Archives for posts with tag: Festivals

Electric Picnic closes the summer festival season, and is the largest in Ireland. In this last in a 3-part blog series in praise of the event, I focus on the people.

People come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and to a degree the same can be said for EP. There aren’t supposed to be kids from 13 to 18 there, but you see a few of them. The main demographic is 19 to 35 without question. There are a few young families there, but there’s also a surprising number in the 45 to 65 range too. If you can do 20- or 30-thousand steps a day in fields, and probably a good deal less if you’re not a culture vulture, you’re young and healthy enough for EP. You get the socio-economic panoply attending as well; it’s not confined to musos and hippies.

Drink is freely available, and according to my more savvy festival friends, drugs are too. I’ve never seen anyone supplying or receiving, but I’m not in the particular demographic and I’m not in the market. You do see a lot of people the worse for wear from both groups of stimulants, but trouble is very hard to find. You can be jumping up and down in a packed arena and bump into someone, and it’s all very good natured. A mutual apology is usually forthcoming.

Environmentally, of course, these types of events are an unnatural disaster. I don’t know where to start on this. One of the most ironic moments for me was watching a video in the middle of The 1975’s set where we were encouraged to consider civil disobedience since governments had failed to response adequately to the environmental crisis. ‘We’re producing too many greenhouse gases,’ said the screen on the main stage, which was probably burning 1.21 jigowatts of energy a minute in front of 30,000 people consuming their drink from a plastic cup.

EP is making an effort on the enviro front, but it needs to do so much more. A truly great weekend though, if that doesn’t sound too flippant a sign-off.

In this second in a 3-part series in praise of the Electric Picnic music and arts festival in Ireland, I look at accommodation. And what a choice there is. While your ticket entitles you to put up a tent in ‘general camping’, there is a large array of additional options.

It all depends on your preferences for comfort, company, noise and location. You can bring a motor home. You can opt for eco-camping, as well as family camping. You can take one of the several ‘glamping’ options with the common denominator being that the accommodation is ready for you when you enter the festival, and you leave it set up when you head home. This makes an awful lot of difference to the amount of gear you need to transport to and from where you’re sleeping. But it come at price. There are lots of different sizes and types of tents and huts, from the functional to the fairly luxurious.

These posher camping options also come with better toilet facilities, showers, and are generally located closer to the action so you’ve less distance to trudge to get to the entertainment and sustenance.

We went with a modest pre-erected teepee-style tent in the glamping area. It pretty much doubles your entry ticket, but it’s worth it, especially if you’re the wrong side of 40 and can’t be bothered to slum it any more. It was also a mere 5 minutes’ walk to the main site, which is very handy if a change of weather calls for a wardrobe change, an occupational hazard at the end of August/beginning of September.

As you might expect, the nicer the accommodation, the nicer condition the place is left in when you leave, and the less of a hammering the site takes. I’m told the general camping is like a war zone on a Monday morning, and I’m inclined to take people’s word for it. I simply wouldn’t go if all I could get was general camping. I’m not 20 any more.

For many who attended the largest music and arts festival on the island of Ireland during the Summer-Autumn cusp of 30th August to 2nd September, it is but a distant memory. With my tickets for 2020 already in the proverbial bag, however, I thought it would be worth paying a 3-part homage to the event.

I’m going to tackle this 3-part blog series as follows: music, accommodation and people. For music fans EP is a chance to connect with many major acts that you’ve not seen before. The kind of acts that you might not go and see specifically, in isolation. You’re probably not going to see the huge global acts coming to EP, but you’ll still get some major players making the trip down to rural county Laois. Performers play a huge variety of venues, from the main stage which can accommodate 50,000 people, to the big tops that will hold 5,000 and the little corner venues that will just about seat 50. Some of them are unknowns, some are on the rise, some are massive, and some were household names a generation ago and are still playing the lucrative festival trade.

There’s also a bourgeoning comedy and arts side to the festival, which tends to get dominated by the over 30’s, but again it’s a chance to hear and see some major people in their respective domains.

Many folk do their research beforehand and mark the shows they definitely want to see. Often there are clashes and agonising decisions to make: do I catch one or the other or try and do a bit of both? For me, though, the real benefit is going from venue to venue, stumbling onto stuff I’d never heard of and either giving it 5 minutes or else staying for the entire gig and making a note of them for the future.

I’m never quite prepared enough for the weekend, by which I mean I haven’t listened to enough of the pre-event playlists to make sure I’m not missing out. I tend to listen to the EP playlists for a few days afterwards and come to the realisation that there was so much more music I would have seen if I’d only had the knowledge, and more time.

If you like your music, there’s no better place for gorging on the sheer breadth and volume of it than at EP.