Entertainment Music

Wednesday 21 March 2018


Electric Picnic: the beat goes on

Niall Byrne

2013 was my ninth year spent at Electric Picnic in Stradbally. Before last weekend, I felt festival fatigue had set in and there would be no surprises left for me at the Picnic.

Wrong. Utterly naively wrong. A festival is what you make it and Electric Picnic is one of the few in Ireland that can really stake the claim to be more than just a music festival.

There's room in Stradbally for the always jammers comedy tent; the Mindfield area, where the tackling of complex ideas and culture is the order of the day; the Theatre Of Food, where foodies go to to dine; the Electric Ireland tent, which hosted workout sessions by Mr Motivator; the RBMA Stage in the woods, where thousands raved it up; and Greencrafts, where I'll happily admit I spent a good five minutes mesmerised by a young man fashioning wooden bowls out of a primitive looking wheel and lever pulley contraption.

The Body & Soul area continues to be the heart of the festival with its own unique atmosphere, specially constructed wooden stages, amphitheatre and creative spaces dotted about.

This year, there was just enough subtle changes to make 2013 a different proposition. The changing demographic, new signage, some new video screens and seats at the main stage and the refashioned Trailer Park area to name a few of the small touches.

All of these extras help make EP the special event it is but this year, the music really did rule. There were masterclasses in shows (not just gigs) from The Knife, David Byrne & St Vincent and Bjork.

Most notable was the success of the Irish acts who provided many of the highlights. Irish music is in rude health and it grabbed a fair share of the applause.

Whether it was Little Green Cars' incendiary performance to thousands in the Electric Arena; Daithí's powerhousing dance-pop performances; former buskers Hudson Taylor managing the main stage with ease; the giant crowd attracted to Kodaline; the curtain-closing Sunday night double header of Le Galaxie's firecracking Body & Soul midnight main stage performance, followed by a celebratory DJ set from Mother, the best gay club in the land – Irish music rocked and raved enough to rival the international acts.

At 4am, after all the music was over on Sunday night at the RBMA stage in the brightly lit woods, a gang of true revellers cordoned off a large bin and used it as a percussive instrument which lead to an impressive rendition of We Will Rock You while a hundred stragglers danced on. It was a lasting reminder of the brilliance of a beat and what a special festival Electric Picnic can be.

Irish Independent

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