The Irish have voted for their 30 most iconic festival moments ever, with Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985 claiming the number one spot.

Elton John’s last UK gig headlining Sunday night at Glastonbury this year (26%), Bob Marley performing two days after being shot at Smile Jamaica in 1976 (13%), Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain taking to the stage in a wheelchair and hospital gown at Reading in 1992 (12%) and the line up at 2011 Oxygen (10%) all made an appearance. 

Activist Greta Thunberg’s speech at Glastonbury in 2022, Beyonce being the first woman to headline Glastonbury in 2011, Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Kylie Minogue’s Sunday Legends set at Glastonbury 2019 also made the list.

The majority of Irish people (52%) think that festivals are the greatest way to see live music, with over half (42%) saying that it is one of the main things they like doing in the summer. Under 30’s are planning to go to the most festivals this summer, noting they will be attending at least three festivals.

However, according to the poll commissioned by Specsavers, 84 percent of Irish people admit they often leave such events with their ears ringing, which could be damaging their hearing. 

It’s not surprising then that almost half of those surveyed (49%) are convinced that their hearing has been damaged because of the loud noise. 

Simon Baker was a successful DJ/producer and had releases on labels such as Kompa Kt, Cocoon and Last Night On Earth. He developed tinnitus due to over-exposure to loud noise, he says: 

“I had what you could call a dream career. Working in the music industry as a touring DJ, music producer and sound engineer, I had been surrounded by loud music for years and never thought much of it.

“I wasn’t particularly taking that much care of my health in my early days, and I wasn’t too aware of the impact my lifestyle could have been having on my health, and then I developed tinnitus which led to a lot of stress. 

“My tinnitus started low level but increased over time, it really made me worry about the impact it could have on my life and career. Now, I want to encourage everyone to be aware of how to prevent tinnitus. The most important things are to wear ear protection in loud places and get your ears tested regularly.”   

A whopping 92 percent of those questioned didn’t know that it can take just five minutes for hearing damage to occur at a festival, with a further 50 percent admitting they have never had a hearing test. 

But as festival season gets underway, Irish love attending festivals for the atmosphere (82%), memories it creates (64%), meeting new people (36%) and dancing (43%), while one in seven (14%) love the sheer noise. An astonishing 22 percent saying there is nothing better than the feeling of the bass running through their bones, so much so that seven percent of under 30s say they always stand next to the speakers at a gig or festival. 

Research also revealed that only one third (32%) say they have worn or wear ear plugs or ear defenders at a festival or a concert.

In fact, protecting hearing was at the bottom of a list of festival essentials for those surveyed, with only 15 percent saying they would bring ear plugs and even fewer (10%) saying they would prioritise taking ear defenders.   

The top essentials on the festival packing list included, water bottles (67%), sunscreen (67%), sunglasses (64%), wet wipes (55%) and toothbrush (55%). Less than half (46%) always pack a hat, while 53 percent never forget painkillers.  

Pillows (38%), first aid kit (34%) and ear plugs (15%) also appear on the list, along with glitter (13%) – which is more of a priority than ear defenders (10%).


1. U2 – 15 %

2. Dermot Kennedy – 13%

3. Westlife – 8%

4. The Script

5. Niall Horan

6. Snow Patrol

7. Hozier

8. Kodaline

9. The Corrs