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Top tips for Picnic ... bring wellies AND sunscreen

AS 32,5000 revellers get set to descend on the tiny town of Stradbally this weekend for Electric Picnic, more than 2,000 people are working against the clock to put the finishing touches to the venue.

The Herald got on the estate's own steam train, a quirky feature which is unfortunately unavailable to revellers this weekend as it only holds two carriages, to get a quick preview of what's in store for music lovers.

Fans are being encouraged to bring wellies, sunglasses and sunscreen as farmers promise the weather will remain "fine and mostly sunny, but you never know what to expect in this country".

Revellers getting lost in the forest on their way from their tents to the main stage will not be short of entertainment, the Herald found out.

Chocolate and rum cocktails and live music will be provided at The Salty Dog Saloon, a site described as "bandit territory" by Irish jazz band, Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club.

"We're expecting to see pirates and mermaids and sea-faring folk turn up to The Saloon, we're bringing a little bit of Glastonbury to Ireland," Jerry said. Next stop was the much-anticipated 'Body and Soul' area which will provide revellers with its own range of eclectic music and holistic arts -- think hot tubs, yoga classes, performances by the RTE orchestra, and children's workshops.

Amazed

Body and Soul organiser Avril Stanley told the Herald that she never expected it to be so successful as to become a separate event, the 'Body and Soul Gathering' which took place in Co Westmeath in June.

"I think we're quite amazed at how well people have taken to it and how well it's loved actually," she said.

Avril believes that Body and Soul's -- and Electric Picnic's - distinctive character is ensured by its small size in comparison to other European festivals.

"To be honest we want to keep it really special, have it be something that's bespoke, to maintain a sense of intimacy, if we lose that, then it's time to quit."

Finally, the Herald was given a chance to get up on Stradbally's main stage before any of this year's headline acts -- Roxy Music, Leftfield and Massive Attack.

hnews@herald.ie


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