Electric Picnic: The Ticket’s 2015 awards for best in class
Where’s the best place to meet your mates? Has to be the main stage
Damon Albarn leads Blur through an energetic stormer of a set. Róisín Murphy turns the Electric Arena into a blistering, adventurous, electro-pop powerhouse. War on Drugs show how far excellent playing chops will get you. And as these pages go to press, Florence + the Machine are tearing it up on the Main Stage. The Redneck Manifesto reform for a Salty Dog special. Bitch Falcon go from strength to strength. And Chvrches give us all the tingly feelings.
Róisín Murphy is a performer of many guises: a timid pensioner, or a hounded celebrity trying to throw off the paparazzi. A shimmering diva with an apparently inexhaustible supply of sunglasses. A blur of flying black and gold fringe. For her most outré number, a scarlet red oval that enveloped her in its fleshy folds, Murphy offers an anatomical interpretation. “I think I look like a . . .” she begins. “Legend,” we all finish.
Sound mixes at festivals can be hit or miss, but this year most stages sounded impressively crisp throughout the weekend. The awesome set-up in the Despacio tent, though, is a cut above the rest. Vinyl-only sets on a system designed by James Murphy, John Klett, McIntosh Laboratory and Jordan Acoustics, with Murphy and David and Stephen Dewaele taking turns for six-hour shifts. Phenomenal. And it was fun to see how many DJs you could spot in the room at any one time checking out the blingest set-up in the business.
Best addition: Despacio
Worst addition: E-lites area
A brand clearly of the “more is more” school of marketing thought. Who’s got a match?
Most unwelcome development:
the proliferation of corporate brands. Let’s not be naïve: you’re a consumer here whether you like it or not, shedding tenners every other step. But the palsy infiltration of conglomerates into the social life of a festival, offering lounges and domes, phone-charging and photo ops, snacks and larks in exchange for a promotional tweet and the rights to use your image chilled us to the marrow.
Best bargain: water
Bottled water for just €1 at the Farmers’ Market in Body and Soul. And of course for free from the drinking stations.
Biggest rip off: beer
Has there been a sudden crisis in the hops market? Are brew-rich members in OBEC limiting supply? How else do we interpret the price spike in pints this year? Leaping from a merely unconscionable high of €6 last year to a more brazenly cynical minimum of €6.20 (scaling to €6.70 if you like your suds named after a jungle cat), such beer inflation leaves a sour taste.
Wine is now the cheapest option. Wine. We’re told to drink responsibly, but how about charging us the same way?
Best bro brag:
OGM from Ho99o9 A gentleman never kisses and tells, chaps; what-what? But new crazes in courtship, such as “sexting”, can still be a grey area for social etiquette. Why, only the other night, caddish young swain OGM from modern thrash-hoppers Ho99o9 (which is pronounced “Ho77o7”), spoke of receiving professionally taken butt shots from a comely young woman of his acquaintance. “Google me,” she deigned to add. “Turns out,” trumpeted OGM’s sparkling repartee, “she’s a porn star.” He seemed ever so pleased. To celebrate his good humour, he also performed a standing backflip. We wish the talented couple good luck and rude health.
Best place for the shift: The Gramophone
Romance is where you make it, you garlanded young people of summer. But we found quite a lot of it, very frequently, on sweetly uninhibited display by the outsized musical sculpture The Gramophone, near the Pink Moon campsite entrance. Spilling out ragtime jazz through the night, this was a warming spot for wooers, sitting on its steps in tender embrace, against the sensuous lilt of times past, admiring its huge horn. Ah, innocence.
Best spuds: Home Fries
Atkins be damned – these crispy hunks of deliciousness, fried in olive oil and smothered in toppings, were the ultimate comfort food for dinner, at the Trailer Park. And lunch. And breakfast.
Best piece of art: Away with the Fairies.
From the macro to the micro, the creative installation transported us from the Picnic to an even more magical place. Delightful. Best rumour: JM/Hot Chip That former LCD Soundsystem man James Murphy – here under the Despacio guise – would join Hot Chip for their Al Doyle-led cover of All My Friends. We’re kind of glad it didn’t happen. We just couldn’t deal.
Room for improvement 1: Security guard knowledge
Us: “Where are the nearest toilets?” Security guard: “They’re in the Oscar Wilde campsite. Turn right and carry on walking.” Forty minutes and a full circle later: “Uhh . . . try left?”