'I could double the capacity and then you'd say, well you're spoiling the Picnic'

There are no immediate plans to increase the capacity of Electric Picnic which this year sold out before the line-up was announced, the director of the festival has said. 

"I could double the capacity and then you'd say, 'well you're spoiling the Picnic," Festival Republic's Melvin Benn said as the 2017 event came to a close. 

"It's a popular show for all the right reasons…all I can say is, 'get in early'."

He didn't rule out raising the capacity from its present 55,000 in the future – but said there were no plans to this at the moment. The capacity has already been increased twice in the past five years.

"I'd love it to be bigger [but] it's not the right time."

Benn was speaking as the sun came out after heavy rains buffeted the festival site through Saturday. 

However, the inclement conditions didn't ruin the fun for festival-goers, who endured the downpour to enjoy Saturday headliners A Tribe Called Quest and Pete Tong. 

Sunday saw the sun re-emerge as crowds flocked to artists such as Elbow, Rag 'n' Bone Man and headliners Duran Duran. The atmosphere was laid-back, with parents and their children mingling with 20-somethings sporting festival glitter.

With many non-musical attractions, the spoken word "Mindfield" area was likewise busy, as punters watched cookery demonstrations, listened to spoken word recitals and listened to historians debate the long-term impact of the Russian Revolution. A large audience also gathered to watch the All Ireland hurling final, screened in the Newstalk tent.

Melvin Benn 

Benn said he was concerned that the weather might ruin the mood until he went to see DJ Pete Tong on the main stage. 

"It was "Ibiza classics" – nobody mentioned to any of the audience they weren't in Ibiza. The rain came down and they partied as if they were in Ibiza. It was one of the best festival sights I have ever scene."

With rain forecast, preparations had been put in place to ensure the festival was not unduly disrupted, he said. "A lot of the mulch was already there - and we had teams working through the night to get it ready for the morning."

Benn rejected the criticism that the 2017 line-up was relatively lightweight. Having cult hip hop A Tribe Called Quest headline Saturday was especially controversial in some quarters. 

"If you are only after the big names then this is the wrong show," he said. "The picnic is about more than superstars. It's a different concept…If the superstar headliner is available at that time then we'll get them, there is no question about it."

Arrests were down this year and there was a heavier, though discreet security presence. A small stage in the Trailer Park area was closed on Friday after a crowd invasion. 

"People jumped on a stage," said Benn. "Forty people onto this tiny little stage.It wasn't build for the amount of people that jumped up. It was unfortunate that it happened. It was a little thing."


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