Last weekend almost 50,000 people congregated at Stradbally Hall, County Laois for Ireland’s biggest music and arts festival. The festival lasted three days, bringing some of the biggest names in music to Ireland as well as showcasing local and international talent in areas such as literature, poetry, art and even cooking.
The festival really has something for everyone. As a first time attendee myself, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The first thing you notice entering the festival is the happy, laid-back and positive atmosphere; as well as just how massive the festival grounds are. After finding our tent and getting settled in, it was time to check out some music:
HamSandwich were the first to step out onto the main stage, and their performance got everyone into the festival spirit. Their extreme level of positive energy seemed to infect the audience with an uncontrollable urge to dance and sing along. HamSandwich proved that they can control an audience of any size as they delivered their fantastic set.
— Celtic Music Choice (@CelticMusChoice) September 5, 2015
The atmosphere certainly changed a bit later in the evening as Grace Jones took the stage for one of the most bizarre performances I have ever seen. The eccentric pop star took to the stage dressed something like a Zulu warrior and delivered an incredibly funky yet amazingly weird set.
Belle and Sebastian were the perfect band to close the first night at the festival, playing all the fan favourites and forming some great crowd interactions. At one point they had about 20 to 30 audience members up on stage to dance and sing with the rest of the band.
— The Ticket (@thetwicket) September 5, 2015
One of the highlights of Saturday was definitely Future Islands playing the main stage. I had never heard them before, yet they will stick with me as one of the most memorable acts of the festival. The combination of front man Samuel T. Herring’s energetic dancing and impressive vocal range created an incredible show.
A short distance away from the main stage Mac Demarco was playing in the Electric Arena. What I had heard from Demarco before the festival was mainly quite soft and mellow folk songs, however that is not what I got at this show. The New Yorker rocked the audience and did a great job at adapting his softer songs for the energetic festival crowd.
Directly following Mac Demarco was The War on Drugs, who blasted onto the stage and delivered a set which was any guitar player’s dream. The rock band seemed to extend all of their guitar solos to extreme lengths sending any guitar players in the audience, such as myself, into a trance-like state.
Of course Blur were the big headliners on Saturday night, and they did not disappoint. Songs such as Parklife and Song 2 sent the audience into a frenzy, which was an absolutely unforgettable experience.
— The Ticket (@thetwicket) September 7, 2015
My personal highlight of the weekend was the extremely personal and emotional performance by Villagers on Sunday evening. Conor O’ Brien seemed to pour his heart and soul into the performance and showcased many of the tracks off of his latest album Darling Arithmetic. The final band we went to see was Tame Impala, who put on one of the most relaxing, psychedelic shows I’ve ever seen. The lights and background graphics worked completely in sync with the music to create a really surreal experience, as they played hits such as Elephant and It Feels Like We Only go Backwards. A perfect conclusion to the weekend.
Of Course the festival does not end whenever the last band plays. DJs can be found playing smaller tents dotted around the festival ground as well as the late night forest raves.
Even if you are not interested in the acts playing, Electric Picnic is something everybody should experience. The festival atmosphere and the extremely happy people you’ll meet along the way is an amazing experience in itself. The fantastic music is just a huge bonus.
Jack is still recovering from Electric Picnic, so if you’d like to tweet your sympathies, click here.