Flocking to rock with legends
Published 08/07/2006 | 00:11
80,000 gather as The Who headline at Oxegen festival
MUSIC, football and, for the first time at a European music festival, hot showers.
Thousands of music fans are gearing up for a weekend of fun and frolics at Oxegen.
While the bands and their entourages were flying in from all corners of the globe, legions of fans began their own mass migration early yesterday morning. Kildare experienced major traffic delays as music lovers and golf spectators descended on the festival site and the European Open at the K-Club respectively. Hour-long tailbacks were reported between Rathcoole and Naas.
Undeterred, some 70,000 campers, staggering under the weight of rucksacks and sleeping bags, got the party started early, arriving at the festival site from 12 noon. Within three hours, 20,000 tents had already been pitched and by nightfall a temporary tent town had been erected.
They were kept entertained long into last night with comedy, live music and films projected onto a giant cinema before the festival proper gets underway at noon today.
Altogether 80,000 music fans will flock to the festival today and tomorrow, which boasts household names and relative unknowns performing on eight different stages.
Some bands, such as Kasabian and The Magic Numbers, played warm-up gigs in Dublin city centre nightspots Spirit and Whelan's last night in preparation for the weekend ahead.
Today's line-up includes performances from aging rockers The Who, 'Godfather of Soul' James Brown and a host of bands from The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys to Primal Scream and Republic of Loose.
Tomorrow will see Franz Ferdinand and the Red Hot Chili Peppers take to the stage along with Kaiser Chiefs, Paul Weller, Goldfrapp, Pharrell Williams and Bell X1.
But even without a ticket - they sold out in under 12 hours - music fans can still breath deep on the Oxegen experience, albeit in the slightly less muddy confines of their sitting room.
MTV will broadcast hours of music and interviews over the weekend while 2FM will carry a live audio webcast of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Meanwhile, dedicated football fans who have followed every twist and turn of the World Cup over the past few weeks won't miss any of the action on the very last day.
The final between Italy and France will be shown on the campsite big screen.
Festival organisers have made a number of changes to this year's event, including drafting in 100 information stewards to help fans. In a nod to the sophisticated festival-goer who would rather not arrive home on Monday morning reeking of beer and stale socks, there will be 300 hot showers - a first for a European music festival.