Electric Picnic 2016 Festival Review

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New Order on the Main Stage Sunday 4th September.

Stradbally Hall, Stradbally, County Laois, Ireland.   September 2nd – 4th.

Sunday 28th August to September 1st the week before the big party.

Met the lovely Eilís Ní Laighléis, her daughter, Shannon and friend, Shauna at Kinnegad off the Galway bus to Dublin and we set off for Stradbally, I couldn’t believe the time had come around again for that annual pilgrimage to wonderful sights and sounds and true friendship.  We met Catherine Kehoe at the volunteer HQ and got wristbanded with the temporary pre-event wristband.  Our shifts were from 2 pm till 8 from Monday to Thursday and I was going to be working at the crew camping and campervan area much like Body & Soul festival this year.

Entertainment was covered by Campervan John aka John Dooley, he had brought his DVD player, projector, screen and some films to show at 10 pm each night from Monday to Wednesday of the week, he also supplied the whole crew camp at times with copious amounts of hot beverages, tea and coffee which was a life saver any time of the day.  The films of choice seemed to be about junkies and their adventures, Adam and Paul, a tragicomedy about Dublin junkies with the late Tom Murphy on the Monday night, and Scottish junkies from Edinburgh the following night with Trainspotting.  Some of the music in that film reflecting acts that played in previous Picnics.  Wednesday there was no film as John had to do something and couldn’t make it to set it up.

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John’s cinema screenings for last year at the crew camp. Photo by John Dooley.

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Campervan John.

Kevin arrived in the campervan on Tuesday night with a pal from Galway, Gary, also working at the festival, we had a few drinks and listened to some of the music we were going to be viewing over the weekend, Kevin was doing Soul Kids again with Craig Peggs and a bunch of others.

Basically my job for the four days was to sit on a seat at the crew camp entrance and direct people to the car park and to where they would be wristbanded at the Body & Soul office, I had to make sure that all traffic stuck to the one way system, the exit to the place being at the car park end.  It was fairly quiet for the first few days so I brought my little speaker and ipod blasting sounds of some of the weekend artists and hopefully creating a welcome vibe to people entering the crew area.  I had great chats about music with my supervisor Dan Traynor about previous EP line ups and on the Thursday shift with security guard Kevin from the Northern Ireland.

I quickly come to realise that Electric Picnic is not just about the music and the craic on the weekend but since I’ve volunteered in 2011, its like meeting an extended family of friends, mostly all of them on an annual basis although I have met John and David Curran at Body & Soul and I also have met John at various Fleadh Cheoills as well as he like myself is a bodhran player, musician and singer of ballads and Irish traditional music.  And some who do the advanced volunteering agree that some of the best craic happens at the pre-event build up.

Which brings me to the Thursday night, we were all sitting outside John’s camper having a drink and a bit of a sing song, my bodhran was down in the tent so I borrowed John’s for the odd song.  I spotted a fellah walking about with what appeared to be a banjo case, I called him over and asked him if that was a banjo and did he fancy a tune as we had bodhrans.  His name was Fergus Costello and he sat down and pulled out a Joe Foley mandola, he had an unusual style of playing, he didn’t use a plectrum but hit the strings with his fingers and parts of his hand and he had the strangest most comical Irish ballads that he self composed and had us in stitches laughing.  Songs such as Keep building hotels and The best traditional music shop in world.  Fergus who is based in Nenagh, Tipperary would be up there with such greats as Galway man Brian O’Rourke, Tim Lyons and Fintan Vallely as composers and singers of hilarious traditional Irish ballads.  It turns out that Fergus was booked by Body & Soul to play a gig on one of the smaller stages over the weekend, so it was by wonderful coincidence that he wandered to our gathering.

