Stunning lineup for new Laois music festival this summer

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan

Stunning lineup for new Laois music festival this summer

Forest Fest to take place in Emo this July

A new music festival headlining a host of top 90's Irish bands has been announced for Laois. 

The Forest Fest at Emo village will take place on the weekend of July 10 – 12.
Acts include Irish rock bands The Stunning, Something Happens and The Frank & Walters.

Without a hint of superstition, the initial details of Forest Fest at Emo were unveiled at a press launch on Friday March 13 at the Gate House pub in the village.

The promotor is solicitor and proprietor of the Gate House and Batoni's Restaurant in Emo, Philip Meagher.

He hopes to recapture the boutique feel of an early days Electric Picnic. 

“Laois is the home of the Picnic and at Forest Fest we want to hark back to and recapture that sense of excitement, enthusiasm and boutique festival experience. Our underlying and guiding principle is to produce an intimate, comfortable, festival experience. We want people to have a fun weekend when they visit Emo in July and go away with a smile on their face and only good memories,” he said at the launch.

“It’s going to be like dancing at the crossroads, but 2020 style, with the best entertainment, best food, refreshments and revelry as is befitting a summer time festival in such a lovely setting as here in the heart of Laois in Emo village,” said Philip.

His vision is for it to develop into a popular national destination festival for tourists and locals alike in the years ahead, being on the doorstep of top Laois tourist attraction Emo Court.

Philip Meagher previously ran the successful country music festival Rednecks & Rhinestones in Emo and he has brought back Mike Denver to keep it country on Friday night.

“Our primary focus is on providing a uniquely intimate and enjoyable experience in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Limiting our numbers, will ensure our ability to guarantee easy access, provide comfortable facilities, a quality food and beverage experience centred around a close-up engaging experience with the exciting acts that we have lined-up,” said Philip.

Tickets for Forest Fest are now on sale from the event website at

Numbers are strictly limited, with a range of day, weekend and festival club pass options available.

The entire Forest Fest takes place at the crossroads in Emo village, just a few minutes’ drive from Junction 15 off the M7. The festival venue is directly opposite the entrance to the heritage site and parkland grounds of Emo Court.

There will be craft beers, cocktails and refreshments at the Gate House bar while the award winning Batoni’s Restaurant will adapt their usual menu to provide estival themed treats along with quality artisan food providers from the locality.

A purpose built marquee will be erected at the festival site to accommodate up to 2,000 fans for each show.

It promises three main concerts along with arts, afternoon sessions, a Festival Club, a family fun day on the Sunday afternoon and a special Brass & Brunch@Batonis Sunday morning session from midday.

The Stunning headline on Saturday, July 11. Fronted by the cool and suave Steve Wall, they are performing a select 30th anniversary tour which is already selling out. Also playing are Something Happens and The Frank & Walters, The Pearly Whites.

Sunday features Electric Picnic favourites Pogueology, Laois rockers The Jury, The Big Spoon with guests Vocalese, The Pearly Whites and the brilliant Johnny Cash Tribute - Walk the Line bringing the curtain down in showcase style on these intimate series of gigs.

There will be shows too from Strength in Numbers and The Glimmermen, special guests at a Festival Club.

More details to be announced in the coming weeks, including a family friendly Sunday afternoon from 12 to 6pm.
The Forest Fest marquee gigs are strictly over 18 and numbers will be strictly limited.

There are a range of fan-friendly ticketing options, ranging in price from €25 for individual shows to a select number of Festival Club weekend passes with special privileges for €100.

Forest Fest is pleased to announce the luxurious Heritage Hotel, Killenard as their official accommodation partner. 

There will be free supervised festival camping in conjunction with Emo GAA, just 200m from the venue. There will also be a taxi and shuttle bus service.