Three full days of sensory overload and yet still feeling the love and goodwill all around, Electric Picnic 2018 Stradbally, did not disappoint. I must be one of the few people who arrived there on the Friday morning feeling a little ill, tired and dreading the event only to return home Monday morning feeling refreshed and optimistic and full of the joys of a sunny dry Ireland.
Our home for the weekend was the efficiently run BYEco campsite located in an field of oak saplings surrounded by other woods to absorb most of the noise from further fields . Once the tent was pitched on Friday morning I had an afternoon nap and felt ready for the weekend ahead! The Eco campsite had a zero waste policy, with recycle bins supervised by volunteers to ensure they were being used properly,the LOO wats were pristine yet water free (but a bit pricey 2 euros a visit!!! the regular free toilets were well managed at the neighbouring Charlie Chaplin campsite). Our friendly neighbours were great and after passing through the other more chaotic and crowded campsites came to appreciate our new home more and more as we walked to the main venues.
Here is a youtube link to the camp.BYEco Camp site video clip (you tube)
The main stage hosted headliners such as Massive Attack and The Prodigy, not my favourites but it was good to experience the energy emanating from the crowds all around , it does have its affect and it permeates . Also plenty of Pop at those venues such as dance music perfromances Dua Lipa .
At the large tent venues such as the Electric Arena were St Vincent, the fabulous Annie Clark ( who had collaborations with David Byrne as part of her impressive practice) presented a fabulous performance .
There was a problem with sound quality at the electric arena yet the spectacular Persian performer Sevdaliza (based in the Netherlands) who mixed all kinds of genres, worked through it giving a fantastic audiovisual performance with rhythmic tensions.
Benjamin Clementine at Electric Arena:
The following night the sound issue was still not resolved at the Electric Arena when the unique Benjamin Clementine performed and was unable to finish his set (though the crowd still loved him while he played) it was a shock when he apologised said he couldnt hear himself and walked off stage. ( I came to know of Clementine earlier this year when Fion Gunn highlighted him in her artwork which was showing in Beijing this April). Once homeless and busking in Paris for a hostel for the night is now co signed by Paul McCArtney and handpicked by Björk for performances.
There was a multitude of choice for foodies but the highlights were the Buddha bowl at Natasha’s and also the Falafals at the Palestinian stand.
Between Art lot and Hazelwood (Irish language stage ) an interesting spot tucked in between the trees was a plinth where the Augustine Leudar’s ‘holomorph ‘ resided . If you held your hand above the magic plinth unearthly sounds rang from the trees across from the clearing . After chatting with the lady keeping an eye on the clearing ( Augustine was taking an hours break and we missed him) she explained the previous night a couple came to the plinth and decided to have an arm wrestle and broke the plexiglass sitting over the sensor and hence was repaired with black tape allowing the technicals to continue to work perfectly .
At Global Green activists, artists, makers , musicians , poets , foodies held events where you could encounter transformational ideas and conversations , a full sensory and intellectual workout.
Fire eaters and Flame throwers at Body and Soul
The best dance venues were at The Haunt which was reminiscent of student days in ‘Kelly’s ‘ Portrush, also a big thank you to the men in Oilskins and fishermen caps for a fantastic dance to Bob Dylan covers at the Salty Dog.
Also highly enjoyed was DJ and remixer star John Gibbons at Logic. I had heard he had become a global success and I hadnt seen him in decades, (I used to babysit him when he was tiny as we were neighbours), it was great to witness the crowds dance to house, dance pop , electronica , how they responded to him and how he gave back the love .
The ‘Rave in the Woods’ were late night events, intense , noisy and crowded.