Festival fans were as eager to snap up their camping spaces as they were to buy their tickets, judging by the speed with which the campsites filled up at Electric Picnic yesterday.

Tickets for the festival sold out in record time last March, and by mid-afternoon yesterday campers were scrambling for space to pitch their tents, before heading in to the main arena for Friday’s line-up.

For all its reputation for being the place to see emerging acts, Electric Picnic 2016’s opening offerings had a distinctly 80s feel, as attendees were split between seeing the pop of ABC on the main stage and the indie melancholy of The Smiths, via tribute band These Charming Men, who channelled Morrissey et al from a stage fashioned from the ‘Salty Dog’ pirate ship in the woods near the campsite.

The cultural contribution of both bands, however, is lost on the youngest attendees at the Picnic, who are led by the hand — or in some cases pushed in their buggies — by their parents.

“Why would you bring a kid to the Picnic?” lamented younger festival-goers, who had missed a trick.

Because as the night went on those young ’uns earned their weight in plastic cups by weaving in and out of the crowds gathering discarded beverage holders.

Simon Rowe, Hugo O’Neill, and Louis Noone from Shankill, Dublin, at the Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois.
Simon Rowe, Hugo O’Neill, and Louis Noone from Shankill, Dublin, at the Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois.

While a fiver a bag might not sound like much, at the rate the child labourers were snapping up cups off the ground, they will have Mammy and Daddy’s ticket price recouped by the end of the weekend.

Early noughties indie favourites Broken Social Scene sought to establish their Irish heritage credentials with the crowd early on from the Electric Arena stage, only to ruin it with the occasional “thank you Dublin” shoutout to the Laois crowd.

The Chemical Brothers and Super Furry Animals closed last night’s main stages, but for many they are but the starters for tonight’s main course — the return of LCD Soundsystem from a five-year hiatus that fans feared was a permanent disbandment.

Yesterday had a lethal weather combination — powerful sunshine matched by the kind of strong, cool breeze that tricks you into thinking you’re not burning as you quietly sizzle.

The wind made it difficult for campers to pitch their tents but few, if any of them, complained about the conditions, given the apocalyptic rainfall predictions that some have given for today.

Whatever the weather, the apparent festival fashion dictates shorts and t-shirts for all at the Picnic.

The forecast is for rain, but to quote tonight’s headliners; if you’re worried about the weather, then you’ve picked the wrong place to stay.


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