THE sixth Electric Picnic festival was a very different affair this year with wellies a necessity rather than accessory as attendees trouped through mud fields that resembled the
However, although the feted ‘Indian Summer’ failed to materialise, neither did apocalyptic storms and the rain was restricted to showers on Friday and Sunday morning – with those hardy souls that stayed until Monday greeted with the perverse sight of clear blue skies and sunshine.
It hardly mattered for the near 32,500 fans that made their way to Thomas Cosby’s fields on the Stradbally plains, as those that pilgrimage regularly to the ‘Picnic’ were just relieved to be back, and those that were experiencing the music and arts extravaganza for the first time were wide eyed with wonder, some heard to mutter how they were simply “never attending Oxegen again”.
While the age profile may have met somewhere between the stereotypical notion of the Picnic and Oxegen being on opposite ends of the spectrum – certainly the mix of age was more noticeable this year – the fact that the organisers chose to extend the family campsite meant that many more free-running children were on display, a large crowd of whom were seen crafting toy swords in the Soul Kids area on Saturday, with an exciting series of duels taking place afterward.
Oxegen also scooped some of the top-of-bill acts that would have been more at home at Electric Picnic, and Friday’s line-up in particular was a bit hit and miss.
Main stage acts MGMT and a reformed Orbital failed to galvanise the huge crowds that greeted them, while even Zero 7 failed to turn in an impassioned performance. However, the acts on the fringes more than compensated, Villagers performing to a handful of well-rewarded fans on the Body and Soul stage and hip-hop crew Major Lazer turning in one of the gigs of the weekend by welcoming half of the crowd in the Little Big Tent onto the stage for their finale.
On Saturday afternoon Ryan Tubridy made his way to the Leviathan area of the Mind Field – a large area that included the Literary and Theatre stages. Tubridy – fresh from his first Late Late appearance – hosted a festival revue, with a bizarre line-up of guests, including former TV3 presenter Lorraine Keane, and was later seen by the Leader in the VIP area nodding his head to the engaging strains of Madness, performing nearby on the Main Stage.
Ska trio White Cholera – featuring David Blake, from
Back out in the main site, the Tulla Ceili Band played the first of two gigs on the Body and Soul stage, first performing at 4pm and returning almost 12 hours later to close the stage, to the delight of the huge crowd present.
A large crowd gathered to hear fellow
Brian Wilson lit up the arena on Saturday night through the strength of the set-list on offer, a Beach Boys greatest hits collection that almost made one forget they were listening in a muddy field in Laois.
Although campers awoke to rain on Sunday morning – causing some to leave for home – the afternoon stayed dry and the evening boasted some of the best music on offer of the weekend, stellar performances from Florence and the Machine, Fleet Foxes, Bell X1 and Basement Jaxx delighting fans, while electro-pop outfit Passion Pit played what many termed the gig of the weekend.
Another superb year for Electric Picnic, despite the weather, and let us hope that organisers keep with the boutique, quirky nature of this festival for as long as possible.