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Plush facilities await you at Oxegen but pack a raincoat

OXEGEN festival goers will be well advised to pack the rain coats and wellies for this weekend's music extravaganza at Punchestown.

With forecasts for tomorrow and Saturday set to see downpours across the country, 75,000 music fans will be praying that conditions don't remain wet for long.

However, every cloud has a silver lining and forecasters at Met Eireann are confident that last year's wind, heavy rain and lower than expected temperatures won't be repeated this time around.

Temperatures are expected to hit highs of 18 degrees this weekend -- and sunny spells are in store for Sunday.

Not surprisingly, festival goers are being advised to bring their waterproofs.

"This year, it's unlikely that the rain will persist from Saturday to Sunday. It should have cleared up for the last [day]," a spokesperson for Met Eireann told the Herald.

Thousands of young festival goers began streaming into Co Kildare today as the camp sites opened for the first time.

There they were greeted by the most luxurious camping facilities for an event of this type, and not a mud puddle in sight.

This is the seventh time the country's biggest music event will take place in Co Kildare, and it is being hailed as having the best line-up.

Boasting three full days of performances from an endless list of top music stars such as Jay Z, Eminem, The Black Eyed Peas and Arcade Fire -- Oxegen has successfully sailed through the economic downturn by attracting more than 75,000 music lovers from across the globe -- including rumoured VIP groupies Kate Hudson and Beyonce.

The Herald was given an exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peak ahead of the hottest three-day fete of the summer.

Artist liaison teams are hard at work to ensure that every desire of the high-profile stars is catered for over the weekend, with VIP chill-out area requests including everything from Fiji Water and black towels to jars of jalapeno peppers and un-sweetened coconut water.

Some 4,000 workers have transformed the racecourse into a reveller's paradise over the past three weeks, and a team of 1,800 security personnel, 210 gardai and 161 medics will also be on hand to ensure it stays that way.

Spokesperson for MCD Justin Green advised fans to use public transport and bring their sunscreen.

"The fans picked the line-up -- that is why we say it is a fans festival.

"This year in particular between our surveys, direct mail and fan focus groups, fans have had more input into the line-up and onsite facilities than ever before.

"With great weather forecast, it's going to be a fantastic weekend," he added.

"My advice to fans is, if you're coming down use public transport or car pool. Last year more fans than ever before chose public transport and this year, we're again urging fans to leave the car at home.

"We strongly recommend you plan your journey in advance allowing at least an extra three hours travel time to and from the venue.

"There will be at least a 90-minute delay exiting on-site car parks at end of concert as Public Transport, Coaches and Park and Ride Shuttle Buses will be given priority.

"Always keep your phone charged and don't hesitate to contact security or gardai if you have any concerns whatsoever -- it's the fans festival and it's the fans that make it, so come and have a great weekend," he added.

Along with campsite favourites Myhabs, Podpads and several extremely coveted Tipi tents, some of the plushest accommodation options in the green site this year include the luxurious newcomers Kabins and Kocoons by Festival Village.

hnews@herald.ie


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