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let us auld wans enjoy the picnic in peace

The books have been bought, the uniforms are sparkling, the alarms are set and the kids are in a state of agitation.

Yes, it's that time of year again, when the return to school clashes with a much more important event - the annual Electric Picnic.

It's a 'must-go-to' for the country's liberalatti and the odd socialist who can afford a ticket.

Some years ago, though, I made a terrible mistake where my enjoyment of the Picnic was concerned. The husband suggested that we should do what all those other cool, liberal and oh-so-politically-correct parents do each year and bring our little darlings down to Stradbally with us.

I didn't quite understand the point. Wasn't the whole reason for the festival meant to be a reward for frazzled middle-class parents who had managed to get through the entire summer holidays with their off-spring?

Isn't the Electric Picnic supposed to be for people like me - the X-Generation - who want to hang with mates, drink lots of white wine, get a massage and perhaps go to a raucous debate or two? No, say my kids, it's about the bands! Bands? There are bands who play at the Electric Picnic?

I'm relieved to say that I've never actually heard any. Or at least not by design. I seem to recall hearing The Killers a few years back as I lolled around on cushions in a tent somewhere.

And I once had a little dance while I walked past some stage or other (see pic).

"If I want to listen to a band," I explain to my eye-rolling children, "I click on my iPod and put a pair of earphones into my ears. That way I get to hear them in comfort without having to stand on tiptoe in a mucky field while the rain pelts down".


Of course, this isn't in keeping with the whole ethos of concert-going but thankfully, the Electric Picnic allows all sorts in as long as you are wearing the right type of wellies.

But this year tickets are like gold-dust and I blame the young wans. As there was no Oxegen festival this year all those 20-somethings bought tickets for the Picnic instead.

Needless to say we 30 and 40-year-olds are devastated at this turn of events.

What are we going to tell our poor children when they spot some inebriated and over-amorous young couple canoodling half-naked?

That it's part of the biology demonstration?

And why are young wans going to hear bands that were in their hey-day before they were even born? The Blades? Blondie? The Pet-Shop Boys? Portishead?

Get your own festival, is what I say, and leave us auld wans with the one week-end where we kick back, act like eejits and remember the Eighties in peace!