Six of the best acts and gigs to look out for in 2020

by James Hendicott

In the ever-changing environs of Dublin’s lively music scene, it can be hard to stop and take stock of what’s coming up on the outside, especially amid the broader trends of venue difficulties, an increasingly outstanding Rock scene, and the growth in domestic Hip-Hop.

At the risk of playing Nostradamus, we thought we’d have a go at earmarking what are likely to be the highest ebbs in another year of aural culture. Here are our six ‘best bets’…

Fontaines DC

Already one of Dublin’s most-hyped bands for quite some time, Liberties act Fontaines DC are fresh from two absolutely pulsating shows at Vicar Street, both of which had ‘gold dust’ level ticket issues. So much so that next summer’s Iveagh Gardens show is sold out already, too.

Fontaines DC

They just get better: fronted by the enigmatic Grian Chattan, the next album is alleged to have unlikely influences from the Beach Boys.

Given their previous, largely quite abrasive style, that seems unlikely.

Whatever they do, though, it is likely to evoke modern-day Dublin in spades, and we can’t get enough of it.

Joy Crookes

Another rising star of the increasingly compelling Irish modern Soul scene, Joy Crookes was recently listed on YouTube’s prestigious ‘ones to watch’ UK and Ireland for next year.

Joy Crookes

She’s already worked with classy rapper Jafaris and released three introductory EPs, sneaking into young consciousness in spreading her sparkling sounds via her various heavily-followed social media accounts.

Check out Don’t Let Me Down in particular – we’re expecting big things.


Sure, this festival in Marlay Park has been going a while now, and is very far from universally popular locally.

That said, it is the main offering, bringing world-class Hip-Hop into Ireland at a time when the genre is the most prominent it has ever been in terms of its overall musical footprint on this side of the pond.

Tyler The Creator

This year’s line-up is particularly strong, with superstar headliners in the poignantly political Kendrick Lamar and snappy Tyler, The Creator.

By the time you read this, the festival will already be on sale.


The return of a festival that spent a few all-too-short years in Dalymount and the RDS a quarter of a century ago is a big one for Irish rock fans, who are poorly catered for on the modern-day Irish festival scene, especially those with heavier leanings.

Faith No More

The festival’s return lands in mid-June in Punchestown, and features the likes of Faith No More, Killing Joke, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Deftones, and some of the very best on the modern-day Irish guitar scene.

For Indie fans, the new Irish version of legendary Brighton festival The Great Escape looks pretty hot, too.

Sia Babez

Watch this future megastar fly. Sia Babez (or Seorsia Leagh, to her family) has stuck her head above the parapet this year and the Portlaoise-based fusion artist – who explores Pop with a blend of Soul and R&B on the side – looks all set to make a big impact with tracks such as recent single Hit My Line.

Sia Babez

She recently grabbed Simon Cowell’s attention on X-Factor: The Band, appearing with Little Mix, but – forgive us, X Factor fans – has far more depth to her enticing music than such an association would suggest.

David Keenan

Dundalk man David Keenan has made an impressive impact for a man yet to release a record, a journey that includes headlining The Olympia recently.

David Keenan

He’s quite the poet, a subtle, delicate songwriter whose melodies are absolutely loaded with a young life daringly lived, including running away from home to search out the frontman of The Las, and busking for a living in Liverpool as a teenager.

His debut album comes out in January, and is expected to see him fly.

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