By Will McKenna
Traveling down to Electric Picnic always gives me butterflies in my belly. This was to be my fourth year in a row, but this year I had been eagerly awaiting since the line-up was released as my favourite band Blur were to headline on the Saturday night for the first time at the Picnic and the first time in Ireland for 5 years.
I decided to get the normal bus service to Laois as I wanted to stay clear of festival buses. I made it in at around 9pm Friday and the party was already well under way. The Picnic has one of the best amusement parks in Ireland and being a trill seeker I was determined to try all the crazy rides first. After that, it was time to check out the surroundings.
A Great Show
Every year I.ve been to E Picnic, I’m amazed at how the organizers keep adding new and wonderful various activities like The Circus, kiddy play areas, bean-bag town, tents, shops, mini-stages (most of which have been built and set up by competition winners and independent artists), pretty much something for everybody. That first night when I got finished with the rides I went to the main stage to see one of my old-school favourites ‘Underworld’. They put on a great show as always and are the perfect band to get everyone in the mood for heading to the now world famous ‘Rave in the Woods’ were the party keeps going.
Not to many people slept on the first night so it was to the campsite I high tailed it as it’s an amazing place to stroll around and meet people you’ve never met before, friends you lost as soon as you hit the main area and those people you seem to bump into at every single festival. I had a great laugh talking with the festies about anything from life, to which bands they enjoyed, to which ones they can’t wait to see.
My memory of Saturday is jumbled but I can remember the weather being like the Picnic itself; warm, sunny and beautiful. There was only one band I couldn’t wait to see that day and they were a band I’ve loved my whole life and for good reason; the brilliant Londoners, ‘Blur’.
This was to be my fifth time seeing the boys so I decided to go all the way to the front of the stage. It was packed to the rafters with people of all ages, and all just as mad into ‘Blur’ as I am. Of course they were fantastic, with a two-hour plus set, buzzing with energy and amazing songs. The gig past in the blink of an eye and I can honestly say that they could’ve played for six hours and not one person there would’ve complained. Next, we’re off to ‘Rave in the Woods Part II’ with the D.J’s being better, even louder and playing for longer than the night before.
I managed to get a couple of hours sleep on Sunday morning, but that didn’t last long, till we were all up and atom again; this time with a lot less energy than the morning last! I stayed at ‘The Jimi Hendrix Campsite’ with all of the gang till the All Ireland Hurling Final came on, a little after 3pm. They showed it on the big screen and the place was filled with Kilkenny and Galway fans, plus thousands of neutrals, most of which hoping Galway could wrestle the title away from Kilkenny. It was not to be though and ended up being “Same auld (you know what!), different year”.
Sunday’s band list at the Picnic is usually reserved for the most chilled-out bands and this year was no exception. A friend of mine Andrew and his band ‘Fallen Lights’ played at the ‘Rankin Wood Stage’ and they really surprised me with their professionalism and confidence. They were excellent. Soon we were back in the main area and we all split as there were a lot of good bands on at the same time at different stages. Sunday night is always like that. The lads wanted to see ‘Manic Street Preachers’, ‘Florence and the Machine’ but I was in the mood for something with a bit more kick and the brilliant ‘Interpol’ really hit the spot.
I then went on a ramble through all the stages and activities that I hadn’t had the chance to see, before the festival was to end. A band I never heard of before ‘One Horse Pony’ managed to get my now very knobbly knee’s moving again. I caught the last part of ‘Rave in the Woods’ and once again, the D.J’s were brill, with one playing a mix of The Beatles ‘Get Back’ and Fat Boy Slim’s ‘Praise You’, which I remember thinking what a perfect combination to say goodbye to a perfect weekend.
This year’s Electric Picnic was even better than my first experience, which as you know is always incredibly hard to beat. As well, it was I my opinion, the best line-up at any festival I’ve ever attended. It was also the fourth year in a row there wasn’t a drop of rain, which must be a record for any festival in this neck of the woods. Much more will come back to me over time I’m sure, but that is just to get me ready and in the mood for next year. Please God……