As positive Picnic packs up, next year’s tickets go on sale

Exotic food, belted ballads, word play – but atmosphere takes centre stage

The party is almost over in Stradbally - here's some drone footage of sunset at the Picnic.

Mon, Sep 1, 2014, 01:00

As Electric Picnic drew to a close, details of next year’s festival were already emerging. Tickets go on sale at noon today and organisers Festival Republic say they may make available more than the 41,000 sold out at this year’s event.

But one band who definitely won’t be playing is U2. They are “not a festival band” conceded Melvin Benn, chief executive of Festival Republic, and “too big for the Electric Picnic”.

He said there was “unquestionably capacity for another five or six thousand” people on the Stradbally site, though there was no decision about whether to sell more than 41,000.

Again there will be a discount for those who can prove they have previously been to the arts and music event before.

If bought before the end of the month, tickets will cost €154.50 if you can prove you’ve been to three or more Picnics, €174.50 if you can prove you’ve been once or twice before and €194.50 if you’ve not been before.

This year several hundred people who had bought what they had thought were genuine tickets, were turned away, said Mr Benn. When their “tickets” were scanned they turned out to be forgeries. He said it underlined the need to buy from authorised sellers.

Tent on fire

There were no arrests over the weekend, although a number of people were hospitalised. In one incident a couple had to be rescued from a tent that caught fire on Friday night. It appears they lit a candles before falling asleep which caused the 31-year-old woman’s sleeping bag to catch fire. While her partner was treated on site, she was taken to St James Hospital in Dublin, where she is said to be comfortable.

In another incident a man was taken to hospital in Portlaoise after being attacked by a number of men while walking in the woods.

The overwhelming mood among picnickers was, as ever, positive. Susan Doyle (46) from Wexford was a first-timer unlike her brother Rob (49), there with her, who has been to “almost every one”, she said.

“The highlight is just the whole atmosphere. I love the contrast between the atmosphere during the day, when it is so colourful, and how that changes at night. I loved Hozier and the Other Voices stage is beautiful.”

Serena Salmon (24) from Dublin said her highlight was Paolo Nutini and London Grammar. Her friend Ed Burke (26), from Longford, agreed, adding the “serious atmosphere” was to be found away from the main stage in the smaller arenas.

Total eclipse

Highlight for Laura Liston (24) from Limerick “has to be Bonnie Tyler”. She was among enormous crowds outside the Electric Ireland Power arena on Saturday night who couldn’t get into see her, though she and friends managed to get in for her encore rendition of Hero.

The Welsh power balladeer had been due to go on stage at 7pm. She finally came on at 8pm but had barely started when the lights and sound went dead.

There had been a lock-down on anyone getting into the arena 20 minutes before she took to the stage such were the crowds already in.

The 15-deep crowds outside, pushing to get in, were, apparently, the reason for the brief power outage, though a spokeswoman for Electric Ireland said the cause was being “investigated”.

Tyler was worth the wait – every hit was belted out by both artist and ecstatic crowd – Heartache, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Hero.

Often forgotten in coverage is the Mindfield area, where plays, poetry, debates and interviews were running all weekend. The highlight for this reporter was a searing attack on the corruption, pettiness, small-minded politics, greed and hypocrisy that marks so much of modern Irish society delivered by poet Stephen Murphy in his Was it For This?

Ostrich burgers

Food – central to any good Picnic – was wonderful, varied and reason enough alone to visit. From ostrich burgers to Caribbean lamb with plantain chips it was all here.

Only complaints? Being at the back of a queue of 400 for the ATM on Sunday morning, and the fact that the music ended abruptly each night at about 4am.

Can’t we have music all night next year?