By Ken Rooney
With this year's increased capacity, there'll probably be more Picnic virgins than usual up in Stradbally this weekend.
So here, in rough chronological order, is what you need to do:
Even with the advent of charging stations, portable battery chargers and whatnot, mobile phone power is at a premium at the Picnic.
Switching on 3G is a well-known battery-killer, but you won’t even need it with this genius unofficial EP app.
Just decide who you want to see before you go, and it will send you handy reminders all weekend telling you when and where to see your favourite bands. And it does it all offline!
The official app has loads more bells and whistles, including a ‘Find My Friends’ feature, but if you need to conserve battery, it’s probably best avoided.
If you want to really old school and print out a timetable, Clashfinder is the only way to go.
Nowadays, everyone has the good sense to bring an air mattress with them - but still waste valuable festival time inflating them. I’ve even seen some poor souls spending a full hour blowing them up by mouth!
So do yourself a favour and buy a cheap electric air pump. You’ll spare yourself untold misery and make instant new BFFs with your campsite neighbours when you casually give them a loan of yours (not before having a brief giggle to yourself at their initial attempts, of course).
They’re not even expensive - here’s one I saw for a tenner!
Even if you use it once and dispose of it, it’ll be the best €10 you ever spent - believe me!
Sure, you may look forward to that smug feeling of drinking bottled beer in the campsite and hey, you may well be able to sneak it in - but what if you can’t? You’ll be beerless for the weekend. Not so smug now eh?
Same goes for petrol generators - security keep an eye out for them throughout the weekend, you will get caught, trust me.
If you’re not sure of what you can and can’t bring, the EP website has a handy list about halfway down this page.
If you’re one of those lucky ducks with boutique camping, good for you. For the rest of us, we need to find a home for ourselves!
There’s a few basic rules, here they are in case you don’t know them:
* Don’t camp too near toilets, for obvious reasons, or walls and bushes (which themselves become toilets in due course).
* Don’t camp downhill in case it rains, or on a steep slope.
* Don’t stretch out those tent guy ropes - you don’t need to, and people will trip over them, and fall on top of you as you sleep.
* Keep your valuables, including drink, well hidden.
* A padlock doesn’t guarantee security, but it helps. Give spare keys to friends.
Here’s a good tip you might not know though: If you don’t like where you are - move! Just pick up your tent on Saturday morning and find another spot!
There's no point in being polite and miserable all weekend. You might get the odd snide look or remark from your former neighbours, but who cares? You will literally never see them again and you won't have to listen to that sixth rendition of 'Ride On'.
Phone coverage can be spotty so it’s not a bad idea to organise a meeting point where your gang can regroup if needed, say on the hour, or every second hour.
Pick a very specific central spot on the map that isn’t too boring to hang around for a few minutes. Casa Bacardi is pretty near everything - just avoid choosing (albeit wonderful) vortex that is the Body and Soul area for this.
A three-day festival is a physical ordeal not to be underestimated - and your feet will take a real pounding.
Unless the place turns into a festering mudhole (and all indications are it won’t) hot, uncomfortable wellies are just a bad idea - period. Similarly, heels were not made for uneven surfaces - wear them at your own risk.
You’re there to have some fun so don’t worry about what goes with what - bring two pairs of comfortable footwear and be happy you did. I bring old running shoes and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Also - socks are your friend. I’ll let Picnic regulars Le Galaxie take it from here: “[Bring] literally 12 times the amount of socks you think you'll need. No seriously, bring at least 37 pairs of socks you'll feel like a god.”
When the music stops on the big stages, the rush starts to find somewhere to keep the party going. But if you’re not quick on the draw, the doors may close on your preferred haunt.
Last year, the Heineken Sound Atlas stage was the place to be, and I wouldn’t see that changing this time around.
People have been refused entry to the whole Body and Soul arena too, and with the increased capacity this year, that remains a distinct possibility.
So when the lights go up after that headliner’s set, don’t dawdle - get your gang moving!!
And last but not least…
Pic: Simon Stapleton
All going well, you'll be full of enthusiasm by now, and the idea of keeping the party going by staying up all night will seem like a great idea altogether.
You've a whole weekend ahead of you, so do yourself a favour and spend it checking out all the amazing things it has to offer in a semi-coherent state.
See ye up there!!!