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

Stradbally's Electric Picnic is over for another year, how was yours? From international headline acts to acrobats, it had it all.


Best sets:

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.

Best wardrobe:

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.

Best sound:

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

See above.

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?”

Best newcomer: Jack Garratt

His Irish debut set the bar high with a fully-formed sound delivered only by the singer/producer/musician himself – less of a gimmick than a fascinating watch.

Room for improvement 2: Lighting

It’s September – the grand stretch in the evening is long gone and when it gets dark at Electric Picnic, it really gets dark. Giant illuminated flowers don’t provide as much light as you might think. With 50,000 people milling around in the dark, a floodlight here and there wouldn’t hurt.

Best hangover cure: Puppies

The “doggy kissing” booth over at the My Lovely Horse Rescue area. Who doesn’t want to cuddle a cute ickle woof-woof when they’re feeling a bit fragile? Hitler. That’s who.

Best sing-along

Several thousand Irish people gleefully aping a cockney geezer for the duration of Blur’s Parklife. 

Best quote: Grace Jones

On being presented with some fan artwork in which she is represented in a collage with some Toffee Crisps, Grace Jones cuts to the heart of the matter: “What’s a Toffee Crisp?”

Most ironic moment: 2Unlimited

How unironic the 2Unlimited appreciation was. We did not expect that. We underestimated the 2Unlimited love. Our estimation was limited. How ironic.

Heroes of the weekend: Uplift

The people from Uplift who arranged a vigil in solidarity with refugees trying to escape into Europe on Saturday. And the Cork Calais Refugee Solidarity/Simon Community and Calais Refugee Community volunteers who collected leftover tents to help those suffering in the crisis.

Worst people: The body snatchers

On a couple of occasions our journalists encountered seemingly interesting funsters who were, in fact, stealth marketeers seeking full brand penetration in the next fiscal quarter. It has made us distrustful of “fun.”

Best new tribe: Bogster

Hipsters that are boggers, as they cheerfully told our video team. 

Most intense talk: Abortion rights

Colm O’Gorman, Tara Flynn and Carole Hunt discussing abortion in Leviathan. Vital stuff.

Best blaggers: The two determined girls who got backstage (twice) in their quest to meet Sam Smith

Best dedication: From Parquet Courts

“[This song goes out to] To everyone pissing on the fence over there.”

Most effusive speech: Sam Smith,

with all the emotions and his speech about his personal journey to be here, at the greatest festival he’s ever played. Ah Sam, you pure charmer.

Best claim to Irish heritage: Damon Albarn

He’s exactly 11 per cent Irish, according to a genetic test, apparently. The crowd’s response? “Olé, olé, olé, olé.” Predictable, yes. Funny, certainly. 
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