The Electric Picnic, Stradbally Hall, County Laois, Ireland, September 2005
The hunt for festival as soon as possible after arriving in the UK had been conducted before I left home, and the one we chose was Electric Picnic, a newish boutique festival in Ireland. I think it had been going the year before a s a day event, but had now expanded into a weekend. It was less frenetic and homogenous than Oxygen, Ireland’s other big fest which we were told by a local was “…full of angry country people throwing bottles of their own pish around”. Good choice then. Venue was in Laois, about an hour or so on a bus south, south west of Dublin. The line-up was brilliant, spread across a big main stage, one huge marquee, and a load of other smaller marquees, and I enjoyed again the relaxed vibe of UK & Euro fests - yes, everybody is drinking and partying, but the thing is with these sites you have to make an effort to get to, is that they attract less munters. So, the? During the days we could groove with pints & kebabs to Toots & The Maytals, Herbert’s BIg Band, The Herbaliser, Mr Scruff, Elbow, Human League, Bob Mould before the night set in and things got more of a pace on. Audio Bullys were chavvy and great, havin’ it large. Goldfrapp stomped all over the stage with her catwalk glam. Soulwax kicked arse as they do. Mercury Rev were sublime and dreamy. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds were immaculately rock-god-like on Saturday night. Owned it. Sunday night saw us stalk Wayne Coyne and try to get hm to sign our passports after a media session, then later on whole The Flaming Lips blew the crowd away, and ran us down in his inflatable ball during the opening number ‘Race For The Prize’. This post-Yoshimi Battle The Robots, pre-At War With The Mystics phase for the Lips live, was gold… just party central. Crowd participation to the maximum, and even a guy proposing to his wife on stage between songs at one stage. After that Fat Boy Slim came on and played great tunes to let teh party continue. His light show was stage set & lighting were OTT, the biggest I’d seen at the time for a single dj, and the cheap 3D style cardboard glasses they handed out hilariously fragmented every single point of light into a floating smiley face. I still have those :-) Bless you, Ireland… for that was a grand, grand couple of days. An abiding mad memory was a proto-Glee moment when walking in from the tents along the path Sunday arvo, we got caught up in a group of friends who started goofily singing the Backstreet Boys ‘I Want It That Way’. Well, it kind of snowballed, attracting a larger and larger involvement - people doing harmonies and a kind of call out/reply vibe. We were creating momentum through the campground, and at one point where a bridge was due, two girls burst out of tent, as if on cue, to deliver their line. Fucking bizarre. Bloody brilliant. A whole festival line-up is hard to sum up in one song, but I think I will go for the Flaming Lips because they were soooo good, that Fi & I kept seeing them every chance we got after this. They give you your money’s worth - so it’s gotta be ‘Do You Realise?’.