LCD, Lana Del Rey and a woman in a Santa Hat stood out in Stradbally for Ed Power
The festival belonged to LCD Soundsystem
A rumpled 40-something in a Man From Del Monte Suit returns with the band he made a great fuss of breaking up five years previously… on paper, the resurrection of LCD Soundsystem should have felt like a chintzy cash-in.
But James Murphy and chums’ Saturday night headliner in fact proved the most transcendentally tingle-inducing moment of the weekend.
Hearing 30,000 or so sing along to ‘All My Friends’ in a midlands field at 1am is not an experience anyone will forget in a hurry.
Electric Picnic is really two festivals
In its early days, the Picnic had a specific niche as a festival for the over 30s (this when Oxegen, its major rival, was perceived as a post-Leaving Cert rite).
But 2016 was the year the kids arrived en masse.
There were still plenty of oldies — more than ever, in fact.
However, they now shared Stradbally with Millennials.
This resulted in some curious juxtapositions, such as Walking On Cars packing the Electric Arena as, outside, middle aged punters stopped to ask themselves who or what Walking On Cars was.
The drizzle didn’t get in the way of the fun
Rain had been forecast to take some of the gloss off Picnic 2016.
And if the skies opened on occasion, we were spared the predicted deluge.
Electric Picnic was damp, but never a mudfest.
The Haunted Music Hall chilled us to the core
Saturday 2am and LCD Soundsystem have just restored your faith in non-ironic electro pop performed by schlubby middle-aged men.
What to do next?
A trek to the David Lynch-inspired Haunted Music Hall? Well of course.
Your plucky correspondent was greeted by several dozen punters singing along to an accordion-based rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, accompanied by a video of the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The flashbacks will continue for some time, we fear.
Nostalgia was one of the unofficial themes of 2016
From LCD Soundsystem to New Order via Broken Social Scene, The Shins and Super Furry Animals, many of the stand-outs at Electric Picnic had two feet in the past.
Maybe that speaks to the wimpish state of contemporary music.
Whatever the reason, nostalgia was a constant — at least for veterans on their fourth or fifth Picnic.
Lana Del Rey proved herself headline material
She came, she saw, she twerked. Stepping up to headlining a major festival was theoretically a big ask for the ‘Video Games’ singer.
But on a wet, muggy Sunday, Del Rey confirmed her star power.
Hozier singing Bowie with his old muckers from the Trinity Orchestra was about as sensational as the curveballs came this year.
Otherwise, Electric Picnic unfolded exactly as expected, with surprises, welcome or otherwise, at a minimum (though many will have been struck by reports of the Cork couple getting hitched at the festival).
Did anyone use the swimming pool?
For the first time, Electric Picnic had an onsite lake in which punters were invited to take a dip. But, based on our unofficial straw poll, festival-goers were not clamouring for a Stradbally splash-about.
Ever-present fear of the heavens opening had, it appeared, tempered enthusiasm for messing about in the water.
Festival fashion is no longer a thing… huzzah!
Remember when ‘festival wear’ was all over Xposé, Saturday supplements etc?
Thankfully, we have moved on and, at Electric Picnic, people dressed for the elements, not the catwalk.
The loudest fashion statement was the ‘Repeal’ slogan sported by pro-choice campaigners — and they were not nearly as visible as the social media echo chamber would have you believe.
It was worth going off the beaten path
Smaller arenas such as Body& Soul, Other Voices and the Salty Dog brimmed with gems waiting to be stumbled upon (Dylan Moran in the Comedy Tent was one of the most talked about happenings on Saturday).
Kudos, especially, to the curators of the Trailer Park for squeezing in an ironic pro-Donald Trump caravan and a Christmas-themed soundsystem.
And to that woman in the Santa hat dancing manically to ‘Last Christmas’, we say bravo.