Oxegen Festival performances have featured some of the most popular international bands and headliners since the event was established in 2004. It is a relative newcomer to the circuit, but now ranks among the five best rock/pop music festivals in Europe, including Sziget in Budapest, Rock Werchter in Belgium, Roskilde in Denmark, and the iconic Glastonbury Festival in England. It takes place during the second week in July, coinciding with Scotland's T in the Park Festival. Many of the performers will appear in both festivals.
Oxegen Festival History and Facts
This is not one of the world's beer festivals, but it started its life as a music event sponsored by Guinness, Ireland's most famous brew. It ran from 2000 to 2003 at the Fairyhouse Racecourse in County Meath and was called Witness. Today, it is the Oxegen Music Festival Ireland and is sponsored by Heineken, the most famous brew from the Netherlands. Other than this, the notable history of the festival mainly features memorable performances and attendance figures. In 2006, The Who made their first appearance in Ireland in 35 years. That's a hard act to follow, but there have been outstanding performances by noteworthy entertainers every year.
Oxegen Festival Directions
The Oxegen Festival 2016 is held at the famous racecourse near the town of Naas, located about 25 miles to the southwest of Dublin on the M7 highway. Go about 35 more miles to Portlaoise, and you will reach the site of the eclectic Electric Picnic Festival held in September. There are daily buses from Dublin as well as excellent train service. During the festival, shuttle buses to Punchestown meet every arriving train.
Oxegen Festival Tickets
Reserved tickets go on sale after the first of the year, with general tickets becoming available from several outlets sometime around the middle of March. Only those over age 17 are allowed entrance, unless accompanied by a relative or guardian over age 25.
Oxegen Festival Lodging
As with many of the most popular music festivals of its kind, lodging for the Oxegen Music Festival Ireland consists primarily of camping. The majority of tickets sold are combination tickets that include camping sites on the racecourse grounds. There are standard campsites requiring you to bring your own tent and other gear. There are two of these, and you must park your car in the correct area. However, you are allowed to camp in the other site; it just means you are farther from your vehicle. There is one "luxury" campsite, where you can rent PodPads (prefab "huts" that come fully furnished with beds and even dressers) and similar temporary housing. There is also an area for camper vans, which must be bona fide campers with fitted cooking/washing and sleeping facilities. You cannot simply show up in a bare van with a sleeping bag in the back.
There are excellent five-star hotels and resorts and charming bed and breakfast inns in the countryside and villages in the region. Those who plan to attend only one day of the festival generally opt for one of the many Dublin hotels.
Other Festivals Nearby
The Oxegen Festival 2016 is not the only large popular event held at the Punchestown Racecourse. In addition to everyday racing, this is the site of the Irish National Hunt Festival, the grand finale of the country's steeplechase season. Admittedly, the clientele of the two events are quite different, but the venue is the same. The Hunt Festival occurs over four days at the beginning of May.
Image: Leon Wilson (flickr)