60,000 fans get party started at Oxegen


MORE THAN 60,000 people had descended on Punchestown Racecourse in Co Kildare last night for the first day of Oxegen 2010. The festival instantly rekindled its long-running relationship with bad weather and the persistent rain, which frustrated many of those in attendance as they attempted to erect tents and enjoy the opening acts, and the inclement conditions seem set to stick around for most of the three-day event.

Met Éireann yesterday issued a weather warning, saying that humid conditions would persist until late tonight. The forecaster expects spells of heavy and possibly thundery rain to affect all areas. Bright and sunny spells are forecast for tomorrow, as are further scattered showers in the morning and early afternoon.

The music began at 2pm yesterday with English singer Eliza Doolittle opening the main stage. During a well-received set, Doolittle paid tribute to her Irish fans for supporting her fledgling career.

Other acts included Fatboy Slim, Vampire Weekend, Groove Armada, hip hop superstar Jay Z and headliners Arcade Fire.

The Stranglers get things under way on the main stage today and will be followed by Florence and the Machine, Dizzee Rascal, Kasabian and headliners Muse among others. The crowd is expected to swell to 75,000 over the day and day tickets are still available from the onsite box office.

Traffic to and from the venue flowed smoothly for most of yesterday, with some minor delays experienced by those attending on the narrow roads between Naas and the venue.

Those travelling to the event today are advised to use the free park-and-ride facility from Goffs on the M7. Promoter MCD said the blue car park at the site was full as of last night and that the red car park was almost full.

A Garda spokesman said there had been a number of arrests for public order and minor drugs offences but that officers on site had encountered no “major incidents” as of last night.

Friends Emmet Budds (17) and Ciarán Kirkland (17) said they were enjoying their maiden festival experience even though peace was somewhat hard to come by. “We didn’t get any sleep last night because the music was blaring around the campsite all the time,” Emmet grumbled. “Ah yeah, but it’s still great fun in the blue campsite. Everyone there is sound out,” Ciarán added.