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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 5, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

    Electric Picnic – Day three

    Laurence Mackin

    Sunday is definitely an embarrasment of riches at this year’s Electric Picnic, at least as far as the music is concerned – most festivalgoers will spend at least part of the evening tearing from one tent to another to maximise their scorecards. On the arts front, the big draw in Leviathan today will probably be Jon Ronson’s slot at 3.30pm. The journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker will be on hand to discuss his book The Men Who Stare at Goats and other oddballs with way to much power in their meaty hands, and there’ll be a sneak preview reading from this forthcoming book, The Psychopath Test.

    After that, it’s very much as you were, with David McWilliams winding up his discussion series at 5pm, this time focusing on A Vision for Ireland in 2020. Trying to follow up George Galloway’s typically forthright arguments yesterday will be Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan and panel stalwart Eamonn McCann. Jinx Lennon will be closing out the stage at 7pm.

    Yesterday, I have it on good authority that the Science of Flann O’Brien talk was a minor marvel. What I can say for definite is that the Comics discussion was stellar – Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell was in brilliantly good humoured and rambunctious form (although I would have paid a small fortune if that Blair at EP rumour had turned out to be true, just to see how Bell would have reacted). Pat Mills of 2000AD was the voice of wisdom on the panel, and Emma Vieceli did a terrific job in arguing the case for Manga. Favourite quote: “Boys’ comics are about adventures and events, girls’ comics are about the people those adventures and events happen to.” A genuinely illuminating afternoon in fine company.

    Today, on the literary front, all ears will probably be turned towards the 5pm double header with Julian Gough and Greg Baxter. It will be very interesting to see how Gough’s infamous comments about modern Irish literature stack up against Baxter’s typically aggressive prose. Paul Muldoon is currently chatting to Philip King. Mike McCormack and Claire Kilroy are on call at 6.15pm and Louis de Paor and Ronan Browne will be sending things off with a bang at 7.30pm.

    And that will be that for another year at the Electric Picnic. There was a sense that cutbacks have effected the festival somewhat, and some of the more colorful and adventurous arts offerings of recent years have been curtailed. There was still a solid line-up in the Mindfield section, though, and as long as EP maintains its music and arts ethos, this will remain one of the key dates in the arts calendar.

    As ever, we will be updating the twitter feeds, @laurencemackin, with the Ticket crew keeping you on the edge of your seat over @thetwicket.

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