Right so this year's Milk festival is less than a week away. All involved have done a stellar job at getting the word out in various corners of the gay press from Ireland AM to the Irish Times and even with headliner Roisin Murphy getting front covers with The Dubliner and GCN.
Milk themselves are doing the interactive, building online buzz bit with aplomb too. Their Facebook has been great for getting updates and I've been thoroughly enjoying their Twitter too which has been a good mix of updates, mentions and links to gay news stories worldwide.
With that in mind, here are my top ten reasons to be excited about Milk. With a line up that manages to mix a decent batch of popstars (people can gripe all they want but Alexandra Burke and Sophie Ellis Bextor are damn good at what they do, however "uncredible" they might be), up and coming Irish talent and DJs and performers from various parts of the gay scene.
Top Ten Reasons To Be Excited About Milk (in no particular order!)
1: Roisin Murphy's DJ set: Well look, you don't need me to tell you that Roisin Murphy is amazing. That voice, that fashion sense, that effortless mix of theatrics and ice queen cool mean Roisin is a unique and powerful musical force and one with an unsurprisingly loyal gay following . Roisin is currently developing a DJ set cum live show that should see her tour a leaner production, matching her new way of releasing individual tracks instead of an album. In an age when many artists sign high profile "360 degree" deals to cover touring and recording that do nothing, Roisin's approach is refreshing, practical and a joy to watch unfold. She has "highlight of Milk" already in her glamourous hands and come Sunday morning I'm sure everyone will be gabbing about Miss Murphy.
2: Panti as the MC: Anyone who has seen Panti in all her glory either at her weekly shows, on her must read blog or when she brings her energy to Electric Picnic knows that she is a whirlwind of humour, intelligence and full on glamour (as is her partner in crime Veda who will be playing a set at the festival). Having recently hosted a radio show, performed another successful one woman show and generally just worked her glamourous behind off it'll be great to catch Panti holding court over a gaggle of party-hearty gays.
3: 5,000 gays in a field: Speaking of gays I do think that one of the best things about this festival is going to be the very fact that it's core audience is The Gays (my catch all affectionate term term for any and all in the LGBTQ community) and whatever niche gay term you're throwing around (hello bears! Hiya twinks! What's the story indie gays?) I think we can all agree that Le Gays know how to party and generally have more craic than 99% of other people. Therefore 5,000 of them bopping around a festival for 24 hours is going to be craic-tastic.
4: Bunny's The Hutch: I'm hearing reports that drag doyenne Bunny will be bringing her new weekly show The Hutch to Milk (just one example of the raft of exciting gay talent that is heading festival ward for the weekend). The Hutch has been pulling the punters in a big way since it launched one fateful Tuesday in Pantibar a couple of months back and it's easy to see why the electic mix of burlesque, boylesque (oh yes!), drag, cabaret and performance art has been such a hit already. Having sampled The Hutch recently I'm very excited to see what Bunny has up her sleeve for Milk.
5: The Venue: Having spent the weekend at Ballinlough Castle in Westmeath for Body and Soul earlier this year, I can't recommend it enough as a festival location. Gorgeous surroundings, perfect for camping and camping it up (what? you didn't think I'd make that joke?) if the weather is as good as it's reported to be the place is going to be a proper slice of gay heaven.
6: Bitches With Wolves: My love for this Dublin electro pop act is well known at this stage but following the storming show I caught by BWW at the Academy 2 earlier this year and well recieved slots at both Oxegen and Lovebox, it's exciting to think what new surprises Bitches With Wolves have up their sleeve for the Milk crowd.
7: Headphone Disco With Mother: GCN's electro pop club night has been going down a storm on the gay club scene for the last few months and with good reason. Sweaty, thumping good fun with some of the best DJs in Dublin serving an eclectic mix of tunes, it's become a much talked about and must visit night. The Mother crew are Milk bound to serve up a headphone disco (if you haven't been to one, you haven't LIVED) which will see numerous Dublin DJs go head to head in a pop vs electro showdown. Running from 1:30 am to 6am when the performers have scurried off, you just know this is going to be the craziest part of the festival. And that is a good thing.
8: Alexandara Burke: People like to roll their eyes at X Factor starlets but by God does Alexandra put them in her place. She's got a great voice, looks a million dollars and bristles with a natural stage presence that only the best pop stars provide. Not only that but she's had a batch of hits from a highly enjoyable debut album. Sadly, we don't think she's going to have a meltdown on stage like that time with Beyonce on X Factor but we can dream!
9: Sophie Ellis Bextor: You kind of forget that since THAT dance tune in 2001 that SEB has racked up some big hits, some should have been big hits and become a cult figure for pop fans. From recent collabs with Freemasons, to being the face of Rimmel Sophie has done it all with a grace and style many big time pop tarts lack. Her set is going to be great fun and hopefully a chance to hear some of the new material. Not least her new track with Armin Van Buren:
10: Katherine Lynch: A comedian/TV star who grafted on the gay scene before winning over the Irish public with several hit TV series and a sell out live tour Katherine Lynch will no doubt mix her bawdy humour and cheeky reworkings of hit songs to full effect. I'm a big fan of Katherine's cheeky, ribald humour and its going to be fun seeing her make her original fans belly laugh their way through Milk Fest.
There you go, if you didn't want to buy tickets before you sure will now! For more info on Milk check out their official website. The festival runs this Saturday, with free camping in the rather lovely surroundings of Ballinglough Castle, Co. Westmeath.