So I want to say an extended thanks to everyone who made my week and weekend at Electric Picnic 2016, John, David, Coyle Carina, Jenny O’Mahony and Aiden Mac McCarthy, Eilis, Shannon and Shauna, Catherine, Olga, Ross and the other Ross, Diarmuid and all the lads from Cork (Diarmuid and myself have similar electronic tastes in music and he turned me onto a guy called Max Cooper who I hope plays either Body & Soul festival or EP next year), Chloe Wong, Kevin Keehan, Craig Peggs, Adam Coburn, Susan, Dan, Laurie Purkiss and many, many more, you know who you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Shannon and Shauna.

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Volunteers setting up at crew camp on Sunday.

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David Curran and Chloe Wong and various other volunteers.

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The ladies heading off to work.

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The hole in the wall staff entrance.

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The new Electric Ireland Tent.

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A cool thatched archway in the Green Crafts area.

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Catherine Kehoe hard at work in the Volunteer HQ.

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The tree house above Volunteer HQ.

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The crew road ways that split through the intersection of the festival site.

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The main stage taken from the festival production side.

Friday 2nd September.

My Community Employment wages were paid into the bank today so when I woke it was up to the town centre to make a withdrawal, buy some breakfast, some booze and the lanyard timetable as, as per usual the Picnic is very late at releasing the information and my smart phone was too old and not compatible to download the timetable app.  I headed up to the main arena in the late afternoon with David, no music in the actual main arena had kicked off quite yet so we headed for the Salty Dog and Other Voices area as they had music on earlier.

Booka Brass Band  – Other Voices  4  – 4.40 pm.

The Booka Brass band had a packed out tent, the venue is tiny and because of its proximity to the Oscar Wilde campsite it would be the first sounds campers would hear and why the place was heaving, grooving to the funky sounds.  The 8 piece band played lots of classic hits and famous melodies and have guested on many famous artists records such as Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan, James Vincent McMorrow and Jerry Fish among others.

http://bookabrass.com/

There was many punters already in fine tipsy form as Other Voices and Salty Dog were places to drink your own booze before going through security into the main arena and in some cases unsuccessful booze smuggling, causing folk to turn back and go to the nearest periphery music venue to drink it there.  And can you blame them, at €7.20 for a pint of Heineken and €7.40 for a pint of Tiger lager you would need a mortgage to get through the festival weekend.  Festival prices now matched prices of the Temple Bar Hotel in Dublin.

I was supposed to meet Cork Dave here an old festival buddy of mine I met at Liss Ard festival in 2012 but he didn’t seem to make it.  Myself and David Curran hung around for the next act as the Other Voices tent emptied after the Booka Brass gig.

Skipper’s Alley – Other Voices  5 – 5.40 pm.

Skipper’s Alley, normally a seven piece band was playing today as a six piece and the fiddler Danny Diamond who I know from sessions in Galway and Dublin was standing in for the normal fiddler Ultan O’Brien.  The band had a Bothy Band/Lunasa feel to their sound possibly because of that uilleann pipe and fiddle combination, but they were lovely and lively and the place filled up again with tipsy revellers tapping their feet to the tunes, great selections of jigs and reels ensued and some lovely songs from John Flynn.  Skipper’s Alley have a CD out that is self titled and most of the tunes and songs featured on the set will be on that. I took a few video clips and the audience sounds noisy and chatty but it wasn’t actually that full, probably people over excited about day one of the festival.  Check them out if you get a chance.

https://skippersalley.bandcamp.com/releases

 

 

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David Curran near the Other Voices stage or thereabouts.

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Myself and David decided to stay in the woods as we still had a few cans and I had a bit of louched Spanish absinthe in lovely spring water to drink and we weren’t in the mood to be searched yet or to take the long way round to the metal gate.  Besides it was still early enough yet, we wandered into the Trenchtown area where we met Kevin and Craig and hung about there enjoying the ambience.  We also checked out the new area called The Hazel Wood which seemed like a quieter Trenchtown with one stage, some lovely art and the really cool horse drawn gypsy caravans.

