Sunday was truly the crescendo of this fantastic festival. The weather had resolved into a pleasant sunny warmth, the growing attendance reached the highest it had been all weekend. Killorglin was packed with crowds enjoying the jam-packed schedule of music and art.
The glorious weather set the scene for the Killorglin rowing club’s annual regatta. All day rowing teams could be seen making circuits up and down the River Laune. Sunday was also one of the more family focused days, with events like the Frozen singalong and various arts and crafts workshops.
Up until K-Fest I had never considered attending a one-man play but the best thing about the line up of the festival is that it encourages you to broaden your horizons and check out new art forms. I attended the showing of James X, a widely acclaimed play written and performed by Gerard Mannix Flynn in The Courthouse venue.
The performance is centered around the titular James as he prepares to make a statement in court. He reads over his confidential file and recalls the events of his life. He enacts his childhood with frantic energy, long dramatic tirades and repetitive tattle-tale chanting impart an image of a chaotic youth interspersed with blunt colloquialisms that serve as a brief break in the tension. The energy builds and builds towards a gut wrenching twist. A truly phenomenal performance.
The biggest event of Sunday was the Screaming Pope Prize, Ireland’s most unique and newest visual art award exclusively organised as part of K Fest.
Every artist exhibiting at K Fest 2015 was considered and the judges admitted to having a very difficult time narrowing the nominees down to just 5 and an even harder time choosing an overall winner.
In the end Lorraine McDonnall was crowned this year’s winner of the The Screaming Pope Prize. Having been previously nominated last year the judges were blown away by her unique style with layer upon layer of detail. They were also impressed by her ability to create her work in front of an audience, a rare skill for many artists.
From The Screaming Pope I made my way back down to Kingston’s to watch the Rusangano Family set. The Limerick rap group’s set turned out to be the most riotous and high energy performance I’d see all weekend.
Rusangano Family stormed about the stage, not that they restricted themselves just to that small space. They sprang off the stage, diving among the crowd, practically forcing the audience to get up off their seats and dance.
They were a blur of motion never staying in the same spot for more than a few moments, spitting staccato, incendiary lyrics into the crowd jumping up onto tables and whipping onlookers into a frenzy. When they finally closed their set the audience was a dishevelled mass of flushed faces absolutely awe struck by the stellar performance they had just witnessed.
The Final act of the weekend for me was the Art Crimes band in Sol y Sombra. The Art Crimes Band is a musical collective from Cork. They performed a raunchy set of jazz, funk and rockabilly. Which served as the perfect backing track for the burlesque performers who took to the stage alongside them. Foxie P Cox lead a troupe of performers in a sexy and fun show in which they mix more conventional striptease routines with comedic acts involving old lady costumes and unflattering nightdresses (these were still absolutely mesmerising).
Overall, K Fest is an amazing festival that celebrates the national art and music scene in Ireland. It really hammers home what an array of wonderful creative artists we have in this country and it’s staggering to see just how much talent we have across so many disciplines.
One of the most poignant things that struck me about K-Fest is just how much it is about community. The entire community of Killorglin had a hand in ensuring K Fest is the best weekend possible, and they were incredibly welcoming. The renovation and revitalisation of buildings that would otherwise remain abandoned is a beautiful idea. The message that despite all the damage the recession has inflicted upon the country there is always hope and life in art is something that will stay with me.
I leave Killorglin with fond memories and a bad hangover, I can’t recommend K Fest enough.
Image used in this article is artwork created by Lorraine Neeson the title of the piece is called The End. The work was installed in P. Sheehans former Sweet shop at K Fest 2015, in an exhibition titled ‘The Mind is the Screen’, curated by Maeve Lynch and Sophie Behal. The show included the following artists : John Smith, James L. Hayes, Lorraine Neeson, Hannah Fitz and Aaron Stapleton.