Sunday 17 December 2017

Picnic celebrates a decade and plugs in for 10 more years

Preparing the main stage for Electric Picinic 2013 at Stradbally Hall, Co Laois. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins.
Preparing the main stage for Electric Picinic 2013 at Stradbally Hall, Co Laois. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins.

TEN years done and 10 more to go – the organisers of Electric Picnic have signed a deal to host another decade of festivals at Stradbally Estate in Co Laois.

Music, art, theatre and food are all on the menu this weekend and the promoters say: "Ultimately, it's a huge party."

However, some of the acts involved say the highlights are away from the main stage, including pop-up performances in the Body & Soul area, an array of musicians on the Salty Dog stage, a 40-tonne shipwreck in the woods and The Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow.

Fish says his circus-themed tent is his inner child gone crazy, with carnival acts, street theatre and intimate performances by special guests and DJs.

"It's great for the Irish psyche and spirit; it's where people let themselves go. It's Ireland's Glastonbury," he said.

A drop in ticket price has helped sales rocket to 35,000 and the future looks bright.

"One of the ways to celebrate its birthday is to make sure we have another 10," said Melvin Benn, of EP Republic.

"We are absolutely committed to it. For me, it's the most important event in Ireland; it's got to keep going."

Headline acts this weekend will be Fatboy Slim, Bjork, Arctic Monkeys, Robert Plant presents Sensational Space Shifters and Disclosure.

Hundreds of artists and construction workers and 1,500 security staff will be on standby over the weekend.

Among the ordinary punters will be one of the founders, who is embroiled in a court case over the Picnic. But at least John Reynolds won't have to buy a ticket, as he's due to get a pass for the event.

"I certainly do hope he comes. He has contributed enormously to the Electric Picnic," Benn said.

"He owns a reasonable shareholding of the Electric Picnic and I would be delighted if he was here to experience our 10th birthday," he added.

However the Hull man is currently locked in a court case brought by Mr Reynolds.

"We appear to be to be still in court against one another, but I would like that not to be the case," added Benn.

Top chefs including Derry Clarke will entertain food lovers in the Theatre of Food, while Derry-born Bronagh Gallagher takes to the Salty Dog stage with her band on Saturday.

The Pulp Fiction actress said that she was particularly looking forward to seeing Icelandic star Bjork, Arctic Monkeys and Wu-Tang Clan.

"I'll be right up the front for them, freaking out. They're my kind of band," she said.


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