Electric Picnic is hands down my favourite festival in Ireland, and possibly my favourite festival in general. Electric Picnic is a music and arts festival held every year in Stradbally, Co.Laois in Ireland which brings (currently) around 55,000 through the gates. It is as much a festival for older crowds and families as it is for kids just finished their leaving cert as there is really something for everyone. Below are some tips that I have learned in the last two years of attending. (I’m aware I look insane in that picture… That’s what festivals are all about though, right?!)
I strongly advise you get down as early as you can to nab a good spot for your tent before the masses arrive, especially if there is more than one tent to pitch. Jimmy Hendrix is known for being the best campsite to choose because it’s super close to the grounds, but Andy Warhol isn’t that far either. You want to pitch your tent close enough to the toilets – but not too close! And try avoid the absolute middle of the grounds because hurdling over tent wires when your drunk is a complete nightmare. There are flags and signs up everywhere – so try get somewhere with a landmark to pin point your spot so you don’t lose where you are in the tent maze. There are food trucks & places to charge your phone in every campsite. If you’re charging your phone, put it on airplane mode to make it charge quicker or hand it in at night while you sleep when the queues are smaller. There are good showers in each campsite but be clever and rise that small bit earlier than usual to beat the queue. If you go to shower around 9 o’ clock you’ll generally not have much of a queue but if you wait that extra hour until 10 you could be in line for over an hour. There are places to get your hair and makeup done as well if the camping life is just too rough for you!
I strongly urge you to go to different tents and not stay solely at the main stage. Unlike other festivals I have been to, there are actually kick ass acts on in places other than the main stage and the smaller vibe is pretty cool too! Casa Bacardi is literally a never ending party, there won’t be names you’ll know playing (more than likely, but never say never!) but its great for a dance in between acts much like the Heineken Sound Atlas which has DJ’s spitting out tunes all day long in a really nice area. If it’s sunny, there is nothing nicer than chilling on the grass by the main stage in Body & Soul. You can soak up the sun while listening to some seriously cool music. Trenchtown is one of my favourite stages I think. Hidden away in the woods the vibe is always great here and it makes for a great stop off on the way to the main arena (pretty sure you can carry drink from the campsite through trenchtown before going into the main arena, so it’s a great place to listen to music and drink!). Rankin’s Wood, Little Big Tent, Electric Arena & The Cosby Tent are some great tent’s to visit who host smaller acts than the main stage but usually still very well known. These tents are quite empty during the day, allowing you to sit on the ground and take in the music but by night they are wall to wall and all have a great atmosphere! Electric Ireland (which I think was the Power Stage last year?) hosts some SERIOUS throwback acts! Last year they had the Venga Boys, This year they have Bananarama.. There is literally no way that you can’t have fun in this tent! I haven’t really experienced The Salty Dog yet in all it’s glory, but even if you don’t go for the music – a stage in the shape of a ship is pretty badass! Other Voices is a really tiny stage that always has a great surprise act every year, so if you’re lucky enough to find out about it you get a really personal experience.
*I don’t think I have covered every stage in this, just the ones I am partial to/think you should visit. There are other stages like the comedy stage but there just isn’t enough hours in the day to get through them all!
Things To Do
DO NOT! make the mistake of drinking in your tent all day and then go straight to the main stage in the evening for the biggest acts. If you do, you are literally wasting your entire weekend when you could be out exploring the amazing grounds of Electric Picnic. Walk through the Trailer Park an area which is full of amazing trailers hosting a range of different things inside, Walk through Body & Soul where they hold yoga, massages, hot tubs, etc. The Just Eat Retreat is an area where you can find any food imaginable. There are stalls upon stalls to wander through around the main arena where you can buy ponchos, jewelry, you can get face paint sprayed on/henna/tattoos.
Always Look Around You
There is literally stuff dangling from everywhere, and art work pinned to everything. If you are walking through the woods or the main arena, always take a second to really look around because there is amazing things to be found at every corner
The Red Bull Stage also known as ‘The Rave In The Woods’ goes on until the early, early, early hours of the morning. It’s literally a rave smack bang in the middle of the woods. People everywhere are raving to the insane dance music in the most insane of outfits. Last year I rocked up in a Lion onesie and I fit in just perfectly! It’s a little hard to take if you are sober/tired but it is a MUST to experience it at least one of the nights. Although the Red Bull stage is advertised, no one really knows its in the woods unless you have been before/been told so Fridays attendance is always smaller compared to the masses of people who turn up on Sunday night, not wanting the weekend to be over yet. It’s a little bit overwhelming with the amount of people around on a Sunday night (literally people crawling out of every part of the woods) but with the music, lasers and scenery it’s honestly a must do at least the once.
Tickets go on sale the week that the festival ends (I think) which is really crazy, but prices are much cheaper. They also have a ‘loyalty scheme’ in place where it is cheaper if you can prove you have gone once, twice or three times – the more you have gone the cheaper it is. They also offer installment plans which are really hand if you don’t want to fork out the month up front. There are regular camping tickets, glamping, campervan tickets as well as day tickets. They sold out last year round June, and this year around March – so the festival is clearly picking up momentum!
If you’re going this year, enjoy! And if you have been before – what was your opinion on it?