Visitors impressed by Oxegen 'insanity'


THE SUN finally broke through at Oxegen yesterday afternoon to give the weather-beaten crowd at Punchestown some welcome respite, and sunbathing replaced the surprisingly popular pursuit of muck-diving as the activity of choice for scores of festival-goers.

Rain fell almost incessantly from Thursday afternoon until the small hours of yesterday morning, making the going on the racecourse venue particularly soft underfoot.

“The level of insanity here is incredible,” said Hannah Hargill (19) from Dorset in England, as she finished an ice cream and basked in the sun.

“It makes English festivals seem so tame. I’ve never seen people launch themselves into a pool of mud and then come chasing after you looking for a hug.”

Hannah, who was camping for the weekend with her friend Mina Abraham (18), said the Black Eyed Peas, Mumford and Sons and the general banter were all excellent, but that the campsite water closets were possibly the highlight of her weekend.

“The loos are in such good condition, even after three days. It’s amazing,” she said. “I have never seen clean toilets and loo roll at a festival. You’d need a gas mask on the first day at home.”

Sisters Ashley (23) and Caitlin McCarthy (17) from New York, via Waterford, said they were given plenty of warning of Oxegen-induced madness ahead of their maiden Irish festival experience.

“There is nothing like this in America . . . Everyone here really knows how to party. I’ve had to take loads of naps just to keep up,” Ashley said.

Despite the heavy partying, a Garda spokesman said few incidents had occurred at the festival, apart from a number of drug seizures and arrests for public order offences.

He said a Garda who sustained head injuries when a car failed to stop at an Oxegen traffic checkpoint in Naas yesterday morning was recovering.

The vehicle was eventually stopped in Castledermot, Co Kildare, and Shane Hanbury (20), of Cloonmore Park in Tallaght was arrested and charged with dangerous driving. He was remanded in custody to appear before Naas District Court on Wednesday.

Traffic in and around Naas is expected to be heavy today as an exodus of thousands from Punchestown begins. MCD said those departing should expect delays of up to 90 minutes.

A crowd of thousands was waiting for the “Real Slim Shady” to stand up at the festival last night.

Rap superstar Eminem, who last played in Ireland more than seven years ago, was heavily rumoured to have pulled out of his headline slot, as he did at Slane in 2005. Promoter MCD insisted he had arrived in Co Kildare and that his long-awaited visit was never in doubt.

“He’d better show up,” said Adam Keating (23) from Tallaght, Dublin, ahead of the rapper’s performance at 10.30pm.

“I’ve paid €250 for a ticket, I’m not going to see the World Cup final and I’ve kipped in a wet tent and got rained on all weekend. I’ll be raging if he doesn’t.”