A grin spreads across Éanna Byrt’s face in answer to whether the decision to reposition and rebrand the Bump! Muzik festival with a focus on the city centre represents the festival’s future.
“Ask me on July 2 when it’s all over,” he laughs.
Bump! garnered a reputation as a top electronic music festival in recent years with its promoters discovering idyllic locations to host leftfield, eclectic programmes of techno, drum and bass and house that boasted top international names and crowds from around the country.
This year, after hosting festivals on the fringes of the city that were admirable in scale yet largely failed to hit the ambitious targets they set themselves, Bump! is being brought into the city, with the organisers saying the new format will bring with it an array of new possibilities and exciting event concepts.
It has been rebranded as a Music, Media and Electronic Arts Conference for Limerick that will run in up to ten venues throughout the city centre, with workshops, lectures, exclusive movie screenings and gigs featuring local, national and international artists.
Éanna and Dan Sykes are the brains behind Bump!, and Byrt - of Dubblebass fame - says that the use of the word conference is not meant in an academic fashion.
“Bump! has always been for us a bit of a conference - a meeting of the minds, in that we pick artists that we want to meet and talk to and pick their brains and develop relationships with,” he explains.
“Likewise with all the Irish crews that come down to us, and throughout the year, it is about making contacts, bringing ideas and minds together and moving forward,” he adds.
The festival will look to use Limerick as a platform to showcase the music, culture and creative arts scenes in the city. The theme this year is a re-imagining of the city centre.
“Reconstruct is the idea,” says Dan Sykes, of Macronite, who runs Viva Music and is a renowned DJ in his own right. “The city centre is in something of a decline, businesses are closing, so it is nice to be able to do something different, bring focus back to the city centre, show that there is stuff happening - which people might not realise.
“We want to showcase the city. There is a really good scene down here at the moment, which is hard to drag into a field. The whole infrastructure is there, you are showcasing in your natural environment, which allows people to show off what they are doing.
“So much stuff is happening that people don’t know about, so hopefully we can attract people to Limerick for the weekend and they will go and check out what is happening in these places,” he adds.
While Byrt is from Ennistymon and Sykes originally hails from Dromcollogher-Broadford, both of them have been in Limerick since 1999, with spells abroad, yet regularly feel the lure to return to Limerick.
“We have always striven to promote Limerick through Bump! and it is quite difficult to do that when you are in a field ten miles outside the city. So hopefully people will come here, walk around, see some of the creative spaces, see what is happening and interact with the city,” says Sykes.
Byrt admits that the decision to focus on the city was initially a “compromise, but once the ball got rolling, it was very evident that we were able to include a lot more people that we weren’t able to last year”.
As such they have a stellar line-up of international, local and national acts like Spanish techno whizz Reeko, Belgian DJ Kr!z, Gilles Armstrong from Dublin, Fracture and Neptune, Loxy, Hystereo and Cork house legends FishGoDeep as well as a plethora of local talent, including Stewie, Deviant, Leon, Aoife Ni Canna, Eggz - across Baker Place, Dolan’s, Mickey Martin’s, Bourke’s, Riddler’s, the Wicked Chicken and the Hunt Museum. Workshops and showcases will run during the day, while a 3D mapping audio visual performance will mark the closing of the festival on Sunday night, using the Construction X piece in Arthur’s Quay Park as a canvas.
“Our idea with the mapping was about lighting up the city and spaces that are overlooked,” says Éanna. “It is an artistic response to this piece, it is us responding in a positive way.”
Of Bump!’s future, he will only say: “At the moment it is looking very positive, we like the model, we have certainly got big ideas for next year, but we will save those until afterwards”.
The Bump! Festival runs from June 29 to July 1. We have four pairs of tickets to giveaway as well as a Bump! t-shirt for every winner. Simply email contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org to be in with a chance to win. See Bumpfestival.com.