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Say hello to the folks behind Spirit of Folk!

A festival like this comes together when a bunch of likeminded folk work together to create something magical. There’s a lot of planning, lots of emails whizzing back and forth, a lot of coffee consumed, and always a lot of fun! We will start by introducing you to the man who builds the festival from the ground up, artist and sculptor Christian Reeves. Christian tell us a little about his role in Spirit of Folk, everything from building stages and furniture to mincing around dressed as a wizard!

Tell us a little about what you do at the Spirit of Folk Festival. I have a fairly wide range of duties at the festival and you could find me doing anything from putting up flag poles and lighting to building stages and furniture or mincing around dressed up as wizard. I help out managing the site as well as running the Hall Of Heroes (HoH) with Bust and the HoH crew. I love to make wooden sculptures and if you have been to the festival you have probably seen Setanta, our giant wooden dog who guards the Hall of Heroes. You may have seen the phoenix last year but you won’t see it this time because we burnt it!

How long does the build take in advance of the festival? It’s hard accurately pin down how much goes in to it because it’s such a personal thing for the crew. Being a small festival with tight budgets we can’t really afford posh hardware or employing large work teams so most of the graft is done the old fashioned way, lots of elbow grease and long hours. We generally have a week long run up to the weekend and the guts of a week break down but we are lucky enough to have access to the site year round so we occasionally have build weekends during the year to get special projects such as last years Phoenix underway. They are also a great way of catching up with the core crew and discussing new ideas for the festival. Dunderry is such an enjoyable environment to work in it’s never a chore to spend time there!

What is your favourite aspect of Spirit of Folk? There is a lot to take in at spirit of folk. In my opinion it really hits a sweet note as a family friendly festival that also has a lot to offer to a singleton who has come to go hog wild. During the day there is a great chilled out vibe with lots of activity and spectacle to take in. You can have some tasty grub while watching two burly hairy men beat each other senseless. But if vikings aren’t your thing you could take in some falconry or storytelling. At night The Hall of Heroes comes in to its own. Conceived by Bust and myself, the Hall of Heroes is a wonky comedy music and games tent where, together with our band of merry lads and lassies, we keep her lit. We run shows where the audience becomes the star. Ramshackle talent shows, weird games and plenty of refreshing drinks are the order of the day.....or night as it were. I think it’s that balance that does it for me. The yin and yang of it all.......what a tosser!

What in your opinion makes Spirit of folk a little different than other folk festivals in Ireland? Apart from being an aesthetically stunning festival! Personally I think Spirit of Folks biggest asset is its intimate nature and range of freedom that that offers. Everywhere on the site is a short walk away. No mazes of fencing and one way systems. No thirty minute hike back to the car park to get supplies.

Do you get to enjoy any of the festival once it begins? Once the festival begins I have to put down my screw gun and my sledge hammer put on my tuxedo and join Bust down at the Hall of Heroes and kick off Friday night. We usually have our Table Quiz on Friday to ease into things then we wind up the gram-a-phone for a dishko! The days following will generally be the best craic on my calender, gammy talent shows, poorly edited films, bingo, live karaoke and re-enactments of killing a dog with a hurley all feature down the hall. By the end, with any luck, I will generally smell like a fire and be wearing make up. Given the nature of the tent we run I guess you could call us professional messers! So short answer yes! The fun begins with the show!

What is your favourite memory from all the years of Spirit of Folk? Favourite memory from year one was the general sense of achievement watching people come in and enjoy the festival. We made it! .....close second from year one witnessing lounge legend Tony Cliffden killing Sweet Caroline at our karaoke competition .....From year two Tasha's mother Aine splitting sides as Cilla Black in our sensational Blind Date show. ......From year three it has to be the Phoenix. To mark the fact that the festival was on hiatus from its usual weekend long format Myself and the Hall of Heroes Dream Team Lorcan Colins, Ali T, Paddy Mulvey and Kurt Opperman constructed a 25 foot wooden Phoenix and set it ablaze. It was really a magical moment and worked out exactly as we had planned it providing a spectacular show for everyone there to witness it. Best thing was we didnt have to carry it back to the stores ......From year four..... well that's the future and we will all be learning all about that later ;)