By Hayley Reynolds
Electric Picnic sadly spells the end of the summer for me. The last big event to look forward to
before Autumn sweeps in and we can no longer deceive ourselves with hope for sunny days. Still, it's hardly a bad way to
hand over the baton to the colder months.
This year I arrived bearing numerous copies of the line-up (gifts from my more organised friends), including one laminated, and proceeded to circle everything I hoped to catch.
Sadly as a veteran festival-goer I know that to 'see it all' is simply not possible, especially on the Stradbally Estate. Performance tents spread far apart, many gigs overlapping and the inevitable bar and portaloo queues.However, at Electric Picnic, like any relationship worth its salt, compromise is key. The rules? Everybody has one 'Must-See' band, like their get out of jail free card...
'I know you have a splitting hangover and about as much energy as a tree sloth after Sunday dinner but I really wanna see this band on at lunchtime.... So gerroutta that tent!'.
The good thing is you never know where you will end up or what you may discover.
You see, it's not all about the music. Our merry little group attended a pretend wedding in the inflatable church, got our hair done in the beauty parlour, had a dance-off atThe Minutes's DJ set in the Heineken Electronica bar, hid in the trees at a rainy rave in the early hours and got sidetracked at the nice wine bar in the Mind Field area. Not to mention the numerous pit-stops at the artisan food stalls.
So it's forgivable that my list of what I wanted to see veers slightly from what I actually saw. On that note, here are my picks of the Picnic:
People still talk about their amazing gig back in 2005. I just grit my teeth and try not to let my seething jealousy show. Frontman Win said it was a gig that 'changed their lives'. They weren't expecting everyone to know all the words and for the rapturous reception they received. Way to put pressure on the crowd aye? But I did my best maniacal jumping and chanting along as they played a suitably epic set on the main stage on Saturday night. Hopefully they noticed.
These were my must-see pick and in the freezing cold, but thankfully dry, Sunday evening, Zac Condon and his band did not let me down. They played their Balkan folk sounds from the recently released third album and of course some old favourites. The brass section providing a welcome break from the dance and rock acts.
Mr Blake provided me with my gig of the year with an intimate set at Whelans a few months back and this outing at the picnic was just perfect The sun beat down strong on Saturday afternoon. Girls selling vodka jelly shots to the crowd, the heavy teeth-chattering bass reverberating through us. Mix all that in with his soulful voice and it's another top class gig.
PJ cut a fine silhouette on her smoky stage, black feather headpiece and clutching her auto harp for a dramatic set. The wind and rain failing to dampen our spirits. Her mercury prize winning album is fast becoming one my my new most played on iTunes.
Such a great festival band, the perfect mix of nostalgic lyrics, big sounds and sing-along-ability. The excitement in the crowd was palpable and the band seemed to grin their way through their set with us.
JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW
Heartbreaking melodies and lyrics. James has made one of the loveliest albums since Bon Iver's For Emma Forever Ago. Don't believe me? Then check out If I Had a Boat and Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree off his album Early in the Morning. His tent was full-to-capacity with people spilling out and sitting on the ground outside. Electric Picnic may need to consider bigger tents next year.
DEATH IN VEGAS
This UK psychedelic rock/electronic band have been around a while and have that perfect blend of happy and sad, fast and slow. They gave me one of the best gigs of the weekend which included much dancing.
Performing at 1pm this Irish Electronica group were on way too early for the amount of energy they can pack in but a great kick start to our day. Whipping out handfuls of 'TUNE' signs to the audience, who didn't need much coaxing, including one massive banner which some lucky punter caught. High energy/tempo and a little bit of scaffolding scaling thrown in.
THE CHARLATANSvicinity. We may have been the happiest little section that evening.
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY:
My friend Jayne's first picnic and she was ecstatic to see her once favourite band. Not knowing many of their songs it became one of my highlights too as to see her so happy in the (friendly) mosh pit was an infectious energy booster and not just for me but for anyone in her vicinity. We may have been
the happiest little section that evening.