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Hazelwood Stage. Photo Kevin Keehan

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Hazelwood. Photo Kevin Keehan

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Hazelwood. Photo Kevin Keehan

Myself Kevin and Craig thought we took the correct path towards the iron gate but we took the crossroads before and realised we didn’t have access through this way so we tried to take the shortcut through the Hendrix campsite which was absolute carnage by this stage, tents absolutely everywhere, no emergency lane enforced there like it used to be, the nearest lane being the string of light bulbs that seemed ages away, even worse it was dark and a guide rope hell, we lost Kevin in the process when we ran into a crowd of people.

When Craig and myself headed back in we were about to get searched by Specialised Security who were mainly Scottish (Lads and lassies from the T in the Park security) and mostly from Glasgow, when they heard my accent they just waved me through, they seemed to be happy when I addressed them as ‘awright big man’ which is the Glasgow way of saying hello to another fellah.  We took the volunteer short cut to the Electric Arena as I’ve never saw Todd Terje before and I wanted to catch a bit of his set.

Todd Terje – Electric Arena   9 – 10.15 pm.

The Norwegian DJ and electronic musician had a nicely packed tent bouncing to his house nu-disco sound, a happy pulsating beat with lovely airy synths and the audience singing and humming along to the noodling.  It was light, poppy and commercial but had a strong bass beat that gave it a nice stomp and refreshingly it didn’t have cheesy type Xfactor female vocal overdubs.  Classics such as Inspector Norse, Srevie Nicks and Whitney Houston remixes got an airing, he was the perfect early night set to either set people up for the Super Furry Animals or perhaps the rampant progressive rock techno of the Chemical Brothers.

http://toddterje.com/

 

The Chemical Brothers – Main Stage   10.30 pm  – 12 am.

The Chemical Brothers audience was bizarre, half looked like they were on another planet licking the moon and the other half weren’t and wishing they were, every second person asking ‘Any yokes!’  The Chemical Brothers always, always have an amazing visual spectacle and a fantastic sound, they had some lovely sky scraping lasers and retina bursting LED visuals in their back screen, but they are not obvious techno like say Ben Klock, Paul Kalkbrenner they are more like a progressive rock experimental techno with cool vocal and spoken samples alternating between techno and hip hop.  This is just my own view for as long as I’ve been listening to them and after seeing them at two other Picnics, I’ve not been able to accurately describe what I’m hearing sometimes.

The visuals were really magnificent but they started to give me a bit of a headache so I decided to retreat to where the mixing desk was as it was really rammed and hot down the front. I met Kevin to the left of the mixing desk and stayed there a while.  The Chems played quite a bit of back catalogue including a few numbers from their most recent opus from last year Born in Echoes, Swoon and Escape Velocity from Further, some classics from Push the Button.  One of my highlights was Setting Sun where they used really cool lasers and that track is so funky, wacky and weird.  The lights though were still giving me a bit of a headache so I decided to split from Kevin and get a coffee, I was probably dehydrated from boozing a bit and I think a caffeine injection was what I needed.  I watched the last few numbers from the seats at the main stage and wasn’t able to locate Kevin again. another great show by the Chemical Brothers and a nice way to close proceedings on the main stage for Friday.

Since I couldn’t find Kevin I decided to go for a saunter through the Body & Soul village, the headache now dissipated I felt great again, I wandered slowly through the site taking in everything around me and enjoying the different sounds coming out of the stages.  At one point I became transfixed by a string of triangular lights and whisked out the small Sony camera to capture this cool decoration.

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Some cool lights in the Body & Soul Village.

I headed for Trenchtown as I thought I would definitely bump into Kevin there, but no sign of the dude, I wandered around looking at the various stages there, I settled for a while at the Treasure Beach area I think and I think maybe Rootsman Wurzel was playing a set there as I heard the Eek a Mouse track Ganja Smuggling he dropped at Scrobarnach Festival a few weeks back, he also played a nice dub reggae dubstep version of Nina Simone’s My Baby just cares for me remixed I think by London Zoo.

