Thursday 18 July 2019

Electric Picnic 2019: Hozier, Florence and the Machine, The Strokes, The 1975 headlining

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine (Ben Birchall/PA)
Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine (Ben Birchall/PA)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The first acts for Electric Picnic 2019 have been revealed.

Homegrown talent Hozier, whose second album Wasteland Baby! has just landed at number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart in the US, tops the bill alongside Florence and the Machine, The Strokes and The 1975.

Also performing over the weekend will be Billie Eilish, Christine and the Queens, James Blake, Dermot Kennedy, The Streets, Jarvis Cocker introducing JARV IS, Jess Glynne, Four Tet, Years & Years, Róisín Murphy and more.

"It's the most extraordinary line-up, way way beyond anything we've ever done, absolutely amazing," said Festival Director Melvin Benn.  " Hozier is going to be really really special headlining the show."

While previous line-ups may not have suited everyone, he believes there's something for everyone this time around; "There will always be people who are disappointed. How they'd be disappointed with this one is beyond me!"

Taking place across three days from August 30 to September 1 at Stradbally Hall, Co Laois, the 2019 festival is the biggest in Ireland with a capacity this year of 55,000.

It boasts not only multiple stages with different genres of music but spoken word, comedy, theatre, workshops, crafts, dance, lake swimming, gourmet food and a host of other treats.

This year also sees the addition of a brand new area, Freetown, which sees an extra 30 acres added to the Electric Picnic site.

It's an entirely new self-contained town which will be created (by the creatives behind Salty Dog, Berlinhaus, and Trailer Park) on the site formerly occupied by the Oscar Wilde campsite.

It will centre around Terminus, a new 8,000 capacity stage for electronic and dance.  The town will also boast Providencia with 'Latino life down every alley-way' and, on the outskirts, there will be Spike Island, The Oasis, and Cirque.

Benn said he "pressed a real big refresh button with the festival" this year in creating Freetown, adding, "I'm not diluting anything in the existing festival - it's a whole new area."

He added, "It's a place that will really move Electric Picnic on to another festival within itself."

With a small number of tickets released for Thursday evening, Benn points out that the festival now effectively runs over four days.  However, while he says the festival has scope to 'grow a little', it will never run to a week a la Glastonbury etc.

"No, we'll never have a week long.  I think that would test the patience of the people of Laois and Stradbally!"

Such is the draw of Electric Picnic, which has grown in scale and ambition over the course of 15 years, this year’s event sold out before any acts had even been announced.

Options are limited in terms of securing a ticket for this year's event and Benn warned punters to be aware of touts.

"The reality is that the tickets are all gone," he said.  "I believe Three have still got some which I believe they'll release nearer the festival but beyond that everything's gone.  If you are trying to buy just be really really careful where you're buying from because it is the hottest ticket in town."

The gamble on tickets has paid off for those who shelled out up to €250 for a weekend pass, but for those who failed to bag tickets, there’s good news on the way from EP organisers Festival Republic. They will soon be announcing a brand new summer festival at a new location.

In the meantime, the focus is on EP, which now faces a little competition from All Together Now, which arrived on the scene to rave reviews last August Bank Holiday weekend.  There is room enough for everyone, however, according to Benn.

"I've spent my entire life creating and producing festivals and I believe festivals are an incredible release for people's pressured lives.  The fact that there are more and more of them is only reinforcing my belief that they are so important," he says.

"I'm not looking at them from a point of view of worry or anything like that.  I just think the more the better.  The more people who are going to festivals the better it is."

For more information check out www.electricpicnic.ie

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