on turntables – they were deadly, unfortunately I can’t remember their name, and can’t find it on The Alphabet Set line-up. Let me know if you know who I’m on about!

Not So Good Thing:

65 Days of Static cancelling, due to (rumour had it on the campsite) being stranded in Knock Airport. Of all the places to be stranded. Good mother of jaysus. (Turns out they weren’t stranded at Knock, but had their own reasons for pulling the show – see the comment by Mike at the bottom of this post.)  Also, The Sultans of Ping didn’t rock my boat – it was all a bit too over-inflated ego squeezed into tacky PVC for my liking. Not impressed. They had a bit of a barney on stage towards the end as well, after the lead singer tripped up the lead guitarist, and it all got a bit childish after that. Storming off stages and the like. Silly sultans.

Good Thing:

Being given berries that had been soaked in poteen in exchange for a rolly by an aged crusty called Mark, who was wearing a WWII helmet and was delcaring war against all the Gardai in the land. A mad auld legend. Looked 65, was probably 35.

Not So Good Thing:

The toilets. All 12 of them for about 2,000 people.

Good Thing:

There was always loo paper in the toilets. And, to be fair, they were rather industriously home-made shacks, so kudos to whichever carpenter who cut out the doors in bear shapes.

Not So Good Thing:

Some farmer-boy-gone-mad hijacked an abandoned tractor at about 4.30am on Sunday morning, driving it into the Comedy Tent, knocking out the generator for said tent as well as The Alphabet Set Tent, thus causing a premature end to proceedings. Fecking eejit! The festivities went on until the late morning of Sunday anyway, tractor or no tractor.

Lots of fun was had at The State of Mantua, so well done to all the organisors and everyone who came down and created a really great, if slightly anarchic atmosphere for the weekend.


  1. Niall said,

    forgot to mention the berries!

    nice post

  2. aoifemc said,

    Nope – they’re under the Ten Past Seven pic of the dude flying up in the air!! Couldn’t forget the berries, that was deadly!

  3. John Cav said,

    Poitin berries. Now I am annoyed I missed out.

    I was volunterring/getting pished at the Galway Film Fleadh. Complimentary Stella! Huzzah!

  4. mike said,

    65 days of static cancelled cos they were due to leave for american tour the following monday and needed to present themselves at embassy in london on friday 13th

  5. aoifemc said,

    Cool Mike, thanks for clearing that up! Still, it was a nice story about being stuck in Knock Airport.

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