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09th Feb 2020

KnockanStockan festival calls it a day, at least for now

Dave Hanratty

Knockanstockan hiatus

“Goodbye for now, but not for good.”

The ‘Christmas of the Summer’ is no more, at least for the foreseeable future.

Independent music and arts festival KnockanStockan has been a popular fixture on the shores of the Blessington Lakes in Wicklow since 2007.

Since then, the event has registered as a cult favourite in the busy Irish festival scene, with scores of homegrown acts enjoying raucous crowds year after year.

On Sunday evening, marketing director Bettine McMahon issued a statement announcing that KnockanStockan 2020 will not go ahead and that the festival is now on hiatus.

“Goodbye for now, but not for good,” the statement began.

“KnockanStockan means a lot of different things to a lot of people. To some it’s just another festival in an increasingly populated calendar, to others it’s the musical highlight of the summer. Some feel it’s home, where you camp, work and hang out for a few weeks every year. To others, it actually is home. Some hold it as a place to have the craic, catch new music and escape the real world for a few days. And to a few of us it’s all of those things and much much more.

“For some of us KnockanStockan became the central focus of our lives, it shaped everything we did. From where we played, who we played with, the places we drank, the loves we found. And some we lost. The husbands, wives and children we have. The trades we’ve learned and the jobs we do. It’s the lessons we’ve learned, the joy, the heartbreak and everything in between. Most importantly, it’s the friends and community who’ve become family over the years. That, and the music.”

Clip via KnockanStockanLive

The statement goes on to note that there is no tangible key factor in the decision to take a break, but that organisers were unwilling to proceed with the event “just for the sake of it”.

“So much has changed over the last 13 years that it’s easy to forget what things were like when the festival started and why it started. KnockanStockan thrived because it had purpose and enough people who believed in that purpose. We were on a mission and it felt like everything we did was important, and looking back maybe it was. Every gig, every song on the stairs, it felt like we were changing the world, and maybe in our own way we were. But things change and that’s ok. The musical landscape in this country has changed dramatically and the scene is the healthiest it’s been in a generation. And we’d love to think that we somewhat fulfilled our purpose and played our part getting it there.

“There’s no one reason why a good thing comes to an end, nor are we sure if this is the end. To be honest we don’t know what this is. All we do know is that KnockanStockan is too important to us and to so many others to just do for the sake of it, without the love and care and passion that made it what it was. If KnockanStockan is going to thrive again it’s going to need to change and that change is going to take time. We’re going to take that time and make sure that what we do next is the right thing for each of us and the right thing for KnockanStockan.”

You can read the statement in full below as posted on the KnockanStockan Facebook page.

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