Fans prepare to feast on Electric Picnic

Fri, Aug 29, 2008, 01:00

Ireland’s boutique Electric Picnic music festival opens today with a party atmosphere that promises music, comedy, and cook-offs by Michelin Star chefs.

More than 32,000 revellers are expected to descend on Stradbally, Co Laois, this weekend for the event, and all were warned to leave early for their journey and aim to be as environmentally friendly as possible for the eco-friendly event.

Fronted by a 52-year-old John Lydon, the re-formed Sex Pistols will headline the festival, some 34 years on from the band's formation in London in the 1970s.

The festival line-up boasts more than 200 acts on over 20 stages, including funk legend George Clinton, chart topping newcomer Duffy, Franz Ferdinand, Kila, Nick Cave’s latest project Grinderman and Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes.

Art installations, the spoken word and comedy are set to be big crowd pullers, with Dubliner David O’Doherty staging his first gig in Ireland since winning the comedy world’s most prestigious award at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Elsewhere, five celebrity Michelin Star chefs will stage 'cook-offs' and food critic Tom Doorley will judge the fare.

There will also be a burning man temple in memory of the victims of suicide. The 55-foot wooden construction, which took four months to prepare, will be set on fire by the family of an young man who took his own life.

Electric Picnic, which is now in its fifth year, has kept its trademark intimacy by releasing just 32,500 tickets.

Promotor John Reynolds recently said he believed he could easily sell as many as 50,000, but he believed this would take away from the special atmosphere of the festival.

On the travel front, AA Roadwatch warned that motorists using the M50 to get to the gig or elsewhere after midnight that barrier-free tolling will be in operation.

Drivers coming from Cork, Kerry, Tyrone and Wexford to Croke Park on Sunday are also urged to prepare in advance if they plan to take the M50, the motoring body said.

“If you are coming from Cork and already have an eTag that you use at Fermoy, the same one will work on the M50, and the same applies to most eTags and all toll plazas,” said AA Roadwatch controller Nicola Hudson.

“If you are not registered, then you will default to pay-as-you-go."

Tolls can be paid by phoning toll operator eFlow at 1890 929030 or 0845 3015405 from Northern Ireland.

There are number of stores in the Drumcondra area, close to Croke Park, where tolls can be paid also.

Thousands of GAA supporters will travel to Croke Park on Sunday for the Cork v Kerry replay at 2pm, and the Tyrone v Wexford game at 4pm.

Tyrone are also playing in the minor match, so particularly heavy traffic can be expected to come from the north from early morning, AA Roadwatch said.

Also on Sunday, the final stage of the Tour of Ireland Cycle Race makes its way from Killarney, Co Kerry to Cork city, with riders due to arrive before 3pm.

The 900-kilometre race through 12 counties runs from Ballinrobe, Co Mayo to Galway city today

Traffic restrictions will be in place on the north side of Cork city in advance of the race, while rolling road closures will operate along the route, including on the N22 at Macroom and the N20 at Blarney.

Motorists have been urged to take care when travelling the route, which will be travelled by some 112 cyclists.

Delays are likely in urban areas.

The Irish Motocross Grand Prix takes place at Fairyhouse Racecourse, Ratoath, Co Meath, tomorrow and Sunday from 9am to 6pm. Over 25,000 people are expected to attend and extra traffic is expected through Ratoath and on the main N3/Navan Road towards Fairyhouse Cross before and after the event.

Additional reporting: PA