Great weekend for a Picnic -- unless weather rains on parade
IF you go down to the woods today. . . you're sure of a big surprise.
Festival organisers are confidently looking forward to a weekend of positive chaos at this year's Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois.
And they are equally confident about ticket sales despite confirmation that thousands have yet to be sold.
"I would expect it will be very close to being at 32,500 by Thursday evening, very close," organiser John Reynolds said yesterday. "We are down to the last 3,000 or 4,000, maybe 5,000."
Those 5,000 tickets will set punters back €240 a pop as Electric Picnic continues to sell three-day tickets only: the option of heading in on Saturday or Sunday for a cheaper price still isn't available.
But Mr Reynolds is confident that performances by artists such as Roxy Music, The National, Eels, Janelle Monae, LCD Soundsystem, Mumford & Sons and Leftfield -- to name but a few -- will pique the interest of music fans just enough.
Along with the musical element, the festival boasts a variety of comedy, theatre, art, culture and even political cabaret with David McWilliams.
"I think the most important thing for people to genuinely look forward to is the sense of escapism they will get from the reality of what is happening in Ireland at the moment," Mr Reynolds said.
"They are going to be in a cocoon for three days and hopefully the weather will be good and they can have some fun and let their hair down and then they can go back to reality on Monday or Tuesday."
Estate owner Thomas Cosby was pleased with the conditions. "For the first time in four years we have actually got a great spell of weather.
"For the last three years it has been miserable in the build. This year the forecast is good, the ground is hard and it is looking good," he said.
But festival-goers better not be fooled into leaving their wellies behind them by the sunny weather which will last up to Friday morning.
Met Eireann forecaster Joan Blackburn said Atlantic systems will be moving in from Friday night and -- while it won't be anything on the scale of Oxegen over the past couple of years -- it will be wet with "some heavy showers".
Describing the event as his "cash cow", Mr Cosby said funding from the festival provided for the upkeep of the Cosby Estate and that there was generally little or no trouble.
Beaming from The Salty Dog stage (a wooden shipwreck in the forest) after a superb performance, Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club set the tone for the weekend to come.
"I am a big fan of Glastonbury and to me Glastonbury is not about appearing on stage it's all about the different stages. The Electric Picnic is our mini Glastonbury," Fish said.
He enjoys being on the periphery and playing on stages like The Salty Dog. "This is bandit territory and this is where it all happens, rather than on the big stages," he said.
Fish will be forced to take centre-stage on Sunday, however, when he plays with the RTE Concert Orchestra in the Body and Soul area.