It’s been three years in the plan after being frozen by the pandemic. But it looks like the wait will be worth the record 70,000 revelers dining at this weekend’s new and improved Electric Picnic festival.
With the events of 2020 and 2021 fast approaching due to Covid-19, this year’s music and arts festival will welcome the largest number of festival-goers ever.
About 15,000 more music fans will make the pilgrimage to Stradbally in Co Laois this week to see what is traditionally the last of the summer festival scene.
Headline activities for the September 2-4 event include Snow Patrol, Dermot Kennedy, Arctic Monkeys, The Coronas, Pixies, Megan Thee Stallion, Fontaines DC and Picture This.
But there are plenty of surprises for the audience too – with Festival Republic director Melvin Benn promising that organizers have made some “really good, really important changes”.
“I really believe it will blow their mind because although the changes are subtle, at the same time they are quite dramatic,” he said.
The main arena has been moved to accommodate larger crowds, while organizers are also working to minimize traffic disruption.
The number of early admission tickets has increased, with 20,000 people now able to come tomorrow to help meet the traffic management plan for Friday.
The Mindfield area has also been moved from behind the main stage to a more prominent location next to the Mind & Body area, while the popular Casa Bacardi section is making a comeback once again.
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The Fish Town festival area will also make its debut, curated by acclaimed Picnic musician Jerry Fish, along with pop-up stages and circus and burlesque performers.
The Freetown area has been expanded and now has six bars, each holding six drinkers – with some famous bartenders popping up unexpectedly on weekends.
Culture buffs will also enjoy as there is a new theater area that will feature innovative performances from Ballet Ireland.
Towards sustainability, Heineken’s Greener Bar has been constructed entirely from premium materials, with attendees encouraged to reuse their beverage containers.
Acknowledging the climate crisis, Mr Benn said: “The Electric Picnic festivalgoers have been quite dedicated about it but we will work hard. One of my goals here is to bring grid electricity to the site. Therefore, at least the main stage that can run the grid is sustainable, off-grid electricity. It’s been a constant boost for us.”
This year will also see the addition of HSE’s new drug test pilot scheme.
As part of HSE’s drug harm reduction campaign, “surrender bins” will be placed in designated HSE tents to determine what illegal substances are being used at festivals in Ireland .
Gardaí said there will be no exemptions for anyone in possession of illegal drugs.
And for anyone worried about Covid at the three-day event, Professor Luke O’Neill suggested that “an immunity wall has been built in our population so people shouldn’t be scared”. .
He added: “It’s actually a great time to celebrate.”
Indeed, Professor O’Neill will perform with his band, The Metabollix, on Friday in the Leviathan tent, and on Saturday they will play in the Science Foundation tent.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/festivals/ballet-burlesque-and-bigger-than-ever-expanded-electric-picnic-gets-ready-to-bounce-back-after-a-tough-three-year-wait-41949160.html Ballet, Ballet and Bigger Than Ever – Electric Picnic Expansion Ready to Recover After Three Years of Hard Waiting