I just called it a day after that in went back to my tent about 3.30 am, I had done a lot today and wanted to get some nice rest so I was in good form for Saturday festivities.

Saturday 3rd September.

I awoke about 10.30 am and wandered up to John’s for a coffee, a few were already sitting there, John, Corina (I always called her Corina rather than her first name Coyle, just a daft habit I have and don’t know why), David and Lisa.  Kevin got up a little bit later and he cooked up a bit of a fry for us, some sausages and beans which set us up quite nicely for the day. I heard a nasty story about the spiking of some volunteers within one of the festival crew areas, this was not welcome news in my history of Picnics and it meant you had to be aware of what drinks were being handed to you sometimes.  It was a bit of a wet one this morning many of us staying in our tents until the rain somewhat subsided and there was a wee bit of a gust at times, although warmer than last year.

Myself, Kevin and Craig headed of into the arena about 2.30 pm, through the iron gate and went through the specialised security search, why was the festival doing this now I ask, its not like the crew was taking the piss with bringing or sneaking a bar into the festival, just a few cans of beer and a mixer decanted bottle.  I mean why does the festival think we a volunteering for?  Firstly we love this festival, secondly some of us volunteer as its our only foot in the door.  Some folk are lucky to have the €165 Euros to buy early bird tickets at the time, the reality is most of us don’t have that and even more don’t have the €240 odd Euro to pay the full price, so what makes the festival think that we have eighty odd Euro to spend on 8 pints during the day.  My point, leave the crew staff alone, they have been down all week and the same goes for anyone working the festival for just the wristband, life is expensive enough, how much does this successful sell out event need to cream from the festival workers.  Anyway I charmed the Scottish lads with my Glaswegian and they let me through as they know very well it will affect them in their time off too, they realised I wasn’t trying to smuggle a keg of beer into the venue.

We headed for the Body & Soul area and wanted to find some place to sit and chill, the Bog Cottage seemed the perfect place, sheltered in case it started raining again plus it had plenty of windows to people watch the Body and Soul Village and best of all a cool wee session going on in the back of the house, I had my bodhran and joined in and its good for my soul to play.  It turns out I knew one of the tin whistlers, Liam Lyons, who is the nephew of Tim Lyons who I’ve played many a session with in the Crane Bar and Taaffes in Galway city.  I also took a photo of Craig and Kevin, the Body and Soul Village area and a wee video clip of inside the Bog Cottage.

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Craig and Kevin in the Bog Cottage.

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The Body & Soul Village looking onto the Earthship Stage.

Time for an evening meal myself and Kevin settled for some burritos from the Mexican stall, there was regular size at €8.50 Euro and the larger one at €10 Euro.  I settled for a pork and beef one at the 10 Euro price and, man was it worth it, my big mistake was unwrapping the foil packaging as most of the contents starting falling out over my light blue jeans making them slightly psychedelic, I had to get a fork from the stall and eat it from the table or it would basically become my jeans.  But it was a meal and a half and set us up proper for the night.

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The Mexican stall in the main arena.

The lads headed off back to the crew camp but I hung around the arena and called into the volunteer headquarters to say hello to Catherine and Susan and have a coffee or two.  I could see that a large crowd was gathering at the Electric Ireland stage and realised that it was amassing with old Bananarama fans and curious alike, I went up to take a look myself.

Bananarama – Electric Ireland Throwback Party  (No time is given in the booklet but about 7 – 7.30 pm the gig started.).

Now back in the days that Bananarama were in the charts I was a staunch metal fan and would’ve baulked at the thought of going to a Bananarama gig but in retrospect I always remember them quite fondly as an airy summery sound, especially the stuff they done with Fun Boy Three (with Terry Hall from the Specials).  My sister Alicia was always fond of Bananarama so I was doing this for her too, hopefully she will get to see them at some point too.  But it was a hit packed set starting with Cruel Summer, which couldn’t have being more appropriate at the time as there was a downpour during it.  I met Coyle Corina who was loving the set and managed to successfully rush the stage when they invited members of the audience to join them.

https://www.bananarama.co.uk/

Corina was off to the Comedy Tent to see Dylan Moran, I ran into the volunteer HQ as another shower was taking place but I fancied the comedy tent for a change myself, believe it or not it was ten years since I went near the comedy tent at EP in 2005 or was it 2007 when I went to see the headline act, Tommy Tiernan and again like this year the tent was packed out so I watched the performance on the screen outside.

