Clouds clear at Stradbally as Electric Picnic gears up again

Clouds clear at Stradbally as Electric Picnic gears up again

By Des O'Driscoll

By lunchtime at Stradbally, the clouds had cleared, both literally and metaphorically as hangovers and sleep deprivation gave way to the promise of sunshine and another day of serious fun at the Electric Picnic.

Some eased themselves into it with coffee and a shower; others took the route of a can of beer and/or a spin on one of those blood-curdling fairground rides. Yes, the adrenaline rush from being spun upside-down 100 feet in the air probably does clear a few cobwebs.

The words 'Grace Jones' featured prominently in most people's discussions of the previous night, as the 68-year-old Jamaican gave an incredible performance that mixed her wacky theatricality with a brilliant back-catalogue of tunes. Boobs just covered in a daub of white body-paint, she seemed to change her headwear every second tune, and even kept a hula-hoop spinning on her hips for the entire rendition of 'Slave to the Rhythm'.

The other big hit on the Friday night was the Despacio tent in which James Murphy and 2manyDjs have surrounded the dancefloor with a specially designed sound system that's blasting out everything from big beats to The Beatles.

And away from any fancy-dan tech wizadry, the blazing bonfire in the Body&Soul area was a major draw for those seeking a respite from the autumn cold.

There were several thousand more tickets sold for this year's Picnic than previous events, a factor that seems to have given the festival a younger feel.

As ever, however, this evening's roster has something for everyone. Blur are Saturday's big draw, but the commercial soul of Sam Smith and the quality dance sounds of Hot Chip should also ensure another evening to remember.

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