Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

The Pop Life Electric Picnic Awards 2012

It’s all over. The reviews have been written, the arrests counted, the sleeping bags shaken out, the wellies packed away for another year, the late night photographs discovered on iPhones, the unsent texts finally coming through, the warm cans found …

Tue, Sep 4, 2012, 11:37


It’s all over. The reviews have been written, the arrests counted, the sleeping bags shaken out, the wellies packed away for another year, the late night photographs discovered on iPhones, the unsent texts finally coming through, the warm cans found in the boot, the traces of face paint still hard to get off. Personally, I thought it was one of the best ‘modern’ Picnics yet, and a large step up from last year, when there was a danger that people would get sick of the crafty-tattered-flags-and-CDs-hanging-from-trees festival aesthetic, when the lack of a thisispopbaby tent left a massive hole in the site, and when the Body & Soul was becoming more familiar and less of a random surprise factory.

But no. Body & Soul had a few great additions, namely the Gamelatron. The algorhythm stage replenished the desire for a much needed standalone dance area. Mindfield continued to hold up the cerebral tent poll. There was no Arcadia, but there was a Trailerpark, and the Gramophone Disco was a great late night nook. One gripe though: aside from a few exceptions, and some built-for-purpose displays, I really think the idea that Electric Picnic is some kind of culinary haven is a myth. Most of the food is as generic as you’d get at any festival anywhere, and most of what I sampled over the weekend was well below average. Feel free to argue with me.

So let’s go, here are Pop Life’s Electric Picnic Awards 2012.

Best Overall Gig
Patti Smith. The weekend ticket fee alone was worth her performance. Shout outs to Pussy Riot, some spontaneous poetry, calling for young poets to rise up, and the blistering versions of ‘Gloria’, ‘Because The Night’, and ‘Pissing In A River’ were awesome.

Best Main Stage Gig
The xx. Just as James Blake defied reservations last year that deep minimal tunes can’t work in the open air, The xx were astounding.

Best First Thing Gig
Kormac’s Big Band on the Main Stage as the arena gates opened on Friday.

Best Afternoon Gig
SBTRKT in the Electric Arena on Saturday.

Best Late Night Gig
Le Galaxie. I have the bruises to prove it, but this was probably the gig of their lives. So far.

Honorable Mention For Being Deadly
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.

Most Jammers Gigs
James Murphy and Of Monsters And Men.

Best Things I Didn’t Get To That Loads Of People Were Banging On To Me About
- Todd Terje’s Sunday night set.
- Mother’s midnight – 2am Body & Soul party on Sunday, which saw hundreds of people surround the Earthship stage.
- Rustie.
- L Mulligan’s Scotch eggs all the way from Stoneybatter.
- Ham Sandwich’s half-covers half-originals set in the Salty Dog, including ‘I Feel Love’ which had already blown the roof off the Cosby Stage on Saturday.
- The poitin in the Gramaphone Disco.
- Christy Moore. Seriously.

Best New Stage

Best Dancers
TEED’s dinosaur ladies.

Crappiest Food
The “chicken masala” that was in fact a watery boil in the bag mess from the curry stand in the gauntlet of food stalls opposite Body & Soul halfway between the ostrich burger stand and the Juke Joint. Rank, and put me in a complete fowler.

Best Drink
Chai with milk in a real mug for €3 at the wonderfully ramshackle tea, coffee and random cake outpost in Body & Soul.

Best Alcoholic Drink
I’ll take a friend’s word that the strawberry daiquiris in Casa Bacardi were delish.

Best Shades
The RayBan-wearing members of the Trinity Orchestra.

Person Who Actually Made Fun Of Robert Smith’s Hair To His Face Award
David from Le Galaxie (according to their Twitter feed, it happened at 3.43am on Sunday).

The Getting On With It Award
Grimes, for putting on a great fun set (even if a few notes went awry) on Saturday night, two days after all of her gear got nicked in Manchester. Stradbally salutes you.

The Not Getting On With It Award
Azealia Banks. People were so eye-rolly about her second cancellation and final no show that you’d wonder how many would queue for tickets and be refreshing their browsers set to Ticketmaster next time she announces a gig. Earning an increasing reputation for being a flake doesn’t exactly endear the fans, does it?

Best Coffee
The coffee trailer in Mindfield.

Best Merch
The ‘Jesus died for somebody’s sins’ tote bags, and The xx’s simple t-shirts.

Backstage Randomer Award
Cat Deeley.

Best Stage Props
Ham Sandwich’s beach balls and confetti canons.

Worst Fashion Faux Pas
Native American headdresses. You are not Paris Hilton at Coachella. Cease. And those ridiculous bear hats that have ears stretching down to form gloves. You are not a toddler. Cease.

Most Underwhelming Performances
Bat For Lashes’ live show has regressed to something unnecessarily sparse and poppy, and she failed to keep the attention of most in the Electric Arena on Sunday night. The Jezebels have everything apart from an ability to realise they’re playing in front of an audience and should therefore try and make some kind of connection. Meanwhile, Kimbra did the opposite, working the stage from start to finish, but the tunes aren’t really there yet.

Best Hill For Rolling Down
The Body & Soul Main Stage amphitheater.

Worst Booking, Timing and Peformance Combo
Soz, Gavin Friday, but perhaps if this discordant self-indulgence had been kept into a tent, the hardcore fans (a fair few of whom were craning their necks from the VIP area) including Bono and BP Fallon, wouldn’t have so glaringly exposed the rest of the site to something that certainly shouldn’t have been on the Main Stage of a Friday afternoon.

Most Ribcage-Rattling Bass
Toss up between SBTRKT and The xx (if you were up the front).

Loudest Cheer to an Oxegen Diss
That would be the whoops that greeted Metronomy’s polite announcement that they preferred the Strad to the Punch.

Best Installation
The Gamelatron.

Best Free Thing
The LED throwies in the Science Gallery tent.

Top 3 Festival Moments
1. Orbital blasting out ‘Belfast’ from the Main Stage on Saturday night.
2. Le Galaxie’s Jurassic Park stroke of genius.
3. James Murphy playing ‘Inspector Norse’.