Dylan Moran – The Comedy Tent   8.15  – 9 pm.

Dylan Moran was on a rant about the state of the Irish economy, politicians and how our current generation perceives those who run our country and he had a go at American politics too giving a special mention to Donald Trump and his rival Hilary Clinton.  The comedy tent was lapping this up and I enjoyed a bit myself, but it felt like I was looking at an RTE broadcast rather than being in the confines of the tent.  It meant you would have to been there about 40 minutes earlier to get an actual place inside the tent.  Some people had mixed views to whether his stand up was funny or just an angry sarcastic rant but I enjoyed what I seen nonetheless.  The folk who weren’t impressed preferred the comedian from the day before, Abandoman who I would’ve like to have seen, remembering him from the RTE coverage from last year, a rapper who made up raps on the spot from peoples suggestions.

http://www.dylanmoran.com/

I bumped into Kevin again at Trenchtown, he had just come back from the crew camp and was restocked, I never bothered myself, I still had a drop of absinthe and some cans and I was drinking fairly slowly and pacing it, mainly just drinking coffees in the arena during the day.  I took a clip of the Trenchtown area as night time had settled in and the beautiful fairy forests lit up with lights and colours and to the booming lively soundtrack of The Hacklers who were playing on the live stage with some great ska music.

https://thehacklers1.bandcamp.com/releases

This time I put my drinks into my jacket as security were only searching the bags and I handed my bodhran bag over which they just gave a light squeeze and handed back to me, the protocol being just checking for glass like when you first enter the festival site.

DJ EZ – Rankin’s Wood Stage  9  –  10 pm.

Went to the Rankin’s Wood stage to check out a bit of DJ EZ set, having watched some of his Boiler Room set a week before I was interested to see what he would come up with, the Boiler Room stuff reminding me of DJ Nu-Mark’s set from Life festival in 2015, a bit of funk, house, techno and scratch hip hop thrown into the mix and he is a show man who is great to watch when performing.  This particular set though to me fell into a more niggly Ibiza sound with the dreaded female Xfactor vocal overdubs type dance music and is far too cheesy for an old rocker like me and the starting of the gig didn’t really grab my attention so I moved on.  Whether he started playing the funkier harder style stuff from the Boiler Room set later was anyone’s guess.

http://www.djez.com/

We went for a saunter into the Body & Soul area and a bit of slightly windy drizzle had set in, I was quite taken by a band on the Body & Soul main stage.

Blaenavon  – Body & Soul Main Stage  10 – 10.45 pm.

Blaenavon from Hampshire in England had a cool dark melancholic sound that complimented the drizzly damp atmosphere around the Body & Soul Village, the singer had bits of a Syd Barrett / Ian Curtis vibe about his demeanour and the main stage was suitably darkly lit to suit the doom-laden feeling.  The music gave a balance to the other uppy uppy happy stages sound bleeding slightly into their performance.  I wish I had filmed more of their set but Kevin had an agenda to get to the main stage for Noel Gallagher.

https://blaenavon.bandcamp.com/

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Main Stage   10  –  11.15 pm.

Noel was just about going into his third number when we arrived, he had a lovely tight band on stage and played a selection of his High Flying Birds and the Oasis classics for the latter part of his set.  Some of the solo stuff stands up there with the Oasis back catalogue, tracks that stood out were You know we can’t go back and If I had a gun.  When it came to the Oasis classics he messed up Champagne Supernova but handled the mistake with superb professional aplomb turning it into a humorous parody.  At the end it was rather emotional when he played both Wonderwall and Don’t look back in anger to an amazing singalong.  I fairly enjoyed the gig and Kevin too despite being more of a Blur fan myself.

