Electric Picnic to zap slump with good vibrations
Organisers hoping for 30,000 fans at last big summer gig
Organisers of this weekend's Electric Picnic festival are hoping that a diverse range of recession-beating attractions will help them match 2010 numbers.
More than 30,000 punters are expected to attend the last major event of the outdoor music season to see big names including Arcade Fire, Pulp, Interpol and PJ Harvey.
"Everything we have done with the Electric Picnic this year is a response to the recession," site manager Robbie Butler told the Irish Independent.
"The credit card era is gone, so now it comes down to whether people physically have the money to buy tickets or not. Which is why we've come up with day tickets for those who can't stretch to a whole weekend. We also have a bigger stage and our biggest line-up ever."
"Recession music" is how Jamaican-based Dubliner Martin Hickey has dubbed the 50 hours of reggae music he will oversee in Stradbally's new attraction 'Trenchtown'.
"Reggae is the perfect music for a downturn because it brings a smile to your face. At the same time, it's calling people to action: 'Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights,'" sang Mr Hickey, echoing the late Bob Marley.
But festival-goers will be more concerned that EP 2011 will be more 'Drenchtown' than 'Trenchtown' if rain sweeps across the midlands.
However, Mr Butler revealed that they will have an ancestor of Thomas Crosbie, whose family owns the 300-acre Stradbally Estate in Co Laois, to thank for keeping the grass under them from turning to muck.
"Thomas's great-great-grandfather, Robert Crosbie, was a specialist in drains and the estate benefits from a system he engineered.
"The other thing which helps is that there are usually 3,000 sheep grazing over the estate and they help keep the ground firmer under foot than cattle," he said.
A new addition to the 'Body and Soul' area this year is the 'Earth Ship' stage. Inspired by the New Mexico self-sustainable desert dwellings of the same name, the structure is built from recycled electrical waste, including keyboards and circuits.
Another attraction is the food area, 'Theatre Of Food', where peckish music lovers can enjoy food tastings and cookery demonstrations by Irish chefs including Derry Clarke of L'Ecrivain, Paul Flynn of The Tannery and Martin Shanahan of Kinsale restaurant Fishy Fishy.
Meanwhile, Bob Geldof and Booker Prize winners John Banville and Roddy Doyle will be among speakers in the 'Mindfield' spoken word arena.
Tickets for the Electric Picnic are available from Ticketmaster.ie and usual outlets. Weekend tickets cost €240 and day tickets for Sunday are €99.50.