COME hell or high water – and if the coronavirus doesn’t get in the way – promoters of this year’s Electric Picnic are preparing for the 17th annual event, which takes place in Stradbally on the first weekend of September.
At the launch of the first wave of acts last week, Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, which runs the Picnic, said that this far out from September he does not expect to have to postpone or cancel the event because of coronavirus.
He said: “I’m not worried about it at all. I’m full steam ahead unless the governments here and in the UK say we can’t go ahead. I’m 100% of the belief that by June we will all be over the hump and we will all have forgotten about it, quite frankly, and all you buggers (media) will find something else to write about it. At this point in time, I have got nothing in my head other than planning for this festival to take place at the time it will take place. The reality is that, for me, I’m about providing entertainment outdoors until somebody forces me to stop.”
Demand for this year’s event is so high that tickets sold out within hours of going on sale, with the organisers increasing the size of the main stage area to increase the attendance to 80,000 people.
The first big-name acts announced include a mixture of veteran artists and emerging Irish talent such as agit-rockers Rage Against the Machine, alt hip-hop firebrands Run the Jewels, Irish/Scottish indie veterans Snow Patrol, big-beat duo The Chemical Brothers as well as Picture This and Lewis Capaldi.
Other big attractions are Belfast house/techno duo Bicep, Stone Roses front-man Ian Brown, grime icon Skepta, indie outfit Foals and ’80s pop star Rick Astley. Home-grown talent such as Dublin rapper Rejjie Snow, Northern duo Saint Sister and Dublin singer-songwriter Aoife Nessa Frances will also take to the stage, with more acts to be announced.
New areas have been added to the festival site, most notably the Mind & Body and Consciousness Village areas. Other areas have also been confirmed, including the return of the MindField cluster of spoken-word and podcast stages, the Hazel Wood and the newly-added Fish Town space, with stages and attractions curated by Irish festival favourite Jerry Fish.