We wandered about the main arena for a while until we settled just at the Cosby Tent entrance as the place was jam packed for the King Kong Company set.

King Kong Company  – Cosby Tent   11 pm – 12 am.

Its great to see this Waterford electronica dance rock band go on to greater things having just released their debut self titled album a few months back.  It was only last year that they closed the Salty Dog stage on the Sunday to rapturous applause from adoring fans and it was nice to see them make it to one of the marquees in the main arena.  The Cosby actually this year seemed to have a strong Irish flavour of acts whereas before there used to be more international acts playing the stage.  The band covered some of their classics spanning their career and done an ace version of Blue Monday that got the tent pumping. So now I know where Mark Graham and cohorts were going to be on Sunday night, rocking it out with New Order on the main stage.

LCD Soundsystem – Main Stage  12.05 – 1.45 am.

The Lcd Soundsystem were one of the massive draws to the main stage, this was my fourth time seeing them, my previous three times were the subsequent Picnics they had played before, so in a way kind of like their 2010 show without the really fast numbers like Drunk Girls and North American Scum.  It was Kevin’s first time seeing them and I think he was impressed.  When Us and Them kicked off in the intro they used the glitter ball during the electronic overload bit and it looked amazingly effective and trippy, but I have to say they nicked the idea from Pink Floyd, Floyd using it for the second half of Shine on you crazy diamond but still, LCD were back bigger and better in sound too.  The back catalogue choice was nicely put together.

Having recently got hold of This is Happening I was loving some of the tracks from that such as I can change and You wanted a hit and some of the old dizzbusters like Tribulations, Movement and Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I had planned to leave half an hour before the end of their set as I wanted to go to the Little Big Tent to see Daniel Avery and I feared it would get too jam packed there to get into the gig.  I wasn’t to bothered about missing the last part as I have saw them three times before.  But only after Someone Great.  I was so happy to see Someone Great performed, it is without doubt my greatest and most favourite LCD track of all time and when they reached the lyrics ‘when someone great is gone’ I had tears in my eyes as there is such an emotional depth in that track, I dedicated that moment to my parents who were long gone by that stage, Kevin’s dad who passed away a few years ago and to the recent passing of one of the comedy greats, Gene Wilder.  I looked at the time 15 minutes before Daniel Avery was due on so we split for the Little Big Tent.

‘…When someone great is gone
When someone great is gone
When someone great is gone
When someone great is gone

We’re safe, for the moment
Saved
For the moment.’ (Lyrics James Murphy)

Daniel Avery – The Little Big Tent   1.30 am  –  3 am.

The anticipation for this guy was unbelievable, I had been waiting for an Irish festival to announce him for the last two years now and was milling that I couldn’t make Boxed Off festival last year as I had to go to a wedding, although I didn’t regret that as I knew he would visit Ireland again sooner or later.

He kicked off with the Nice intro that I’ve heard on previous youtube clips and his most recent Boiler Room set and boom!  Straight into Naive Response, one of his seemingly Underworld influenced  numbers from the amazing Drone Logic album.  From then on it was a relentless pounding of some of the heaviest intense techno I have ever heard and some serious retina scraping visuals on the back screen.  There was a really young crowd at the gig, younger than the usual Electric Picnic standard.  I noticed this throughout the weekend, but I must be just getting older and the new crowds getting younger.  What with the proliferation of tacky looking nightclub stages such as Logic and Heineken Sound Atlas the Picnic seems to be catering for a younger crowd these days.  Anyway some of the lads at the front started slagging me and calling me granddad, I didn’t really bother me at first but they kept on at it a bit so I moved back to where Kevin was to try and enjoy the rest of the gig.  Just as I thought Avery was going to leave the stage to a round of applause I turned around to Kevin and said, ‘The fecker didn’t play Drone Logic when BOOM! Drone Logic kicked off and the crowd went mental, that was a gig and a half and must be about an album and a half of new material that he dropped tonight.  I wait in anticipation for his next new album.

