Electric Picnic 2005
Stradbally, Co. Laois, 3 & 4 September 2005
Not so much an in-depth review, as an account of my first Electric Picnic experience. Simply put it was the best festival I've ever been to.
Even the queue to get in on Saturday was full of good natured people, it was like nothing could dampen the mood, the guys beside me were giving away bottles of beer. Billowing coloured flags, paper mach?flowers and butterflies in the trees greeted us as we walked into the field. Unfortunately it started on a low note for me, with my digital camera falling out of my bag just as I arrived into the venue on Saturday and when I realised about 2 minutes later, I retraced my steps, but it was gone. I was upset, obviously, some say I'm overly attached to my camera but still it wasn't going to ruin the rest of the weekend.
Our music choice started with mellow vibes from Emmet Tinley, who set the tone with his ethereal voice and treated the crowd to "Polinchinelle" and "Heart Still Breaking" among others. The crowd were both seated and standing in the Crawdaddy stage with the Southern Comfort bar serving delicious drinks. For an adrenalin rush we had a ride on the bumper cars next, it was great fun, despite minor whiplash! Then off to wander around the stalls. The best ?1.50 I have ever spent was on bubbles from the Fairy shop, it was like I was 10 again, they provided endless entertainment all weekend. The festival had some great food stalls - Mexican nachos, filled crepes, toasted sandwiches, meat pies and Indian cuisine were among some of the delicacies to sample. The comedy tent was a great idea and seemed to be busy all weekend with weary revellers finding a place to sit and laugh for a while. Neil Delamere was very funny on Saturday afternoon, although Karl Spain who followed him was a little disappointing. I caught the first half of the Goldfrapp set but didn't stay for it all, the Bacardi bar was calling me for some lovely rum and cokes.
Next and the absolute highlight of the festival for me wasArcade Fire, they were just mesmerising. They were the reason I wanted to go to Electric Picnic in the first place. There was a sense of huge anticipation in the packed Electric Arena, with the crowd going wild when they came out to soundcheck. There followed a huge release of all that energy when they took to the stage and played the opening bars of "Wake Up". The entire set was complete bliss with "Power Out", "Rebellion" and "Neighbourhood - Laika" the highlights. The place was held captive and everyone staggered out, drunk on the spirit of great music. They seemed really taken aback by the crowd reaction and hopefully they'll be back really soon. Next up were Doves, who played the main stage. They weren't on as good form astheir last Olympia outing but still entertained the crowd and finished with "There goes the Fear", a definite festival anthem.The Flaming Lips followed them and with my legs turned to jelly from all the jumping for Arcade Fire, they provided a much needed energy boost. It's something to see Wayne Coyne in a plastic bubble rolling on top of the crowd, they played tracks from "Yoshimi...", and Queen's "Bohemian Rapsody" had the whole place singing. There were as usual lots of people in animal suits on stage with even what looked like an armidillo and their video show as the backdrop was brilliant. Absolutely shattered after the day I fell asleep to the distant sound of Fat Boy Slim.
Sunday we started off easy with the very talented Dublin Gospel Choir and watched everyone slowly waking up in front of the main stage and making it to their feet for a bit of dancing which continued for jazz Jamaica. Off to the Electric Arena for "Who Made Who", a rocking Danish band. Saw the start of "Husky Rescue" but they were a little too mellow for us so we left. Unfortunately Roisin Murphy cancelled, which was a shame because she was one of the main acts I was looking forward to. So over to the Comedy Tent instead for Des Bishop and Joe Rooney (ever hear someone sing nursery rhymes as David Bowie? - brilliant). Our tipple for the day was ros?wine from the Ernest and Julio Gallo stall, sipped from proper wine glasses (plastic of course). Back to the Electric Arena for Audio Bullys, who started off well but dipped a bit before finishing on a high note with the Nancy Sinatra - "Shot you down" remix. Another highlight from their set was "We don't care", the song from the Lucozade ad with the dancing zombies in the shopping centre! A break from music for a while and I headed to the Lost and Found tent to check if my camera was handed in. Would you believe that it was!! The festival feel-good vibes were obviously happening, unfortunately the people around me who had lost mobiles jumping around toKraftwerk were not as fortunate! So not many photos of the weekend but plenty of good memories.
To finish off in style Soulwax rocked, dividing their set into first half Soulwax, second half 2 Many DJs. They played "E Talking", "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah", "Any Minute Now", "Rocker" and lots more from their albums and had a fantastic light show in the tent. "NY Excuse" was pounded out with the mantra of "This is the excuse that we're making..." ringing around the arena. Over to the Crawdaddy stage which was wedged for De La Soul. They are hip hop greats and even though it was a bit old school at times they whipped the crowd up. They missed out "Ring, Ring, Ring" and "3 is the Magic Number" from their set, but sent lots of energy from the stage. We dropped by the Lost Vagueness tent, and caught an Indian band (not sure of their name) and dancing feather clad girls on stilts. There was such a cabaret feel to the tent and the decor was divine. The Body and Soul village had all you could want to relax and chill out away from main area - hammocks, massages, reflection shrine, chilled out music. The Silent disco, was set up near the campsite and provided lots of spectator entertainment with people standing around outside, watching people inside dancing to music in their headsets.
All in all a fantastic festival, roll on next year and hopefully a longer 3 day event.