Oxegen: the highs, the lows

Mon, Jul 12, 2010, 01:00

What rocked and what flopped at this year's Oxegen

The Highs:

THE CROWD

One or two bad apples aside (thanks for showing us your privates, random drunk guy), the crowd were warm, upbeat and passionate. Even after being hammered by 24 hours of rain, they sang and swayed to the music gleefully. When many of the acts said how special Irish audiences were, it felt sincere.

FREE STUFF

By the time they'd entered the main field, punters' bags were laden with free energy drinks, cereal, crisps, contraceptives, newspaper supplements, ponchos (lots of ponchos) and even posh yoghurt. This is a marketing tactic I can get behind.

THE LINE-UP

As always, the line-up was phenomenal and it warranted the cover charge. A single gig of Muse, Florence or The Black Eyes Peas might cost the same as a day ticket to Oxegen. That's not even mentioning the dozens of strong acts on the smaller stages.

VARIETY OF FOOD

With Abrakebabra, Dominos, Subway, vegan fare, O'Briens sandwiches, noodles, paella and burgers and chips, even the pickiest eater was catered for.

THE OXEGEN APP

Need to know where and when Ellie Golding was playing? The Oxegen iPhone app had a map, line-up, timetables and other useful nuggets. It would have been nice if it was available for other smartphones, though.

The Lows

ON-SITE PRICES

€2.50 for a bottle of water? A tenner for a burger and chips? Maybe the venders charged such extortionate amounts to make the Dublin punters feel at home. In any case, there were three words I never heard at Oxegen: "That's reasonably priced."

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN

Depending on who you listen to, this is either the fourth or fifth consecutive Oxegen that was water-drenched. It was relentless: Friday and Saturday each had at least six hours of non-stop downpour. Tents buckled, mud was accumulated, people shivered and at least one more indoor area really would have been welcome. Any farmer whose land is parched with drought might want to consider organising a music festival to summon the rain.

VUVUZELAS

Collectively these plastic horns sound like a plague of hornets, but individually they sound like a dying goose honking its final honk.

CANCELLATIONS

Wolfmother might have been awesome and John Mayer could have been . . . popular?

SOUND BLEEDING

If you weren't close enough to the stage, often your aural experience was diluted by nearby performers. For example, in between Muse's songs of angst-ridden stadium rock, you could hear the Black Eyed Peas' sunny blend of pop and hip hop. I know it's logistically difficult, but other festivals don't seem to suffer from this problem as much as Oxegen. Not ideal.