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Daniel Avery taking a photo of the audience.

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Daniel Avery in action.

Myself and Kevin decided to head for the crew camp after that as that was a fairly action packed day with nine acts and a session too, we just wanted a good rest so we would be in top form for the early afternoon gig of Toots and the Maytals tomorrow.

Sunday 4th September.

Both Kevin and John were cooking up fries this morning, twas like having our own personal cafe in the campsite, bacon, sausages, toast and coffee, we must be in heaven. Craig came up to join us as well and we all tucked in, it beats eating cereal bars and fruit in the tent.  It had rained overnight and the sun had come out so hopefully it would stay out for a while to dry the ground and that we wouldn’t have a mucky ground, the festival site was actually coping quite well with the rain and there was no major mucky quagmires.  I had intended to take a shower but looked at the size of the queue waiting and it being 1.30 pm Toots was due on in an hour so left the shower queue and just changed my clothes, used wet wipes and deodorant and set off with the lads to the main arena to get a good spot for the Toots show.

Toots and the Maytals – Main Stage  2.30  –  3.30 pm.

This was the third time seeing this amazing reggae group who continue to keep blowing me away with their sound and vibes.  Its really hard to believe that Toots Hibbert will be seventy four in December, he still has a most amazing energy and a voice so pristine and like velvet, he can still hit all these notes I have nothing but incredible respect for this man.  I’m so, so happy that Kevin got to see this group for the very first time.  At his age he may never tour again and we would respect him for that.  The band went through classic after classic and the massive crowd gathered boogied and skanked through the whole set.  Hippies, rastas, metallers, punks, two tone rude boys, granddads like myself. flags with Jamaican colours and a colourful crowd comprised the Toots audience.  This was Craig’s first time seeing Toots too and he must of got fed up with me raving like an apostle of the Toots temple through the whole weekend, by the end of the gig though I think he knew what I meant.  We got to hear Monkey Man, Country Roads, Funky Kingston and 54 46 was my number among other amazing ditties.  The sun didn’t come out though like in his 2005 EP show but who needs the sun, it was dry and warm and the sun was up in the stage, the sun was in fact Toots.

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Craig at Toots and the Maytals.

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Kevin at Toots and the Maytals.

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Toots and the Maytals on the Main Stage Sunday 4th September.

Straight after Toots set myself and Kevin headed to the Casa Bacardi stage to catch most of Kelly Anne Byrne’s set.

Kelly-Anne Byrne  –  Casa Bacardi Stage   4  –  6 pm.

It was a delight to catch this lovely lady playing a DJ set at the Bacardi stage, Kelly-Anne Byrne is probably mine and Kevin’s favourite Irish radio DJ at the moment and The Beat Goes On our most popular show which we listen to religiously every Sunday night keeping us psyched up leading to the Electric Picnic, she has impeccable taste in music and we have made so many discoveries through her show.  Her set today was more based on her Saturday show on Today FM, where she played liberal doses of soul, funk and pretty cool deep house music.  I asked someone else to describe the sounds to me and they came up with uplifting house music, which I think is quite apt.  I’m usually more a techno fan than house music but the stuff she was playing was incredibly funky and kept us rooted to the spot, no cheesiness whatsoever. Everyone else there seemed to be gorgeous and in their late teens whilst myself and Kevin must have stuck out like sore thumbs, the elders going crazy to her music and I think she may have noticed too, with me in my psychedelic waistcoat and wild hair looning about with my arms.  Saying that Kevin is still a young one in his early thirties but I must look quite gonzoid myself.  Anyway a fantastic set from Kelly-Anne Byrne.

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Kelly Anne Byrne at the Casa Bacardi Stage Sunday 4th September.

