Friday, August 28, 2009

Electric Picnic 2009 Preview


It's all Picnic all the way here, getting very excited. Here's a preview..

THE CLOCK is ticking, days are rolling by and kids are getting ready to go back to school.
For many September represents a return to normality, but for 32,500 lucky revellers - a sizeable share of whom hail from the Treaty City - the beginning of Autumn is that time again, the return of Electric Picnic.
The festival, now in its sixth year, has become the de rigueur music and arts extravaganza in Ireland, arguably better than any taking place in the UK or Europe.
In an era when words like ‘vibe’ and ‘boutique’ are thrown around like confetti, this is the only festival that can claim to be both.
Taking place in the rolling hills of Stradbally on Thomas Cosby’s estate - he sends the 400 sheep that normally occupy the fields off on holidays for the week of the festival - Electric Picnic Inc has suffered a year of ups and downs since last year, but seems to have emerged unscathed.
POD Concerts owner John Reynolds has had his much publicised problems this year, resulting in UK promoter Festival Republic buying into the festival. Festival Republic are owned by the same parent company as MCD, with many fearing that Electric Picnic would lose its aura if the Oxegen-bookers got involved.
This seems not to have happened, with Reynolds and POD still involved in booking acts for the festival, and it will continue in its vein as last year, when it was rebranded as a “Music Arts Festival”.
While the promoters are undoubtedly struggling to sell tickets in the recession, it is believed that - as other years - it will sell out in the coming week.
Admittedly attending the festival costs about as much as going on a week holidays, but most would argue it is well worth it.
This year the marquee names are Orbital, Brian Wilson, Flaming Lips, MGMT, Fleet Foxes, Basement Jaxx, Bell X1 and Madness, but there are literally hundreds of bands and acts playing over the three days, with another batch announced just last week, including Passion Pit, The XX and Irish artists David Geraghty and David Kitt.
But the festival is so much more than just music, as comedy, debate, cinema, cookery displays and theatre will take place over the weekend.
This year there is a brand new feature in Trenchtown, a reggae Jamaican village, while the usual boutique food stalls will be a fixture, including the Lennox St café, Diep Noodle and more.
As Siobhan O’Dowd of POD concerts told the Leader, this balance is what makes the Picnic so special.
"Its a three dimensional festival, as well as the music, the art, theatre and comedy are as heavily weighted and I think that is more defining and you wouldn't see that with any other festival," she explained.
"There is also an attention to detail and there are little pockets of activity like the Body and Soul arena which is like a micro-cosmic festival happening within Electric Picnic."
In fact, the aforementioned Body and Soul arena is basically the heartbeat of the festival, a natural amphitheatre surrounded by trees that hosts all manner of exciting events.
Limerick musician Nick Carswell and his band the Elective Orchestra are to play in the Body and Soul area at 7pm on the Saturday of the festival, while comic Limerick rap duo the Rubberbandits will play over the weekend, as will local DJ Paul Webb, well known from his residencies in Trinity Rooms and Saturday night show on Spin South West.
With everything from an Irish language tent to a free phone recharging facility on offer, this is the festival where literally anything can, and probably will happen.
Electric Picnic takes place September 4-6. Tickets are still available on Ticketmaster.ie.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Mr. Owens,
a most succinct run-down of this year's acts. I'm raging I'm not heading down to verdant Stradbally myself, but from my previous few years both working and carousing at it (sometimes at the same time, which proved, em, problematic), you've captured its peculiar delights. You're going to get to dink in the music of Bat for Lashes and Florence & the Machine. The lust, the jealousy, enjoy sir. I look forward to reading about how they do without me...Nick McG