Like the whiskey it’s named after, the Bushmills live festival just keeps getting better with age.
The boutique musical shindig, that uses the unique distillery setting as its backdrop, is still a baby in festival terms with yesterday’s festivities marking just its third year.
But that doesn’t lessen its intoxicating appeal.
Returning to the stage was homegrown star Gary Lightbody who had headlined the festival’s inaugural year with Snow Patrol.
His delight at being back on home soil was clear to see as his supergroup Tired Pony entranced the crowd in the still room of the world’s oldest distillery.
“It’s awesome to be home,” he smiled to the intimate crowd.
Stardom hasn’t dampened his passion for being on stage as the Bangor singer lost himself in Tired Pony hits I’m Begging You Not To Go, Your Way Is The Way Home and the hypnotic I Don’t Want You As A Ghost.
Lightbody’s feel-good vibe for being home for a joint celebration for his birthday on Father’s Day was mirrored by the crowd’s appreciation for the talented crew that includes REM’s Peter Buck and Richard Colburn of Belle & Sebastian fame.
And Bushmills Live festival favourite Iain Archer proved why he’s in such big demand for his singing and songwriting talents for the likes of Jake Bugg and up-and-coming Luke Sitar-Singh, whom he shared the stage with earlier in the day.
Archer held the audience captive with his stunning performance of Landslide.
And making her first Bushmills live appearance was Derry native and Commitments star Bronagh Gallagher as backing singer who looked like she’s enjoying the return to her musical roots.
Headliners The 1975 proved why they are one of the most-talked-about bands of the moment when they took to the main stage at the cooperage.
The Manchester alternative rock/indie quartet belted out hits from last year’s debut No1 album.
With Belfast’s Levity Breaks, Brooklyn-based indie dance band RubbleBucket, David C Clements, Matthew and the Atlas and James Vincent McMorrow all wowing the crowds, this festival may be small in numbers but it packs a big musical punch.
Like a hot toddy, it’s warm and comforting and is sure to make you feel better.
Visit the source to view the Irish Mirror’s gallery from the night.