Wednesday 13 November 2019

Electric Picnic chiefs have no plans for extra security

Claire O'Brien

THE organisers of the Electric Picnic music festival have no plans to increase security at this year's event, despite serious problems at a music event earlier this summer.

Promoter John Reynolds said yesterday Electric Picnic has had a "pretty flawless" record of public order and drug incidents over the last nine years and attracts a more mature audience. Mr Reynolds added that there was no indication that the younger audience who would normally attend Oxegen -- which didn't take place this year -- would travel to Stradbally in Laois for the Picnic.

The Cure, The Killers and Sigur Ros are among the headliners for the three-day event, which begins next Friday.

Mr Reynolds said there will be approximately 968 security staff and 125 gardai on duty each day, as well as a new customer care team to monitor campsites, but there will be no increase in security.

"We feel we'll have a similar audience, similar numbers and it worked well last year and previous years," he said.

He said Electric Picnic is nothing like "one-stage" events like the infamous Swedish House Mafia gig at the Phoenix Park earlier this summer.

That concert was marred by some of the worst scenes of public disorder ever seen at a music event in Ireland. Two men died of suspected drug overdoses, nine were stabbed and 40 people were treated in emergency departments.

"To make a comparison between the show at the Phoenix Park and the Electric Picnic, you're not comparing like with like," Mr Reynolds said.

Speaking at a media briefing ahead of the Electric Picnic, Mr Reynolds was asked about the impact of cheap alcohol at festivals.

"My feeling has always been there has to come a stage where people have to take responsibility for their own actions," he said

"I think there's many factors that can cause situations," he said, and maintaining responsibility can't always be "passed over to the promoter, the gardai, the council or whoever else".

While Supt Yvonne Lundon said there was a "robust" policing plan in place, she emphasised that the Electric Picnic is a well-run, family-orientated festival.

Irish Independent

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