Electric Picnic organiser confident of event in September

Festival chief expectant ‘because let’s be 100% clear here, nobody’s told me I can’t go ahead’

Festival managing director Melvin Benn  said he believes the ‘Electric Picnic will take place’. File photograph: The Irish Times

Festival managing director Melvin Benn said he believes the ‘Electric Picnic will take place’. File photograph: The Irish Times

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The organiser of Ireland’s largest music festival, Electric Picnic, has expressed confidence that it will get the go-ahead this year.

Managing director of Festival Republic Melvin Benn said he based his optimism on the fact no one in Government had told him the event in Stradbally, Co Laois, would not be allowed.

Covid-19 rules limit numbers at the majority of organised outdoor events to 500 at venues with capacity in excess of 5,000.

While several test events have been staged, Ireland’s live music and entertainment sector remains effectively closed down due to coronavirus regulations.

However, the organisers of Electric Picnic hope the festival can go ahead at the end of September with 70,000 attendees, with entry conditions including proof of vaccination or of having already recovered from the virus.

Last year’s festival was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Tickets bought back then remain valid for the rescheduled event and 90 per cent have already been sold.

Mr Benn told RTÉ radio he is “100 per cent fully expecting the Electric Picnic to be going ahead on the basis that 100 per cent nobody has told me I won’t be able to . . and we are very confident that it would happen.”

Safety measures

He added: “I’m investing and all of the teams are investing in the effort to try and make sure that the picnic can happen by presuming that we are going ahead and I’m saying ‘presuming’ that we are going ahead, because let’s be 100 per cent clear here, nobody’s told me I can’t go ahead.”

Last week, the promoters and organisers wrote to the Government outlining proposals for staging the event with various coronavirus safety measures in place.

Mr Benn added that he believes the “Electric Picnic will take place and I say that because I can’t see any reason at this point in time why it wouldn’t take place at the end of September.”

Last month Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said proof of vaccination or Covid-19 recovery could be used, in conjunction with testing, to help live music resume.

The Government intends to outline a plan at the end of the month that will set out a pathway for reopening the sector. – PA