For the sun worshippers in Ireland, last weekend’s weather was manna from heaven.

Farmers looking for growth-promoting rain may argue against the “wasn’t it glorious?” commentary.

But for those involved in organising a local show, festival or concert, the sunshine would have been the answer to many prayers.

Walking into the west Waterford woods to Crotty’s Lake, the venue for the main concert of the Comeragh Wild festival, the warm-up act was playing, belting out familiar tunes.

The atmosphere had a certain electricity to it. People thronged into the venue – what was once was a farm – carrying cooler bags of cold cans and their foldout chairs and blankets.

I could only compare it to rodeos or night markets or festivals I have attended late in the evening where weather is a given in far flung places a million miles from west Waterford.

The headline act was Mary Coughlan. While we were getting settled on our blanket at the top of the hill overlooking the stage, my younger daughter repeatedly asked what time Mary Poppins would be starting.

Ever before Mary came on stage, I thought that this name confusion had a note of hilarity to it.

And when she did come on, the legend that she is, with her distinctive and profuse use of bad language as pronounced as ever, she did nothing to dampen that view.

This was my children’s first concert. My own first proper one was the final day of Feile ’93.

small, intimate, independent festivals like this one are so important

The organisers must have considered the Sunday lineup the tamest and most suitable for the children of Ireland. Suffice-to-say they made the event free for under 12s!

My mother considered this either an opportunity or a challenge, loading five of us into her small car, making the trip to Tipp.

She marched us up to the gates of Semple Stadium and defiantly claimed to the ticket checker that “they are all under 12”.

Now for my two small sisters, this was true, even I was plausible but my older teenage sister and 16-year-old cousin were a massive stretch.

She repeated: “They are all under 12.” Time seemed to move very slowly as they stared at each other.

Finally, he winked, smiled, took her ticket and said: “Of course they are missus, have a good time.”

Chris De Burgh was the last to play that day and as Patricia the Stripper came out on the stage, my mother (jokingly, I think!) put her hands over my eyes.

Was there a moment of doubt over her decision to expose her children to the world of concerts?

I was a little bit the same each time that Mary addressed the crowd in her distinctive way last week.

But as the crowd laughed along and the kids went to explore their new surroundings, it left my head.

Mary commented, and it invoked a huge round of applause from the local audience – many of whom were presumably involved with the organisation of the festival – that most concerts are owned and organised by two companies now.

And for this reason, small, intimate, independent festivals like this one are so important.

On Saturday, my mother was in the Ballykeeffe amphitheatre for Hudson Taylor, another local venue, while my sister joined the hoards in Dublin for Westlife.

Although my own taste in music is varied and I have been to everything from that first Chris to Burgh concert to Take That to the Smashing Pumpkins, it will be a long time before I am “nostalgic” enough for Westlife.

Give me Crotty’s Lake any night.

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