Entertainment Festivals

Saturday 24 February 2018

Teenage kicks...and some oldies for electric opening

New wave icons Blondie tip hat to The Strypes

Debbie Harry performs on the main stage at the first day of Electric Picnic. Photo: Damien Eagers
Debbie Harry performs on the main stage at the first day of Electric Picnic. Photo: Damien Eagers
Mullingar Ladies Annija Koskina, Hazel Gavigan, Niamh Gilmartin,Orla Tubridy, Clodagh Foley, Siofra O'Farrell and Laura Murphy at The Electric Picnic in Stradbally yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers
Hector O hEochagain and his wife Dympna. Photo: Damien Eagers
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

It was the ultimate proof that Electric Picnic's appeal crosses generations.

Teenage rockers The Strypes got the nod of approval from iconic 1980s band Blondie before they took to the stage at the festival last night.

"I'm looking forward to bumping into BP Fallon later and listening to The Strypes," Debbie Harry told an attentive crowd.

"Have you heard of those guys?" legendary drummer Clem Burke asked. "They are fantastic. I love them, they are going places."

The rain poured down and the wellies came out, but that didn't steal the glamour from a band who have been around twice as long as many of the crowd.

Blondie toasted their 40 years in the music business performing classic hits Atomic and Heart of Glass on the Main Stage in Stradbally.

"Last time we played Vicar Street. We love being here - the atmosphere is always great," Harry said.

They were followed by the Pet Shop Boys, who treated the crowd to Go West and Always on My Mind.

The first acts didn't go on stage till 5pm but that didn't stop festival-goers arriving early, weighed down with tent poles, yoga mats and rolls of emergency toilet roll.

Veteran campers were determined to find the perfect place to pitch their tents.

"We're seasoned pros at this stage," said Laura Costello (23) from Ranelagh.

"We arrived early to get a place, it fills up quick and fast and you don't want to be sleeping in a puddle of muddy water."

The mist and the rain started to ease in the evening, with the sun breaking through the skies.

"The place is buzzing and if we get a bit of an Indian summer going on I'll be delighted," Aoife Duffy from West Meath said.

Close to 41,000 revellers will attend the festival to catch some of the biggest names in music including Portishead, Outkast, Beck and Simple Minds.

And if that wasn't enough, tickets for the 2015 festival will go on sale next Monday.

Festival Republic's Melvin Benn had intended to place the Early Bird tickets on sale on Friday but moved the date to accommodate those attending the festival.

"I thought it was only fair for those who are already down here," he said - which came as good news to several festival virgins.

"It's my first time down here and I love it already," Sinead Curran from Derry said. "I'll definitely buy tickets on Monday ... after I have recovered.

"When I saw the rain I was a bit worried but now I can't wait to start sliding around in the mud and listening to great bands."

Those less interested in mud sliding and crowd surfing headed to areas such as Body & Soul and Trailer Park, which were filled with retro pampering saloons, immersive sound booths, barber shops, organic food stalls, ferris wheels and seaweed baths and hot jacuzzis to plunge into.

"It's got a great family friendly atmosphere," said mother-of-two Niamh Guthrie. "I brought my two kids Dara and Evely and the tent in a wheelbarrow. There are so many fun activities that we all do, it's a great day for everyone."

To commemorate the festival's 10th year, RTE were broadcasting live and presenters Jenny Greene, Eoghan McDermott and Nicky Byrne were all on site.

Shane MacGowan, Laura Whitmore, Jack Reynor and several members of the Irish rugby squad are also due to get down and dirty at the festival over the weekend.

Irish Independent

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