Three times more families flocking to Electric Picnic as line-up dispels gloom

Thu, Sep 3, 2009, 01:00

IT MAY not be everybody’s idea of rock ‘n’ roll, but this year’s Electric Picnic is going to be a family affair.

At nearly €500 for two adults and two children, it was anticipated the number of families attending would be drastically reduced due to the recession.

Instead, the family camping area has tripled in size, taking in part of what was last year’s luxury camp site. Last year, 500 families made the trip, this year it will be closer to 1,500.

Festival organiser John Reynolds said the presence of so many more children will bring a different atmosphere to the Electric Picnic.

“It was one of the areas that I thought would be affected by the recession, but it was one of the first things to sell out,” he said. “It is wonderful to have more kids on site. I think kids keep adults in check and create a great vibe on site. It will also create wonderful memories.”

Reynolds conceded the recession has made things “slower in every way” but he was still confident of a sell-out by Friday when the three-day festival gets under way at Stradbally, Co Laois. The stage times announced yesterday contained a few surprises. Reynolds said two of the biggest acts, the Flaming Lips and Florence and the Machine, had requested to play the Electric Arena rather than the main stage.

He conceded that both would be an exercise in crowd control, especially Florence and the Machine, who are due on stage at 5.30pm on Sunday.

It has been an extraordinary year for Florence and the Machine, the stage name for singer Florence Welch.

She played near the bottom of the bill at the small Crawdaddy tent last year, but has had huge success with her debut album, Lungs. It has been nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Madness and Brian Wilson will share top billing on Saturday night on the main stage. MGMT and homegrown act Bell X1 are respectively the top draws on Friday and Sunday nights.

The festival has continued its tradition of having electronic acts round off each evening on the main stage. This year, Orbital, 2 Many DJs and Basement Jaxx will fulfil this role.