Laois, the home of the Picnic, has a new boutique festival which is bound to fetch the crowds and rave reviews.

Forest Fest 2021 at Emo village will take place on the weekend of June 4 – 6.

In a coup for the organisers, The Stunning have been confirmed as the headline act for the inaugural Forest Fest 2020.

The rest of the line-up is equally enticing as tickets for the festival which go on sale today are likely to be snapped up.

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

“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 that was synonymous with the early days of the Picnic. Our underlying and guiding principle is to produce an intimate, comfortable, close quarters, quality boutique 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,” said the promoter of the midlands newest festival, Philip Meagher.

“It’s going to be like dancing at the crossroads, but 2021 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.

Forest Fest is Philip’s brainchild and his vision is for it to develop into a popular national destination festival for tourists and locals alike in the years ahead.

Philip Meagher got a taste for the impresario scene when he successfully organised the Rednecks & Rhinestones festival in Emo a number of years ago. Now the well-known legal eagle and proprietor of the Gate House Bar and Batoni’s Restaurant in Emo has his sights set on putting Forest Fest on the map in year one, and building on that reputation, for fun quality entertainment in a quaint setting and boutique style.

“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,” enthuses Philip.

Tickets for Forest Fest go on sale today from the event website at

Numbers are strictly limited, with a range of day, weekend and festival club pass options available all at very accessible price points.

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 iconic and fabulous heritage site and parkland grounds of the historic, Emo Court, and its wonderful tree lined landscape.

There will be crafts beers and cocktails too at the beautiful Gate House bar which will be serving refreshments ‘till late each night with the award winning Batoni’s Restaurant adapting their usual menu to provide delectable festival themed treats together with other 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.

Apart from the 3 main concerts at the Forest Fest marquee there will be other programming featuring the 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 line-up announced to date includes the featured attraction on Saturday, June 5th, 2021 with The Stunning on a sensational bill that includes Something Happens, and, The Frank & Walters and to kick events off the one and only Jack L on Friday June 4th – all worthy headliners in their own right.


The Stunning, fronted by the cool and suave Steve Wall who has also gone on to achieve cult celebrity status as an actor in such productions as Vikings and Moone Boy, are performing a select 30th anniversary tour which is already selling out.

For serious music fans there is the star turn of Jack L and Harvest in support on the Friday night.

Sunday too is a sensational line-up featuring Electric Picnic favourites The Pearly Whites, and Pogueology, local crowd pleasers, The Jury, The Big Spoon with guests Vocalese, with the rave reviewed 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, craft beers, cocktails and a classy food menu all available on the festival campus.

Even more activities, artisans, acts and arts activities for the weekend will be announced in the coming weeks, including a family friendly programme for Sunday afternoon from 12 to 6pm.

Forest Fest gigs are of course strictly over 18 and numbers will be strictly limited.

There are a range of fan-friendly ticketing options, ranging in price from €32.50 for individual shows to a select number of Festival Club weekend passes with special privileges for €110. Tickets from Eventbrite are available HERE.

Forest Fest is pleased to announce the prestigious and luxurious Heritage Hotel, Killenard as our official accommodation partner. You can contact the Heritage, Killenard HERE.

For a full selection of other excellent accommodation offerings we are pleased to refer you to the Laois Tourism website.

There will also be supervised festival camping in conjunction with Emo GAA, just 200m from the venue. Festival parking is free. There will also be a taxi and shuttle bus service for the convenience of festival revellers.

Check out for complete festival details and daily programme updates and information.