06 Sep Electric Picnic Festival | Day 1 | Highlights
I’ve had a pretty great summer on the music front. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen Arcade Fire, Green Day, David Gray in Down cathedral, Stiff Little Fingers, Stranglers, Ruts DC, and The Outcasts.
To finish the summer off right however, I set off to Stradbally, County Laois to catch Ireland’s largest music festival, Electric Picnic. Prior to this weekend past I’d only ever been to the now defunct Oxegen festival (RIP). So, I’m actually a bit of an amateur when it comes to festivals.
2017 marked EP’s most underwhelming line-up so far. Previous years have seen the likes of New Order, Lana del Rey and other big names gracing Stradbally. This was a little bit disappointing but I decided to use the weekend to take my time and discover new artists rather than rushing from one big act to another as I did at Oxegen. Often it’s the smaller acts that you simply stumble upon which end up being your festival highlights. And this was certainly the case at EP.
There was just so much going on, so many different areas with their own unique vibes and genres. I think there was eighteen stages altogether and that’s not counting some of the smaller stages. And there was so much beyond music.
As much as I would have loved to have enjoyed every facet of the strange little world I spent the weekend exploring, it simply was not possible. I saw a helluva lot of great stuff though. So, without further ado, here are my highlights of Electric Picnic Day 1.
The Salty Dog
I awoke feeling stiff in my stuffy, condensation dripping tent but it was nothing that a coffee and a delicious bacon and sausage bap wasn’t going to cure. Friday was to be a laidback day of exploration and getting my bearings. Almost all the acts I was most excited for were on Saturday and Sunday.
The first point of call was The Salty Dog. This area had a debauched pirate type feel in a very chilled woodland area. It was located right beside the Oscar Wilde campsite which we stayed in.
We eased into the weekend here with a few drinks and a DJ set from DJ Will Softly. I loved this area for a couple of reasons – there was a constant, glorious smell of bacon due to the food vendors beside the stage and it was super chilled, hosting many smaller artists within a number of genres all weekend. There was music on here from 12 until 3am each day so it was constantly abuzz. I caught many little snippets of music walking through here to get to the campsite. Which was lovely.
My Lovely Horse Animal Rescue
Remember how I said there was so much more beyond music at this festival? Well, My Lovely Horse Ranch was one of the best parts because CUTE ANIMALS. I spent so, so much time here. I knew almost all the animals’ names by the time the weekend was up.
At My Lovely Horse ranch you could donate to the rescue by buying cocktails then drink them sitting on hay bales whilst stroking the gentlest, friendliest doggos that, in your mildly hungover state, almost brought on tears of pure sleep deprived delirium.
There was Paddy, the Labrador/Cocker who sat with me for a good 10 minutes because I had some food he was very interested in. Then there was Henry the three legged Jack Russell who induced many squeals of delight from the groups of girls he attracted. He always seemed very nonchalant about it though.
Oh, and did I mention that all the dogs were wearing bandannas around their necks? Which just upped the cute factor ten fold.
It wasn’t just cute dogs though. There were a couple of goats, a Shetland pony and an adorable donkey in a pen to admire.
With the animals safely tucked away for the night, this area turned into a 70’s and 80’s disco where we danced on the hay bales and wished the dogs were back for cuddles.
God, I miss My Lovely Horse Ranch.
Perhaps you’re starting to wonder if I actually saw any acts or just spent the entire festival with the doggos. Well, I did leave the My Lovely Horse ranch occasionally. As difficult as it was to leave the doggos behind.
We decided to take a wander through the Body & Soul area and happened to catch the first act on the B&S main stage – Bob Skeleton.
I’d never heard of these guys before but I was so glad I caught their set. I thought they were incredible. The Galway quartet’s sound is described as “Midnight-Pop” on Breaking Tunes. They’ve got that Mancunian indie rock, guitar heavy sound textured with dreamy, melodic pop elements. Very much akin to Blossoms and Two Door Cinema Club. Which I was loving because Blossoms are one of my favourite bands at the moment.
I’ve been listening to Bob Skeleton’s stuff a lot since returning home. It’s so catchy. As they’re still pretty small, they don’t have many songs but I’ve been loving all of them. Especially See The Moon and Vivienne. I have my fingers crossed they’ll hit up Belfast for a show in the near future.
After The Divine Comedy, we went on a few fun fair rides (yep, there was a fun fair on top of everything else and it was great) then spent the rest of the evening in the Body & Soul area which probably ended up being one of my favourite areas in the festival.
We caught a bit of Shookrah’s set on the main B&S stage. Shookrah are a six piece band from Cork with an R&B, synth infused sound similar to Janelle Monae and Laura Mvula. A particular highlight of their super chill set was their track “Woman”. R&B isn’t a genre I listen to a great deal of, so it was refreshing to catch something a bit different – I was mostly just enthralled by the incredible vocals from lead singers Senita and Imelda.
Stay tuned for my EP Day 2 highlights!