Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

10 takeaways from the Electric Picnic selling out

Miscellaneous items, curious asides and random thoughts on the back of the Electric Picnic selling out (as predicted by us a month ago)

It's nearly Electric Picnic time, campers

Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 09:18


(1) Well, you know what’s number one. Last paragraph. Dudes, we’re never wrong. Unless it’s the hurling. But, that aside, we predicted a sellout and, even though we had to cope with some highly skeptical emails and tweets and texts about that, we were right.

(2) It’s all about price. The reason why the Electric Picnic sold out in 2013 is not down to My Bloody Valentine or Giorgio Moroder or the Arctic Monkeys or the Body & Soul hot-tubs or MCD or the GAA season. It’s down (down, deeper and down) to price. The decision to have those early, cheaper weekend tickets on sale for a couple of months was a master-stroke. But, in another way, it was a no-brainer because Picnic-goers have been grumbling about the ticket price for years. Listen to your audience, y’all. Those cheaper tickets were snapped up, the social networks swung into action and the rest was gravy.

(3) But cheaper tickets come at a cost and cutbacks will be one of the first things people should be looking for when they hit Stradbally on Friday with their tent and their groundsheet rolled up tighter than a breakfast roll. We already know, for instance, that only two of the main music stages will be in operation on the first night – a handful of acts on the big stage and Giorgio Moroder DJ-ing in the big tent – so that’s a cutback on the value-for-money scale.

(4) Another “but” on the back of the last “but” to make that particular “but” a mite superfluous: it’s worth bearing in mind that while lower ticket prices do mean a lower gross, a higher attendance (35k this year versus 22k weekemd tickets and 6k daily tickets last year) does compensate for that one, so where is the cash going, Festival Republic peeps? And don’t say to account for accumulated losses because a forensic look through the books doesn’t add up to the sort of losses youse are talking about. Can we get a “hmmm” please?

(5) The history lesson: it won’t have escaped your attention that this is the tenth Electric Picnic – not the tenth birthday or the tenth anniversary as the various ads and marketing have erronously put it, but simply the tenth Picnic – and Today FM have marked the occasion with three-part documentary on the festival. Listen back to the episodes here.

(6) Not sold out gig alert: by contrast to the Stradbally festival, you can tell that Roger Waters at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium is most definitely not sold out or anywhere near it from the number of radio ads and bus ads. It’s like Bob Jovi at Slane all over again. As with Bob, is there really an Aviva Stadum of people out there who want to see this boring old fart and are willing to pay up to €109.50 (plus Dark Side of the Ticketmaster charges) for the pleasure? Interesting to see that there’s no media partner for this one so all ads you hear and see will be full-price.

(7) Another history lesson: Giorgio Moroder talks about pyramids, luxury watches, supercars, disco, Moogs, Donna Summer and Daft Punk.

(8) Given (1) above, expect to see a lot of this kind of thing in the next few days. Hat-tip Alan Mulvey

(9) Prediction: Electric Picnic 2013 will be the real changing of the generational guard in Co Laois and it’s to be welcomed. There are thousands of newbies counting down the sleeps until Friday morning and they’re as excited as the thousands who hit the road in 2005 to see Arcade Fire and Kraftwerk about what’s about to ensue. Sure, many of the latter can still be found at the Picnic in the (sold-out for ages) family area, but the new arrivals will bring new energies, expectations and experiences with them, which helps to reinvent the festival. It happens to all festivals: look at the coverage from Reading and Leeds over the weekend, for instance, as that venerable, long-running festival goes through another change in audience and music. OTR hopes the Picnic’s new arrivals have a ball in those fields.

(10) The Daily Ticket is back! For the seventh year in a row, we’ll be producing the best guide to the festival from a small shed in the middle of a big field in Co Laois. Expect to see the Daily Ticket in the campsites and arenas at the Electric Picnic on Saturday and Sunday morning from 10am. The Irish Times: now publishing on Sundays (once a year).