Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare, Ireland, the place to be on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of July 2006. Despite the rain and howling gales; the tents in the campsite flying all over the place and crashing into people, the mud and the state of the toilets, Oxegen more than compensates with its brilliant array of top acts performing over a set of gloriously attractive stages, there's something for everyone, and more than enough to go round.

Tom Dunne is the man with the plan over the weekend; performing on his Pet Sounds stage are the likes of chirpy contemporary new sound bands Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Spinto Band, soft and earnest songwriters like Jose Gonzalez and Bic Runga, a fair cross section of groups from Kasabian to Death Cab For Cutie and international superstars Eels and Sigur Ros, all the great stuff that gets regular airplay on his seminal radio show on Today FM. And free T-shirts!

Yes, that was the main HQ over the weekend, nicely sheltered from the bad weather conditions on the first day, but even without the rain it's where we'd have mostly been because it was just one of the coolest line-ups about!

So, the Oxegen festival was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, that's thanks to the great line-up of acts over the weekend, the great set-up and lay-out of the place and the company kept. Even if Heineken was all there was to drink and it was a fiver a pop, and the three-man tent I was staying in turned into a refugee camp for those that had lost their tents to the wind it was well well worth it.

The atmosphere was somewhere between the complete craziness of Reading (minus the heavy drug intake) and the cooled-down vibe of a commercial fest, with a few odd quirks thrown in here and there. After exiting a bog at one point I was accosted by two girls who were sure I was the spitting image of Chris Martin and demanded kisses (I told them 'only on the cheek' as I was married to Gwyneth, who'd given birth to an apple which I was startled by and demanded a miracle to compensate, so she gave me Moses, naturally I sent him downstream in a basket... I got quite into character) and during Sigur Ros I was kissed twice by two different girls to either side of me, randomers, it was like the 60s all over again...

And that's the way festivals swing. The main thing is a good time was had by all over the two days at this diverse festival that was the central draw of Ireland on that weekend, it ranged from mad craziness (blood, sweat, pot and human pyramids) at the NME stage to ecstatic mainstream crowds at the mainstage to the cool kids digging the cool shit down at Pet Sounds and the Green Room, something for everyone, and more than enough to go round.