Electric Picnic: Things we learned in 2014

Enlightening encounters in Stradbally

Artist: Various

Venue: Various

Date Reviewed: August 30th, 2014

Carlsberg is a “morning beer”
In my campsite a man in a long coat discusses the best beers to drink in the morning surrounded by awed acolytes. “Where’d you get the coat?” asks one of them. “I found it in a skip,” he says proudly.

Put children in a wheelbarrow
Being driven around in a wheelbarrow wearing ear-protectors seems to be the new “having a beard”. Why a wheelbarrow? I ask. “It’s multifunctional,” says John, who is wise. “You can’t put all your shit in your pram, but you can put a baby in a wheelbarrow”

Brand your children
Ryan Eli Powell is eight and has mobile phone numbers scrawled along his arms in marker. “Just in case he gets lost,” explains his mother Francesca.

Grown-ups are mad
“What have you learned about adults?” I ask Ryan. He twirls his finger around in his circle beside his head. “One of them sat on me.”

Electric Picnic is a fun prison
“They lock you into a field for three days and then they let you out at the end,” says Leabhras Gorman, who is trying to choose between Bonnie Tyler and London Grammar.

Music transcends words
At Casa Bacardi an an Indian chief is blowing a whistle. “Could I talk to you for a moment?” I ask. He prefers the universal language of whistling in my face.

It’s hard to give a grown man a wedgie
Ross and Ultan wrestle near the comedy tent. Ross has blood on his teeth. “They’re in their thirties,” says their friend John. “They’re very close.” I leave when Ultan manages to rip Ross’s underpants.

You can make your own wristbands
Paudie shows me the Electric Picnic wrist band he made himself (it looks like he made it himself) and with which he managed to fool security. “You must have a very trustworthy face,” I observe. “Or a very large ****,” he says, pleasantly.

Hozier is extremely popular, but could be more so
“If I was a record executive I’d make him cut that ponytail off right now,” says John, who was previously very wise on the wheelbarrow/infant issue.

Music festivals are a symbol of arrested development
At the Arts Council tent, the very entertaining Will Self complains about his generation’s obsession with popular music. “The youth of today are crushed under a big saggy denim middle-aged arse,” he says.

Novels may not be the future
“This is a really cool English novelist and he’s really famous,” says a young man who has snuck into the Arts Council tent, pointing out Will Self to a female friend. She looks impressed. They leave without listening to a word Will Self has said.