No stranger to Macroom, Jerry Fish tells MARIA ROLSTON he’s looking forward to performing at the ‘great carnival weekend’ there
THERE’S a carnival coming to Cork this summer and platinum-selling eccentric Irish artist, Jerry Fish, is going to be at the heart of it. The Townlands Carnival returns to Cork for the second year running and will take place outside Macroom at Leades House, Rusheen, from Friday, July 8, to Sunday, July 10.
Jerry Fish, lead singer of hit 90s band An Emotional Fish and theatrical performer in his own right, will headline the opening night of the festival, kicking off what he expects to be “a great carnival weekend”.
“I’m a massive fan of circus and I’m really delighted there’s a festival with such a big heart happening in Cork,” said Jerry.
“You can do an awful lot of good with a good festival and the Townlands organisers are doing this for all the right reasons; it’s all about community spirit and my show is as much about audience as it is about the band. I just hope the audience all become one big family while I’m on stage,” he said.
It’s not the first time the enigmatic performer has spent time in the Macroom area. He has previously staged his Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club and Electric Sideshow gigs in Cork city but what few people know is that he and his An Emotional Fish bandmates spent several months living outside Macroom, recording their second album, Junk Puppets, in 1992.
“We were there for about eight weeks. U2’s sound engineer Joe O’Herlihy had a recording studio in Ballyvourney so we went down there to write our second record. As a city person, it was the first time I’d seen all the leaves fall off a tree and really feel at one with nature.
“I also learned to ride a horse down there, at Raleigh House outside Macroom, so I have lots of fond memories of the area. I know the fairies are there and I’m really looking forward to going back,” he said.
Jerry, who describes himself as “a bit of a hippy and a real family man”, said he’s thinking of bringing his four kids to Townlands and he might even camp out at the festival for the whole weekend.
“At festivals, when you’re camping, you go to sleep and wake up on the earth and everyone gets to know each other. My drummer, Jeremy [Hickey] from RSAG, will be playing on his own as well and there’s a really great line-up of Irish and international acts to see.
“I won’t plan beyond tea time but I might bring the kids with me to Townlands. They all really love that kind of life and adventure and having children at festivals makes people behave better,” he said.
Townlands director, Sam Beshoff, said that as well as the hugely diverse line-up of musical acts which includes major US hip hop duo Blackalicious, Natty and the Rebelship, Daithi and dance DJ Nick Warren, there’s also a big emphasis on art, comedy, kids, circus-style entertainment and the environment at this year’s carnival.
“This year’s festival is going to be twice as big as last year’s. We’ve gone with a New Orleans, Mardi Gras- style carnival, where anything goes, so you can expect to see and hear all sorts of theatrical things,” he said.
“We’ve got five new music stages, a great comedy line-up and the kids area has grown as well this year. We’re even more environmentally friendly and we’re aiming to leave the site the way we found it and be respectful of the people living in the area.
“There’ll be a big carnival parade and fireworks display on the Sunday night to close the event.
“We’re really hoping to engage everyone in the carnival atmosphere and we’re already hoping to bring Townlands back to Cork again next year.”
TOWNLANDS Carnival will stage three days of music, art and entertainment at Leades House and Farm, Rusheen, near Macroom from July 8 to 10.
The music promises to be diverse, lively and uplifting, showcasing acts from all musical persuasions, including up-and-coming Irish and international acts.
Music headliners include Jerry Fish, Blackalicious, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Natty and the Rebelship, DJ Nick Warren and Daithi as well as newcomers Saint Sister, Worries Outernational, Joni and dynamic funk pop act Strange Attractor.
The comedy line-up includes Dublin Comedy Improv, Republic of Telly star Fred Cooke and Joanne McNally.
For tickets and more information see www.townlandscarnival.com.