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Oh what a Picnic... and still the Cure to come

POP legends The Cure will send 30,000 fans into ecstasy at Electric Picnic tonight in a highlight of the festival.

The 1980s Goth band are the main attraction today in a three-hour set guaranteed to include all their classic pop anthems.

The tens of thousands of happy campers arrived at the usually quiet village of Stradbally yesterday for the party of the summer.

Electric Picnic, now in its ninth year, is billed as Ireland's leading boutique music festival, starting off as a one-day music event in 2004.


This weekend over 200 musical acts, 61 of them Irish, will play 3,000 hours of music during the three-day event.

Many came to pre-pitched tents, yurts and podpads, but most arrived laden down with crates, bags and wheelbarrows crammed with tents and camping gear. As the afternoon wore on gazebos were erected, picnic tables set-up and canvas chairs unpacked.

Some 800 Tour de Picnic cyclists arrived luggage-free from Dublin, having raised money for charity in return for free festival tickets.

A mix of sunglasses, raingear and wellington boots were de rigueur, though the ever-stylish designer John Rocha eschewed the number one footwear choice in favour of signature black, sporting ankle-length trousers and shoes.

Many children, some carried in pull-along wagons and backpacks, could be seen wearing colourful ear protectors, allowing them enjoy the music safely.

Kormac's Big Band opened the Main Stage at 4pm with a rousing act supported by a 10-piece band, followed by a great vocal performance by Alabama Shakes. Other acts that proved popular included The Vaccines and Grizzly Bear. As more people arrived the marquees filled to capacity and the crowd got louder and more enthusiastic with each performance.

As the sun began to fade Bono and wife Ali were spotted slipping on to the side of the Main Stage with The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, to enjoy pal Gavin Friday's lively and commanding performance. With 17 stages around the arena festival-goers were torn between musicians, chefs at the Theatre of Food and a political cabaret hosted by David McWilliams and Fintan O'Toole.

Today, the choice gets even harder when the comedy tent opens tomorrow with a stellar line-up that includes Kevin McAleer, David McSavage and Karl Spain.