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My trial-run wedding at the Electric Picnic inflatable church

EARLIER this year, I got engaged to my fiance Trevor. Upon hearing the news, the first question everyone used to ask was "when are you getting married"? And until we decided, our answer was always the same - "some time between Electric Picnic and Christmas".

Because EP is such an indelible fixture on our calendar, nothing could get in the way of our fun.

I think what makes Electric Picnic different from all other music festivals is that it's ... well ... different.

It's not about music, or headliners, or finding the hottest unsigned act.

No, it's something more akin to starring in your own grown-up Enid Blyton fantasy. . . with block-rocking beats, of course.

Because while the line-up is fantastic, and this year includes acts like Pulp, PJ Harvey, Gavin Friday, The Rubber Bandits and Public Enemy, in all honesty, I doubt I'll get to see many -- if any -- of them.

Why? Because there's just so much more to do.

The home of the very patient James Cosby in Stradbally, Co Laois will become an enchanted alternative universe once again on Friday, as about 40,000 will pass in and out (emphasis on the 'out' for some), of its gates.



bazaars

And in addition to the various music stages, there's the comedy tent, the Mindfield area (home of some great debate and serious chin-stroking), the Body-Soul area, complete with outdoor hot tubs and fairy forest, plenty of art installations, Fossets circus, Theatre of Food and even a mini Electric Picnic for kids.

And that's before you come across bonus extras in the campsites, like the silent disco or the cool little tea bazaars.

I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of committing to see any bands, because like all other EP stalwarts, I'm planning a weekend like no other.

Firstly, Trevor and I want to get married in the inflatable church that appears each year near the forest.

As the big date has now been set for early December, we both thought it'd be good for a practice run (as well as a bit of a caper).

And how better to prepare for a festival wedding, than at one of the EP Pamper Palaces, Mecca for festival make-overs.

Here's where you can get your hair re-pouffed, false eyelashes applied, glitter or fluro make-up, body art ... whatever.

But of course, all of this is dependent on me getting out of the luxury surroundings of the Heritage Hotel in Killenard. Myself and my friend Triona McCarthy (with our significant others) have a rolling booking there year-to-year and, in all honesty, the only way we can survive three days and nights of trudging through fields, parties in campsites and raves in forests is thanks to the five star luxury, door-to-backstage lifts and the reviving qualities of both The Heritage's spa and their stunning Mojitos.

It's hard to pull oneself away from all that excitement, especially as you never know who might walk into the hotel's residents' bar, but thankfully there are plenty more Mojitos on tap at the Bacardi B-Bar, our first port of call when we hit Stradbally.

Then, while it's so easy to just hunker down and enjoy the delights of the VIP Picnic Garden, the wanderlust hits, as does the lure of the hundreds of tantalising shops, stalls, pop-up restaurants and environmental sculptures.

Over at the Mindfield space, there are debates to get stuck into, plus the "will he/won't he" appearance of Ryan Tubridy to review the papers on the Sunday morning. This year, there's talk of Bob Geldof speaking but just as it's hard to factor in bands, I don't know if there's even half a chance I'll make it for his slot.



juggle

Instead, I'll probably be too busy staring at the punky acrobatic theatrics of Arcadia, who do things like juggle electricity while standing on their heads.

Whatever the plan now, I know by the weekend it'll have changed again a dozen times. Which is the great fun part of Electric Picnic. You can go with the flow, as the tide will lead you to something even more exciting than you could possibly imagine.

See you there.


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