Running the last pair of underpants up the Picnic flagpole

As the last of the mud flakes from the boots, Festival Fit reflects on EP14

Did you hear that shot ring out over Electric Picnic in the early hours of Sunday morning? It's rumoured festival organisers called in a vet to examine Bonnie Tyler after she sprained her fetlock joint by tripping over a big heap of irony during a power outage at the Electric Ireland Power House. The vet felt a bullet was the most humane way to deal with it.

It was just as well the vet was on site. Whispers circulated around Stradbally that Philip King collapsed at the Other Voices Stage when a ridiculously reverential, breathy and hushed introduction for Hozier got out of control and he forgot to breathe. One audience member said: "It was a special privilege to witness such an intimate . . . and . . . unique . . . event . . . in . . . " just before they too collapsed from a lack of oxygen.

The vet recommended that each audience member should be supplied with a breathing apparatus in the rarified setting of St James’s Church for the filming of Other Voices in Dingle this December. The vet also suggested that Philip should preside over this years’ series from an iron lung in the foyer of Benners Hotel.

Unfortunately André 3000 didn’t make it to Hendrixville to promote the biopic that sees him playing Jimi. His red-head advert would have worked a treat there, and if he’d caught the Co Down Buckfast Bottle Orchestra in their encampment, he could have invited them up to play with Outkast. It could’ve only improved a set that was less entertaining than the soiled underpants that were up-cycled into a flag of demarcation in the Hendrix halting site.


Apart from most weekend warriors’ deep need to enlist the services of the vet once Monday jumped out from behind a hedge to surprise and torment us, Electric Picnic didn’t disappoint any campers I came in contact with. There were grumbles about increased numbers; the crowds bottle necked at the main gate on Friday evening were overwhelming.

Some people talked to me about the Electric Picnic buzz being different than it had been in previous years, the festival feeling a little more hectic than expected. They’re probably right, but down at Body&Soul there was still plenty of room to pan out and soak in some sparkly and sonorous vibrations.

Aindrias de Staic and The Latchikos set a suitable mood for the weekend when they dealt out some magic mushroom musings that skipped through the pools of Poulaphouca, along the banks of Lough Corrib and up through the woodlands of north Co Leitrim. Aindrias is the originator of Gyp-hop and there's no doubt he added a few more Gypsters to his rambling roadshow of rí rá last weekend.

TuneYards stole Friday's show from the Body&Soul main-stage when the innovative, edgy and intricately African-spiced sounds that Merrill Garbus cooked up, created the kind of excitement and awe that Blondie used to.

It was great to be with people who've never witnessed the Chic machine before, just to be reminded of how good a festival band they really are. When they sing "These- are-the-good-times", it's darn difficult to disagree.

St Vincent's second Stradbally stormer on the trot and a set from Beck that moved seamlessly from the symphonic sumptuousness of Wave to the silliness of a croaky snatch from Do You Think I'm Sexy saved Sunday.

Yet again I managed to miss more acts than I caught, and what I thought of those I saw doesn’t really matter; there are as many paths through a festival as there are people at it. The majority of my entertainment was provided by the misfits, miscreants, freaks, fools and friendly folk who populate the Picnic. There will always be a prick or two knockin’ around, but so long as the majority of them are kept corralled within the VIP area, Electric Picnic will remain a colourful and chaotic garden of hedon.

Safe travels, don’t die.