Party animals find Oxegen going is soft


The going underfoot at Punchestown racecourse is soft at best today but posing few problems for the thoroughbred party animals that have descended on the Co Kildare venue for the Oxegen 2010.

A blanket of grey clouds continues to engulf the festival site, but the persistent rain, which has become part and parcel of the annual festival, eased somewhat this afternoon.

“It’s too little too late for me,” said a muddy Ray Keane (18) from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, who is based in the red campsite. “The tent filled up on me last night so I had to drink it out. I don’t think I’ll be getting much sleep tonight either because it isn’t going to dry out in this [weather].”

Lauren Hughes and Keith Driscoll from Dundrum in Dublin said their tent had stood firm to the elements overnight but that sleep was at a premium because of a neighbouring acoustic guitar.

“I wouldn’t mind if they’d have sung a few different songs,” Lauren said. “But they keep screaming the same stuff (Muse and Oasis) over and over and over again.”

Keith, who was sitting over a “much needed” coffee at the Tiny Tea Tent in the main festival area, said the campsite was as he expected – loud, muddy and messy.

“The toilets are septic, the food is grim, and there’s rubbish everywhere, but anyone who comes here expecting anything else is a fool.”

On the main stage, Two Door Cinema Club, which made its first Oxegen performance this afternoon, urged fans to overlook the mud and rain and “enjoy the party”.

Shortly after that performance, sisters Ashley (23) and Caitlin McCarthy from New York, via Waterford, said they were indeed enjoying their first experience of an Irish festival. “It’s muddy, rainy, crowded and dirty but great,” Ashley said.

“We were given lots of advice before coming because there is nothing like this in America. It’s better value for money, everyone here really knows how to party. For the next three days I’m going to have to take loads of naps to keep up.”

Meanwhile, promoter MCD said it was delighted with how the festival was going. Some 4,000 staff have been employed to oversee the smooth running of the festival; among them are 210 gardai and 1,850 stewards, at a cost of more than €3 million.

In the festival operations epicentre, a room you’d expect to see on the set of Big Brother rather than overlooking the parade ring of a rural racecourse, members of the Garda, ambulance and fire service and security personnel observe the festival and surrounding roads through a network of more than 100 cameras.

“We haven’t had any major trouble yet,” says Garda spokesman Damien Hogan. “There have been a few arrests for public order and minor drug offences, but it has mostly been very well behaved.”