Saturday 24 February 2018

It's Electric as super-charged music fans tuck into Picnic

site in Co Laois yesterday
the site in Co Laois yesterday

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

A convoy of music fans converged on Stradbally, Co Laois, yesterday for the first day of the Electric Picnic Music Festival.

If you're between 30 and 40, middle-class and professional, chances are you were one of them.

More so if you own the coveted campervan mode of transport, which began arriving on the outskirts of the Stradbally estate when gates opened at about 9am.

Some 30,000 concert-goers are expected over the weekend to watch 200 performers playing on 17 stages.

With the rain holding off, festival-goers were in good form pitching their tents.

Married couple Eric and Adrienne Daly from north Dublin were typical of the Picnic crowd, driving down from Skerries in their beige 1977 VW Campervan.

"The campervan is part of the fun of the festival. It's a bit more luxurious than a tent and you've hundreds of other campervan owners in the campsite," said the mobile marketer.

Orla Moore and husband Alan Farrell from Portmarnock, Dublin, drove down with their children Ruby (5) and Evie (3).

"We're on the family campsite and it's brilliant for kids. The loos and showers are perfect and they have plays, kids painting and balloons to keep them busy all day," said Ms Moore.

Even for Sinead O'Connor this has been the most bizarre week as she continued her search for love, pulled out of last night's 'Late Late Show' before changing her mind and deciding to appear, and also announcing she was to pose for 'Playboy Magazine'.

But the moment the 44-year-old opened her mouth and sang on the main stage last night, all this was forgotten.

Wearing a black suit and white scarf with Jamaican-flag covered trimmings, she had the crowd's attention almost immediately as she began an hour-long set of older material and tracks taken from her new album 'Home'.

She dedicated a take on WB Yeats' 'I Am Stretched Across Your Grave' to late singer Amy Winehouse and new song 'Old Lady' to Ryan Tubridy.

"See you later baby. Mama is coming home," she joked about the 'Late Late' host in reference to her appearance on the show last night.


Earlier, O'Connor had spent the afternoon 'mammying' fellow singer Gavin Friday backstage.

"Sinead made me the most incredible drink made from sliced-up ginger roots. She mammied me and really looked after me. I love Sinead and know her a long time. All this publicity she has been getting lately is just a bit of a laugh. I think Ryan Tubridy needed the publicity more than her," he said.

Friday performed on The Cosby Stage at 9.40pm with U2's The Edge among the crowd.

The Edge's brother, ex-Virgin Prune Dik Evans, joined Friday on-stage for his first song.

"Dik taught Edge how to play guitar so he has a bit of form," Friday joked.

The 50-year-old revealed that it was his first time at the Electric Picnic.

"I thought I would be too old, but hanging around here today I find I'm one of the young ones. I don't know if Bono is coming because he might be afraid my gig will blow him away," said Friday.

Organisers last night reported very little traffic problems approaching the site, and ground firm underfoot for punters.

US act Interpol, UK singer PJ Harvey and reggae artist Jimmy Cliff were the other highlights of last night.

Arcade Fire are among headliners tonight.

An unlikely fan of the band is RTE host Miriam O'Callaghan, who will catch their show as well as conducting a public interview with author John Banville on the Mindfield stage at 3pm today.

"Myself and my husband Steve love Arcade Fire. I have lovely pink wellies so I'm not worried if the rain comes down," O'Callaghan told the Irish Independent.

Reformed nineties band Pulp close the festival tomorrow night.

Irish Independent

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