Happy campers head home after Electric Picnic weekend bliss
FESTIVAL organisers will always look for areas to improve on, but this was almost perfect.
Glorious weather, a dizzying array of quality entertainment and little or no trouble all combined to make this year's Electric Picnic Festival an overwhelming success. Even the portaloos didn't bring in as many complaints as usual.
The sun shone again yesterday for the final day of the three-day event, which attracted over 30,000 concert-goers to Stradbally in Co Laois.
Fears that the recession might impact heavily on the annual event proved largely unfounded, with concert promoter John Reynolds saying "ticket sales had exceeded expectations", although it wasn't a sell-out.
"We are very happy with how it went. The Electric Picnic is Ireland's most complete multi-arts festival in which all the different elements work in perfect harmony with each other," said Mr Reynolds.
Gardai reported one incident of concern -- it involved a 19-year-old man who is in critical condition in Midlands Regional Hospital last night, having been rushed their after being treated at the festival medical tent on Sunday morning.
Gardai are investigating the matter -- but remained satisfied with how the festival went.
"We haven't heard of any major incidents. Gardai on the ground have told us it went well," said a spokesman.
Musician Nick Kelly had his own take on why the Electric Picnic stays trouble-free year after year.
"The organisers take a lot of time to make people comfortable, so everyone is in a good mood, which means good things happen rather than bad things," he said, after performing with his reformed band The Fat Lady Sings on the Crawdaddy stage yesterday.
Not even a three-hour appearance from The Cure on Saturday night could dampen the spirits. That was more a box set than a festival set, with upwards of 30 angst-ridden songs delivered by Robert Smith and his band.
There was so much dry ice it seemed at times as if the main stage was under low cloud.
However, better-known hits including 'In Between Days' and 'Boys Don't Cry' helped lift the heavy fog.
Queen of the Picnic for many was Patti Smith, who performed earlier in the evening. Bono and Glen Hansard were among devotees who crammed the Crawdaddy tent to see the 65-year-old Godmother of Punk deliver hits like 'Because The Night' and her tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, 'Pissing In The River'.
Meanwhile, some of TV's biggest names were to be found at the Salty Dog stage, where celebrity agent Noel Kelly was singing lead vocals for the Transformation Blues Band.
"It's great to see Noel singing for his supper for a change and it should give him a feel for what it's like to work behind a microphone like all the rest of us," said Ryan Tubridy, who watched the set with girlfriend Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain and fellow presenters Dave Fanning, Tom Dunne and Lorraine Keane.
Actress Saoirse Ronan, film maker Neil Jordan, designer John Rocha, and rugby players Rob Kearney and Cian Healy were among other VIPs attending. But the pride of the Picnic remains the tens of thousands who flock to the meadows of Stradbally Estate.
This year they included Jonathan Moin (20) from Dundalk, and Carey Mulligan (20) from Dublin.
"This is my third year and I'll be back again next year for the music, and the variety of music that makes the Electric Picnic such a special weekend," said Jonathan.
The Killers, Hot Chip and Glen Hansard closed the festival last night.
Campers will be allowed sleep on this morning, with those in tents not asked to leave until 1pm.
If you were there, why not send us your photos from the Picnic?