Ireland’s boutique music festival will open in style tomorrow with a party atmosphere set to match its carnival setting.
More than 32,000 revellers will descend on Co Laois this weekend for the Electric Picnic music and arts spectacular. The sun shone as contractors put the finishing touches to the circus style tents and displays at Stradbally.
Revellers were warned to leave early for their journey and aim to be as environmentally as possible for the eco-friendly event. The re-formed Sex Pistols will headline the festival, which boasts more than 200 acts on over 20 stages.
The exciting line-up also features funk legend George Clinton, chart topping newcomer Duffy, Franz Ferdinand, Kila, Nick Cave’s latest project Grinderman and Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes.
Organiser and promoter John Reynolds said the Electric Picnic is more than just a music festival.
“It is quite honestly breathtaking this year,” he said.
“I can’t believe the amount of stuff that’s on.
“It’s not just a music festival. It’s a multi festive festival. Our feeling is anything of a creative nature should be here.” Mr Reynolds said the Sex Pistols first Irish gig will be the real deal.
“The Electric Picnic has always been about a very eclectic music mix and I think it’s pretty eclectic this year,” he added.
“I think there’s a lot here for everybody.” But the promoter said anything that can be seen, heard or tasted are all key elements of this year’s event.
Art installations, the spoken word and comedy are set to be big crowd pullers, with Dubliner David O’Doherty staging his very first gig in Ireland since winning the comedy world’s most prestigious award at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Elsewhere, five celebrity Michelin Star Chefs will stage cook-offs and Ireland’s most feared food critic Tom Doorley will judge the different foods on offer.
One of the biggest highlights of the weekend is the burning man temple in memory of the victims of suicide.
The 55 foot wooden construction, which took four months to prepare, will be set on fire by the family of an young man who took his own life.
Designer John Best said although dedicated to those who commit suicide, it will capture the soul of Irish people and be a release for anyone who wants to remember a late loved one.
The festival, which is now in its fifth year, has kept its trademark intimacy by just releasing 32,500 tickets.
Mr Reynolds said although the village of Stradbally turns into a circus for three days, it has had just nine public order offences and raised 272,000 euro for local charities since it began.
The grounds of the old stately home have been transformed to an array of villages including the Body and Soul area where revellers can relax in a hot tub or sauna, have a massage or enjoy some theatre or art.
A walled garden not seen since 1968 has been uncovered for a new specialised kiddies area, complete with a children’s body and soul area.
Other festival features include a cabaret corner, carnival area with a carousel and fairground, dance village, and global green to tackle human issues.
The Art Trail will also house some of the most innovative art collectives in the country and has become the temporary home to 12 life sized Asian elephants.
Twins Mary and Ruth Powys from Liverpool have brought the Elephant Family to the Picnic to raise funds to protect the endangered species in India.
“They just bring out the child in everybody and make people smile,” said Mary.
“They have been in parks all over London and we’ve had people climb on them as well as try to be adventurous underneath them.
“But they’ll be minded here. We’ll be spreading the love but in a conservation focused way.”