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Still lots of atmosphere as Oxegen levels drop

FESTIVAL: Numbers down, but the craic was raised to an even higher level

BAD weather and bus strikes did little to put a damper on music festival spirits at the weekend.

Numbers may have been down but the atmosphere was still buzzing at Oxegen, Castlepalooza and Indiependence festivals.

Superstar DJs and pop starlets brought their 'A game' to the Punchestown festival, while indie acts rocked out at Castlepalooza in Offaly at and Indiependence in Cork.

Just under 30,000 tickets – and 8,000 camping tickets – were sold for Oxegen according to on-site security.

It was a slow start to the day but come the evening and thousands of dance fanatics spilled into Punchestown racecourse.

David Guetta, Nicky Romero, Snoop Dogg and Pitbull were the headlines and they all delivered stellar sets with crowds jumping up and down and waving their hands – and glowsticks – in the air like they just didn't care.

The self-acclaimed "greatest festival in Europe" has a much, much younger crowd than most summer festivals.

This is not a family or arts friendly area: there are no quirky theatre performers, art installations or trendy hipsters.

Instead, there are lots of pretty young girls in neon aviators, super short shorts, and men in onesies and wellington boots.



Organisers had full control of the thousands in attendance and there were no reported serious incidents.

Yesterday Rizzle Kicks played a phenomenal set that included When I Was A Youngster and songs from their upcoming album.

Nicola Gallagher (20) from Raheny said that the crowd was well behaved and looking forward to enjoying the music.

"People think Oxegen has a dodgy crowd," she said.

"But it's just full of happy people having a good time."

The three-day event kicked off properly on Saturday night when Serbian songstress Rita Ora took to the stage.

Performing a variety of her pop hits including Rip, Radioactive and and How We Do, the 22-year-old got the crowd moving telling fans she simply didn't care about the rain.

Rita jetted in with DJ boyfriend Calvin Harris – who was also performing – from New York on Friday.

Punters went wild for UK rapper Example who performed some of his best-known hits.

Afterwards Example tweeted a picture of the ecstatic crowd "Some lovely Irish people in a field enjoying my music."



"The set and atmosphere was electric," Rory Grimes (22) of Tallaght said.

But the star of the night was when pop genius Calvin Harris took to the stage.

The crowd went crazy when he performed chart topper We Found Love.

The festival consists of three stages – the super-small Other Stage, the Heineken Live Project Stage and the Red Bull Electric Ballroom, which was constantly buzzing.

And it hit a high last night when Nicky Romero performed his set in the early hours.

"I came all the way up from Cork to see Nicky and he didn't disappoint," Eithne Murphy (27) said.

"There are definitely fewer here this year, but that's a good thing: it's less crazy and more craic."

Snoop Dogg and David Guetta were the headline acts on the final night and the crowd were pumped to see the star DJ.

"David Guetta will be amazing," Rachael Murphy (19) of Naas said. "I've never seen him before and I'm so excited about it I feel like I'm going to cry."

And the scaled-down venue and smaller crowd seemed to be positive for both the fans and the guards – who said keeping watch on the revellers was "a walk in the park compared to other festivals".