Picnic perfect this weekend

THE most anticipated weekend of the year is nearly upon us, with only two days to go until the 9th Electric Picnic.

THE most anticipated weekend of the year is nearly upon us, with only two days to go until the 9th Electric Picnic.

Up to 32,500 people will descend on the town of Stradbally for the festival which boasts not just the best of music but the creme de la creme of art, threatre and comedy both from Ireland and around the world.

And John Reynolds who runs the event has even promised he might bring a beach down to Laois for next year’s event. Highlights this year include The Cure who are pencilled in for a three hour slot on Saturday evening, Sigur Ros who will be bringing their Icelandic magic to the Main Stage on Friday night, and The Killers who are expected to attract a huge crowd to the festival on Sunday evening.

Of course there are hundreds of acts performing, not just on the main stage but throughout the grounds of the Cosby estate, on the Salty Dog, in Trenchtown, in Body and Soul, and in Mindfields to name but a few.

The weather forecast is looking pretty good for the weekend, with mostly dry weather expected at the moment. Fans travelling to the event have been advised to dress for every type of weather, to bring suitable footwear and raingear. The ground in Stradbally is reasonably dry at the moment but there are a number of wet and mucky areas as workers plough on to have the arena ready for Friday afternoon.

There will be all the usual and unusual Picnic acts that fans have grown to love and this year there will be Laois contingent, as a number of artists from Stradbally’s Arthouse have an installation in the Main Arena. Laois artists David Delaney and Jayne Louise Kelly will also have a piece in the Mindfield area. And for those who need their hair fixing, stylists from Portlaoise’s Primary Colours will be on hand all weekend.

Speaking about the festival, owner of Stradbally estate - Thomas Cosby told the Leinster Express that he was happy with how work was progressing on site.

“It is a fantastic line up this year, and the forecast is looking up. The highlight for me this year is The Cure”. Mr Cosby said that it has been a busy few weeks so far out in Stradbally.

“It has been hectic here. I will absolutely be going everywhere over the weekend. It might not be so relaxing for me as for others but we are used to people descending on Stradbally at this stage,” he said..

John Reynolds is equally as excited about this weekend’s festivities.

“To build a music festival takes a lot of hard work, imagination, luck and co-operation. We have received public recognition both in Ireland and internationally but it could not be done without the council, the Gardaí and the residents who work with us for eleven months of the year”.

Mr Reynolds added that organisers dissect every festival each year and are more critical than the media.

“It is like building a small town. It brings an enormous amount of employment. It is an important aspect to make a positive impact on the environment, both culturally and financially”.

The festival is also family friendly with lots of activities for young and old. There is also a family camping area.

“There is a huge family aspect to this festival. The children create an amazing atmosphere and keep the adults in check. We have a duty of care to our audience and that is our primary concern. If there is no audience there is no festival. The people going in the gates pay for everything and we don’t take that for granted,” he said..