"But I’m on the guest list" . . . No Ticket, no Picnic - unless you're this guy
Electric Picnic is sold out. If you don’t have a ticket, you shouldn’t turn up. But the blaggers and chancers will still be out in force in Stradbally next weekend with their fake tickets, sob stories and don’t-you-know-who- I-am entreaties all polished up for use at the entrance gate.
This being Ireland, we’re not very good at this. With only a few big festivals each year the blaggers haven’t developed the near-professional sophistication of their US or European counterparts. According to the Picnic people, the most common ruses are: “I lost my ticket on the way down”; “my friends have my ticket and they’re all already inside”; and the perennial worth-a- try, “I’m with the band.”
You can only semi-salute those brave blagging warriors who put a bit of effort into it: the people who pitch up with a tray of home-made sandwiches and confidently declare themselves to be “the catering company”; and the ones who painstakingly do up a fake media ID which declares them to be RTÉ’s Chief Music Festival Correspondent – these usually carry an over-sized microphone that they picked up in Hector Gray’s for €2 the day before.
A few Picnics ago, one enterprising blagger made it all the way into what passes for the “VIP” area at the festival by turning up at the gate with an email which stated that he was a competition winner and was to be provided with a wristband.
The most desperate and pathetic blags occur at the entrance to the “VIP” area. A surprising number of people think sharing space with a TV3 runner or somebody who was in Fair City is high living. There are only two VIPs in this country: Rory McIlroy and Bono – the rest you’d cross the street to avoid.
If you want to see how it’s really done have a look at a film called No Cameras Allowed, which will be in US cinemas (and on MTV USA) on August 29th and is released in Europe later this year.
It tells the story of Marcus Haney – the man seasoned festival blaggers call “The Boss”. Marcus has never paid into a music festival – and he’s been to 50 different ones around the world in the past four years. It’s not just that he gets in free all the time, he also gets sidestage and backstage. A now familiar face on the festival circuit – and a damn nice guy – he has been adopted as a cult mascot by some of the world’s leading bands.
The film details his military-style planning. Aerial reconnaissance pictures are pored over, the number of “lines of defence” to the main stage are estimated and a plan of action is hatched. He has perfected that busy, confident, don’t-mess- with-me walk up to the security gates.
Marcus does express concern about the morality of what he does but his dream is to be a music photographer. He’s not there to get drunk and annoy people, he just wants to take photos.
From Coachella to Glastonbury and all points in between, he has faked wristbands, posed as an artist, sprinted through truck entrances on the blind side of security, been under fences and over fences and once was even carried in while he hid in a portaloo. Oddly, he likes the old- school “jump and run” approach best. The judicious use of a fold-away “telescopic ladder” also helps.
But Marcus is a pro. You’re not. Have a ticket.