It’s not that often that I go to the same place more than once (shoutout to Split and Vegas for making that extremely small list of mine!) but one place I have been going year after year is Electric Picnic. (so much so I even lost my job because of it one year, but, that is a story for another day!)
With an array of festivals under my belt, this one stands out from the crowd for numerous different reasons. I would like to stress to anyone who thinks it’s just another ‘music festival’ is completely wrong! It is an Arts & Music Festival, with a heavy emphasis on the arts side of things – and it makes all the difference! Every corner you turn from your campsite to the furthest stage in the arena is sprinkled with art of every different kind. There are sculptures, graffiti and art hanging from trees almost everywhere you look – which is amazing! Aside from this there is a whopping 23 different stages/areas and a further 10 or more different areas like the Case Bacardi stage, Heineken Live Your Music and the Electric Ireland Throwback stage you will be so spoilt for choice on where to spend your time. (The website has line-ups for roughly 43 different areas!) The main stages such as the Main Stage, Rankin Woods, Little Big Tent, Electric Tent, etc all stay relatively the same – but areas like Body & Soul, The Trailor Park and the smaller stages like Casa Bacardi all change year on year to suit a different theme. This year was my third year exploring the grounds and I still left so many rocks unturned!
But that is the beauty of it – there is always another thing to see or do while you are there.. If the line up isn’t your thing then don’t worry. There are inflatable churches with DJ’s inside, a Comedy tent where you can spend your evening, you can go to Yoga in the morning or spend your time petting animals at the doggie kissing booth. The music isn’t the focal point of this festival and when people sell their tickets because they aren’t too keen on the line up it makes me so sad – because they aren’t seeing the bigger picture or thinking about what they are missing! Obviously I love going to see different acts – but sometimes it’s the smaller acts that you see that turn out to be the best, not the ones you had planned to go to! (Shout out to Brave Giant for being one of the best acts we saw!)
As far as festivals go it is definitely has a lot to offer for those who don’t like the dirty, roughing it-style. In the regular campsites you can get your makeup and hair done professionally, there are luxury toilets and a special getting ready area with giant mirrors and hair drying/straightening facilities – and if camping really isn’t your thing there are options to go ‘clamping’ or even for staying in a camper van if your so inclined (or you could just book a room in Stradbally.. but that’s no fun!). I’m not quite proper enough for all of the above but I did avail of the Nivea Showers on site where I basked in delicious warm water to wash away my sins before getting my hair done for free at the Aussie Joozah bar (even though the plaits were not twins, or sisters, or even close relatives.. It was free after all!)
One thing a lot of people don’t understand is why anyone would bring their children to it – but these are clearly the people staying in their tents all weekend and only coming out in the depths of the dark for a rave because it has so much to offer for those with children. There is actually an exclusive area for children and their parents at the festival called ‘Soul Kids’. Body & Soul is also another area that is extremely child friendly as well as the main stage during the day where you can sit down on the grass and enjoy the acts. It isn’t something for everyone – but for those who are willing, it offers much more than anything else I have been to on the children side of things.
For those who have never been before I can’t stress enough on how brilliant of a weekend it can be, if you let it! Don’t sit at your tent all day drinking cans – go and explore everything there is to offer because you couldn’t get bored there if you tried! And with music starting at 11am in the morning going straight through to the stages outside of the main arena like the Salty Dog, Trenchtown & The Rave In The Woods you will be sure to be entertained no matter what hour of the day you are awake at! And I’m not looking at this event through rose tinted glasses. There are a lot of people doing drugs at events like these, you will always see people who are astoundingly drunk at 2 o’ clock in the day, portaloos are pot luck and can be very grim at times, and there is over priced food and drink at every corner – but these things will only bother you if you let them. I think the positives definitely outweigh the negatives in this regard. I had such an amazing time this year, as I do every year, and I have no doubts I will enjoy it again next year (unless Limerick make it to the All-Ireland.. but that is questionable!)
Have you ever been to Electric Picnic? What’s your favourite festival that you have been to?