Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Oxegen: the incredible shrinking festival

It’s set to be a much different weekend in Punchestown than in previous years

David Guetta prepares for Oxegen. Note: not actual crowd

Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 09:17


So, how are things at the festival that is still billing itself as “Europe’s Greatest Music Festival” over on its website? I wrote about changes to this year’s event in The Ticket on Friday, but there’s plenty of other evidence that Oxegen is changing and shrinking in size right before our eyes.

Even the logo appears to be downsizing. Let’s play a game of spot the logo, readers.

Hmmm, it reminds me of something, that attempt to downplay the logo. Just what could it be? Ah, got it!

Photo by Aiden Kenny

It might be the height of cheekiness to suggest that Oxegen has become the Fianna Fail of music festivals, but the downplaying of the logo and the name in favour of the acts is not the sort of behaviour you’d expect from “Europe’s Greatest Music Festival”. The website is also not what you’d expect from “Europe’s Greatest Music Festival” with few updates on what is going on this year and not even an A-Z about the artists playing. Then again, the number of stages is down, with just three music stages listed so perhaps there’s not quite enough to write about.

That’s not the only downsizing going on. The excellent Dublin Bus shuttles, which have always speedily transported punters from the capital to the festival site and back again, are not in use this year, despite inital plans to provide this service. Per the Dublin Bus website, the bus company are now advising people to use a private coach company, who will honour tickets already sold. This company appear to be running a reduced service to what Dublin Bus used to provide, which seems to indicate that all involved are expecting a much lower turn-out. After all, if you have a much lower turnout, you don’t need as many buses. Meanwhile, the gardai seem to think that Dublin Bus are still operating their buses.

Remember all that speculation about a mooted move to Marlay Park? It now appears, from documents lodged by Festival Republic with Kildare County Council at the end of last month, that this application had something to do with Oxegen after all, with Festival Republic informing the county council that the application for Marlay Park shows had been withdrawn, something which wouldn’t be of any interest to the Kildare mandarins otherwise. It also seems that the licence application for the weekend event is still pending at the time of writing, though we assume that it will be granted before the gates open on Friday.

So, just how many people are expected in Punchestown Racecourse? Well, per local media, they’re expecting a maximum possible attendance of 25,000 with just 8,000 campers. Yes, you read that right. A maximum possible attendance of 25,000. That’s HALF of the attendance and 30 per cent of the campers anticipated when the organisers applied for the licence back in April, a fall of over 70 per cent on what Oxegen used to attract in its heyday. 70 per cent down – now that’s shrinkage. The post-event analysis and reports from the site will be very interesting.