Another Love Story
21 – 23 August, 2015
Killyon Manor, Hill of Down, Co. Meath
Do you remember when you were younger and you’d stay out late playing tip the can or chasing with your neighbours or siblings during the summer? Another Love Story, in all its glory, managed to capture that feeling, like anything could happen. Approximately 500 adults (and some kids and dogs) became explorers for the weekend in Killyon Manor, the gorgeous 18th century home of Roland and Zoe Purcell. Throughout the year, it can be rented out for weddings and other functions but for this weekend in August, the crew from HomeBeat and Happenings turned it into an escape.
As the years go by, we tend to outgrow our favourite festivals so having something like ALS arrive means that there’s something on offer that the Electric Picnics and Longitudes can’t provide. Every turn had something for you, like the Love Olympics, which was basically a drunken community games for adults, croquet, yoga, talks, readings, poetry and performances in the library, adventure in the fields or trees that needed climbing. The standout musical acts were Buffalo Woman, who sound like Pet Shop Boys and Donna Summer getting it on; David Kitt doing a set as New Jackson and, later, his own DJ set caused many people to dance until they could dance no more, I had to take respite outside because I felt if he played one more belter, I would actually die from hit overload. Attention Bébé, who always bring their A-game; Ye Vagabonds who were absolutely charming and Ben Bix + Feather, whose dark and ominous rhythms mesmerised.
As everything came to a close at 6pm on Sunday – a move we all truly appreciated – the sounds of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ filled the ball room and we all felt like we were saying goodbye on the last night of Irish college. When something ends and that feeling in your heart says ‘what do we do now?’, you know you’ve experienced something really special. Thanks to a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait for next year for more divilment, music and games.
What has it got?
Camping: The campsite was in a field out in front of the house. There was no specific disabled camping area but because of the small crowd capacity, I got to pick a spot closest to the house and I had plenty of space around my tent. All of the tents were spaced out nicely so we weren’t living on top of each other, although we’d like to. Rawr.
Ground: The field was a little bit uneven but my FreeWheel played a blinder. From the campsite up to the house, there was a slight hill and as the rain waged on on Saturday night and Sunday, it became quite muddy.
Bathrooms: There was one wheelchair accessible portaloo and that was beside the house. It was handy during the festival hours but in the early morning, I would have to go uphill in the rain and through the mud if I needed to go to the toilet. In the house, they had real, functioning, flushing toilets. None of these fit a wheelchair but I could hop in and out easily. Festivals very rarely get accessible bathrooms right but if you’re ever planning one, please read this.
Helpfulness of staff: Amazing. Incredible. I think I knew every staff member by name by Friday evening because they made themselves known to me and were all over it if I needed help.
Why did it lose points? Another Love Story lost a point and a half for access because of the toilet situation. It’s important for a wheelchair portaloo to be accessible and easy to find so going uphill from the campsite in the lashing rain when everyone else only had a short stroll to pee wasn’t great. This is one tiny thing that they can fix for next year, or, as I said to the owner of the house very late one night, one of the indoor cubicles could easily be changed into a wheelchair bathroom which would benefit all of their guests with mobility issues. Other than that, Another Love Story is my summer highlight from 2015. Thank you for everything, you beautiful people.