Electric Picnic: Arrests down as ‘friendly’ festival ends smoothly

Security at Stradbally opus stepped up this year, but the impact appeared to be minimal

Guy Garvey of Elbow performing on the main stage near the close of the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, Co Laois. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Electric Picnic closed to a smooth finish last night, with fewer arrests than last year, according to Festival Republic director Melvin Benn.

Arrests were “not that significant”, he said. “We’ve had five wallets handed in to the zone managers from the campsites. Anyone who wanted to go down the route that the EP spirit is ‘disappearing’, it’s just not.”

He also responded to social media backlash that the line-up – with Pete Tong, Duran Duran and The xx as headliners – didn't reach the heights of previous years, when the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Bjork and Arcade Fire were top of the bill.

“If people are only wanting the Picnic to be about a superstar headliner, it’s the wrong show. It’s a different concept. If the superstar headliner that people want at the time is available, we’ll book them. The touring period is so fundamental and crucial in who we select. I think it’s an unfair criticism, we were comfortable, we were happy with what we got.”



The organisation for the three-day festival, now in its 13th year, went well, with minimal traffic and entry issues over the weekend, and a downpour on Saturday night being catered for quickly.

Duran Duran playing the main stage at Electric Picnic on Sunday night. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

“We prepared for it, we knew it was coming,” said Benn. “A lot of bark mulch was already here. The team has been working all night to get it ready for the morning. It seems to have paid dividends.”

Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale next week. Capacity will stay the same, and festival-goers can expect more improvements. “There’s a few tweaks that I definitely want to make – whether it’s moving a stage, there are a few ideas. But until I have a conversation with the [relevant] people, I can’t really say.”

One blip on Friday night meant the Trailer Park stage had to be shut down. “Forty people jumped on [to] a tiny stage. That wasn’t built for the amount. It was unfortunate that it happened, but it was a little thing.”

Security was stepped up this year, but the impact appeared to be minimal. “I put a lot more security in but a lot of people have said it’s less visible. Certainly the whole briefing was about being more friendly, particularly in the campsites.”