‘Hello, Dublin!’ Electric Picnic 2019’s best and worst moments

From Charli XCX and Billie Eilish to a sea of plastic cups and a big geographical fail

Now in it's 15th year Electric Picnic has always classed itself as a family festival, but do parents with children actually enjoy it?

 

THE HIGHS

Best pop-star performance

Charli XCX delivered a show packed with hits and sass at the Electric Arena on Saturday. From a Christine and the Queens duet to a defiant performance of I Love It, it was everything you could want from a pop star’s festival set. Punters left amped, hyped and ready for divilment. Stick her on the main stage next time, right?

Biggest crowd

For Billie Eilish, on the main stage on Friday. Not even elbow room was left for the Irish-American pop star’s Irish debut.

Celebrity sighting of the weekend

Greg O’Shea, the Love Island winner, at a five-course banquet courtesy of Tesco Ireland. ’Tis a long way from scrambled eggs in the villa.

Best festival confession

A young woman’s embarrassing encounter with Harry Styles at the Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow on Saturday afternoon. Reader, he wasn’t who he said he was.

Proudest parent

Ali Hewson, mother of lead singer Eli, walking through the crowd at the Rankin’s Wood stage during Inhaler’s show on Saturday. We can guess what she might have been thinking: Do I have to go through this again?

Music surprise

Wild Youth proved themselves more than worthy of their slot on Saturday afternoon. It was the Dublin band’s first time performing on the main stage, but they were far from daunted – and their radio-friendly bops were the perfect accompaniment to a sunny day.

Most stuffed venue

The Ah, Hear! podcast stage, at Mindfield, was arguably the breakout star of the festival. Curated by Dylan Haskins, the line-up featured podcasting heavyweights like Blindboy Boatclub, Second Captains, Doireann Garrihy and the creators of the West Cork series. The packed tent was so popular that some people who couldn’t get in pressed their ears against the canvas to hear what was being said inside. A bigger venue next year?

Best buddies

The young woman who carried her boyfriend on her shoulders so he could see Charli XCX properly.

Electric Picnic in pictures

Three days of music, mayhem and magic Click to view

Best discussions

The Lives of Others: How and Why Populists Exploit the Fear of “Others” – hot topics intelligently sifted through, hosted by Jennifer O’Connell on Saturday, at Mindfield: Leviathan.

Sinéad Gleeson and Emilie Pine at Our Fragile Selves, talking about the fragility of living, and writing about it, in their books Constellations and Notes to Self. Chaired by Tara Flynn on Sunday, at Mindfield: Manifesto.

And kudos to the witty and well-researched podcast United Ireland, presented with smarts and quips by Una Mullally and Andrea Horan.

Funniest event

The World’s Worst Book Launch, in which Dr Günther Grun of the Bundesbank discussed Chicago Blues, the new book (written in three hours) by the thriller writer Saul Tillock (aka Paul Tylak). As translated by Barry Murphy, at Mindfield: Manifesto on Sunday, Dr Grun’s best jokes included “Any English in the tent? The exits are here, here and here...” and “You’re jealous of the Germans because we have our own type of measles.”

Best cafe

The Flying Machine, beside Body & Soul. Great organic food, with live (and quiet) music in the background. A coffee, a slice of lemon drizzle cake and a choir on a Sunday afternoon did the trick.

Electric Picnic 2019: Billie Eilish drew the biggest crowd of the festival. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Electric Picnic 2019: Billie Eilish drew the biggest crowd of the festival. Photograph: Dave Meehan

THE LOWS

Worst audience-rock star interaction

Julian Casablancas’s rant about the crowd’s chant of “Olé, olé, olé” (and his distraction by the huge TV screens on either side of the main stage) during The Strokes’ headline performance on Saturday. “Olé, olé, olé… What does that even mean?” the frontman asked. “It means ‘f*** yeah’,” responded a bandmate. Casablancas seemed unimpressed.

Most disappointing crowd for a main-stage act

Class they may be, but for some reason Christine and the Queens just didn’t pull the crowds. You could have herded cattle through the gaps.

Best reason not to flash the cash

We’ll pass on paying €35 for a Billie Eilish T-shirt, thanks.

Worst geographical fail

Artists saying “Hello, Dublin!” in a field in the middle of Co Laois. We’re looking at you, The Strokes, Charli XCX and (repeat offender) Christine and the Queens. Memo to artists: Just say “Hello, Electric Picnic! ”

The cancellations

We know it can happen, but two cancellations – Philip King and special guests on Saturday, and Cathy Davey and Neil Hannon on Sunday – at Mindfield’s Manifesto stage really disappointed queues of people.

Booked off

With the exception of Emilie Pine and Sinead Gleeson (Best discussions, above), what happened to all the writers? They were very much missed.

Biggest environmental fail

It’s great that Electric Picnic is trying to become a more sustainable festival, but its bars’ reliance on single-use plastic cups was mind-boggling. True, they were made from recycled PET, and they kept an army of entrepreneurial youngsters busy collecting them all weekend, to cash them in at a rate of €1 for every five they handed in. But it would surely be better to introduce reusable ones.

Cash or card?

Every bar accepted contactless payment, but not enough food vendors did.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.