Electric Picnic powers up as tickets go on sale

IT sounds like a scene from Alice in Wonderland — people are playing with giant coloured skittles, gambling in a casino at Lost Vagueness, getting married in a bouncing castle church and sleeping in Podpads and Bus Beds.

In fact it’s all part of the Electric Picnic — Ireland’s only “boutique music festival”.

This year’s event will take place in Stradbally, Co Laois, from August 31 to September 2, and anyone who wants to take part in the three days of madness can buy their tickets today for €220.

The musical line-up was announced yesterday and the Beastie Boys are set to headline with their first performance in Ireland in over a decade.

They will play along side Bjork, Jarvis Cocker and Polyphonic Spree. Other acts include Iggy and the Stooges, The Good The Bad and The Queen,

Modest Mouse, Soul II Soul, The Jesus and Mary Chain, LCD Soundsystem and Craig Armstrong.

According to John Reynolds of organisers, Pod Concerts, the event is about much more than the music, however.

“It’s a music festival but it’s also an arts and cultural festival. It runs over three days and is Ireland’s only boutique festival. While there will be really good music there is more to it that just that. It’s about comedy, poetry, the spoken word, all those sort of things brought together in this field in Co Laois,” he said.

Mr Reynolds said there will be music to suit all ages and tastes. “It’s really a broad-ranging line up and that’s the policy behind Electric Picnic. It’s always eclectic, it’s always quirky and I think it’s broad ranging. Last year the Rolling Stone magazine said we are the best European music festival after Glastonbury so we have a lot to live up to this year and we intend to not only live up to it, but be better again.”

Electric Picnic began as a one-day event in 2004, but grew to a weekend-long festival within a year, and became a three-day affair in 2006.

Fossets Circus will perform for the first time this year, with acrobats, clowns and jugglers.

There will also be a casino, cabaret, a 24-hour cinema tent, massages, tarot card reading and a silent disco.

The Leviathan Think Tank will be expanded to two tents this year where there will be a series of discussions and political debate chaired by broadcaster David McWilliams.

Other events to celebrate the spoken word include poetry reading, theatre performances, a speakers’ corner, story telling and musical satire.

Last year €65,000 was raised at the festival to give to local charities. Mr Reynolds said: “I am very conscious that this event would not take place were it not for the co-operation of the local residents, the local council and the gardaí. Whatever issues they have we deal with them.”

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