Sunday 25 February 2018

It's all a Blur for Leo at the Electric Picnic

Minister joins the Riptide at the last shindig of the summer

Leo Varadkar at Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois
Leo Varadkar at Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois
Vogue Williams at Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co Laois
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Apparently many young people want to see Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach one day. Maybe it's because he loves Blur.

The somewhat in-touch minister told me he was looking forward to seeing Damon Albarn and the gang headline last night at the Picnic.

"I haven't heard much yet," he added. I'm going to go to George Ezra, Riptide Movement. Then the Mother DJs are doing a spot." [Could you imagine having this conversation with Enda Kenny about the Mother DJs?] "And then I'm going to Blur," he continued.

"I've never been before. It's really vast. Body & Soul and the Rave in the Woods were great last night."

I asked Fine Gael's leader-in-waiting what he enjoyed most about Grace Jones on Friday night.

"Her costume."

Did he enjoy Grace sufficiently to dance?

"Not sufficiently," Leo answered brilliantly. "I can't dance. I look ridiculous."

Denis Desmond, the brains behind the event, summed up the festival's unique appeal: "Great music and so much more. It's wonderful to see everyone from six to 60 enjoying themselves."

Mr Desmond was spot on. 48,000 people of all ages were enjoying themselves alright.

It was the last shindig of the summer. The last hurrah. A requiem for a terrible summer. And the Irish weather for once was good to us and drenched us in sunshine yesterday.

Devotees of good music and good craic also had access to great food from the 100 food stalls on offer.

Some of the (let's just say, mature) revellers like me were able to relive their long-lost youth, walking around in ridiculous clothes and wellies, listening to music in a field with a plastic glass of beer in their hand and talking endless s**te to other people about nothing in particular. Such is the true magic of the music festival.

It is a generally accepted wisdom that in the rock festival world, no one judges you for the way you look, that on the contrary the odder and crazier you look, the better.

Toby Young in The Spectator magazine last year posed the question whether it is some sort of self-delusion that makes people go to rock festivals?

"Is it consumerism wrapped up as subversion? Or just the declining, liberal chattering classes huddled together for warmth?"

Delusional my arse.

At Electric Picnic, there is a sense of human belonging and almost a hippy community spirit, if only for the weekend. When we get back to Dublin, Cork, Galway,Killarney, (insert Your Own Town here) we can go back to being superior and ignoring each other again.

Underworld brought Friday night to a close. Yesterday morning there were plenty of walking wounded - poor souls who looked like they got their groove on a little too groovily.

Promoting their self-proclaimed sci-fi folk album The Magic Whip - the album of 2015 in my humble opinion - Leo V's favourites Blur took to the main stage at 11.30pm last night after Sam Smith, Hot Chip, George Ezra and Future Islands.

Sunday Independent

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