Electric picnic 2011

As the last festival of the Summer I had high expectations for Electric picnic and it made a big impression but not always for the right reasons.

Friday

We arrived down early Friday to set up our tents in the Jimi Hendrix site and headed off to see some bands. The band that made the biggest impression on me that day was the Rapture. They put on a very energetic set and had the whole crowd dancing from start to finish. I had never seen them live before and had been really looking forward to it when I seen them in the line up, and they did not disappoint. They kept their best songs until last and I can honestly say I had a great time. I hung around the Electric arena until Santigold was due on as she was on directly after The Rapture. The crowd filled up quite a lot during the wait and by the time she came on stage the tent was packed. A lot of the same crowd near the stage had remained on after The Raptures gig and continued their energetic and happy dancing from where they had left off. She put on a great set and I felt glad that I had stayed on rather than head off to another tent. When Santigold had ended I headed to the main area and began my wait for Interpol. I had high expectations for them and was a little disappointed with their set. There was just no energy or excitement in their performance. It was no different than listening to one of their records. It was hard to tell the difference between their songs and the sound and atmosphere was very lacking.

Saturday

Saturday was the day I was most looking forward to gigs-wise as pretty much every band I wanted to see was on that day. I started off the day by heading to see The Trinity Orchestra performing Daft Punk. Despite the fact it was the first act of the day it still drew in a healthy crowd and set people up with a good mood and a happy smile for the day despite a few small rain showers. I had heard a lot about them and had missed their last Dublin gig as I was working. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that they brought the music of Daft Punk alive I a totally new way. With them over I took in some of the other aspects of electric picnic such as the bingo tent and the body and soul area. I have never laughed as much in my life as I did at bingo and it was probably one of my favourite parts of the festival. The host was hilarious and it was a great way to raise the profile of amnesty international.

When it had ended I headed to the Crawdaddy stage to see one of the bands I had most been looking forward to, The Undertones. I’ve been a fan for years and was delighted when I found out they were playing. They played to their strengths and interacted with the crowd inbetween songs to great success, they seemed happy, relaxed and it really showed that they were happy to be there. The intro to teenage kicks alone sent the crowd into a frenzy and it was an amazing sight to look into the crowd and see young and old alike having the time of their lives. Later on I caught the start of Lykke Li’s set but was not very impressed. I had heard great things about her and was familiar with more than a few of her songs but I just don’t think her music translates well into a live set, because of this I decided to head to Death in Vegas instead. The atmosphere there was much better and they put on a great set, I had a far better time there than I did at Lykke Li’s set and was glad I decided to go see them instead.

With them over I had the hardest decision of the festival to make, would I see Ham sandwich or Arcade Fire. In the end I decided to go see Ham sandwich on the Salty Dog stage in the forest. When they came on stage I knew I had made the right choice. The atmosphere was great, and everyone seemed so genuinely happy to be there. It was impossible not to enjoy yourself. The banter between the crowd and the band was hilarious and I have always felt that its one of the bands strong points. Every song they played got the crowd going and they seemed genuinely surprised that fans had come to see them instead of Arcade Fire which was astonishing as their popularity has risen so dramatically in the past few months. When their gig finished I called it a night as it was just so cold and miserable out I couldn’t face standing outdoors for too much longer

Sunday

On Sunday I awoke to horrible vicious rain pounding down on my tent and thought the last day of my festival experience was going to be a total washout, how wrong I was.As I headed down to see The Minutes the sun began to beam and it put everyone in great form. I arrived a few minutes early and the tent was pretty much empty. But when I turned around just before they started the tent was full to the brim, good news obviously travels fast. They opened with Black keys and it was impossible not to dance along, they really got the crowd moving and deserved a far better slot than the early slot they were given. My favourite act of the Sunday had to be The Drums. I had always liked them but I was blown away by their performance. Everything about it was perfect, my only gripe is that they didn’t play lets go surfing, and it seemed most people I talked to agreed. I finished off my last night with a visit to the silent disco, it has always been one of my favourite aspects of the festival and I always look forward to it every time I go. The music was great and because there is always two stations there’s always something for everyone. As a massive Beatles fan my favourite moment was when they played Hey Jude, there’s nothing like taking off your headphones and hearing a whole tent full of people singing along, really put a smile on my face.

Overall I had a great experience, there was a good selection of music and always something on or something to go do to suit everyone’s needs. However the general tone was a lot lower this year than any of the other years I’ve gone. Electric picnic has always been the nicer, cleaner and more relaxed festival, the anti Oxegen. It’s advertised as a family friendly festival but after the things I saw at this year’s festival I think they need to re think their audience and how the festival is managed. I awoke Saturday morning to find someone had gotten sick right outside the door of my tent, later on I arrived back to get changed and found a man urinating onto my tent, so drunk he couldn’t comprehend my anger or the fact that were toilets not a minutes’ walk away from where my tent was located. Several of my friends were robbed over the duration of the festival, most while they were away from their tent, but some thieves were so blatant they robbed people as they slept in their tent. It’s sad to see such a once great festival ruined by the dregs of society, I really hope that the organisers sort it out, and return it to the great festival it once was.

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