We headed back to the crew camp for a rest up and a restock of our final booze for the night, Kevin went back to the camper for a power nap whilst I went and sat in my tent for a while listening to the New Order concert from Electric Picnic 2006.  The rain had come on again in a heavy drizzle and I feared it was there for the night now, I wasn’t too bothered the weather could have been a lot worse and we got mostly dry spells for the last two sets we attended.  Kevin said call up to the camper in about an hour so we could set off for the New Order set.

Adam called to my tent when he heard the sounds blasting out, his tent was leaking badly and he was mainly soaked to the skin, so I lent him my lovely pink jumper that my sister Alicia got me for my Christmas, it was dry and hopefully made him a bit more comfortable. Sorry Alicia, I will get it back eventually at some point.  Adam was also telling me that he was spiked too and ended up in the medical tent, which has got me thinking, what the fuck is wrong with some people, stop messing with peoples brains you lowest of low.  I took a daft wee video clip of my tent with Blue Monday playing in the background and showed a view of the wet dreary crew camp, I sight I had not seen at the Picnic since the Sunday of 2010.

I went up to Kevin’s camper, woke him up and we set off for the main arena, in our haste I slipped and fell in the wooded path and bruised my left shoulder and chest, thankfully there was a few folk around who helped me onto my feet again, we could have done with some wood chipping or hay there as it was very mucky.  I tried the same trick as before carrying the booze in my jacket and handing security my bag, but it was a frisk this time and the pretty Scots female security guard was not having the, ‘But I’m fae Glesgae’ routine.  She was probably pissed off having to work the night shift in the rain and thought why should anyone else have any cheap fun.  I retrieved my bottle of absinthe (louched of course, which just means weakened with water) and a can of Guinness off her and walked back out of the main arena to drink them rather than sacrifice them to the Heineken guards.  Needless to say I was slightly inebriated after that and recorded a slightly comical video of me entering the main arena and ambling towards the lighted cubes to New Order on the main stage.  Absinthe is too expensive in Ireland to be giving away to the Heineken overlords.

New Order  – Main Stage   8.45  –  10 pm.

New Order’s indie urban electronica was pretty dense and melancholic and madly it suited the driving rain that fell upon us, still it would have been better if it was dry but what can you do there.  The band played some of their classics and Joy Division’s Love will tear us apart.  Some of their newer stuff from Music Complete (Released last year) sits nicely with their eighties material and I loved the way they have updated the older stuff like Waiting for the siren’s call into a nice electronica version with absolutely stunning visuals.  The bands light show and backdrop screen showed some amazing visuals and art that suited their sound down to the ground.  Classic after classic, True faith, The perfect kiss among other. When that familiar drum beat of Blue Monday kicked off the audience went bananas.  The band put on an amazing show and I’m really glad I got to see them for the first time even if Hooky is not there, they can still pull it off big time.

Skepta – Electric Arena   11 pm  –  12 am.

British grime hip hop artist Skepta had a nice crowd gathered in the tent despite the huge crowd gathered for Lana Del Rey at the main stage, it was mostly a very young and fit crowd who were pumped for some cool bassy British hip hop.  I don’t know too much about Skepta but enjoyed the clips from Glastonbury of him and thought, hell, why not, go and check someone new out.  I was fairly tired at this stage so lasted about 35 minutes of the gig, I just couldn’t keep up with the audiences energy, they were just too wild.  I will probably check out some of Skepta’s catalogue though as I missed my rap injection this year, missing Joey Badass’s set and Nas’s sets, although I did catch Nas touring Illmatic at Life festival 2015.  I enjoyed Skepta’s set but I had enough for the night and was quite happy with my lot.

Out in the open again I started getting soaked right through and the thoughts of finding somewhere under cover in Body & Soul or Trenchtown disappeared, I cut my losses and was fairly content with all the acts and sights I seen.  I didn’t know where Kevin was so I made for straight back to the crew camp.  I knew I still had a dry tent, dry towel and some fresh clothes so back I went and got changed and dried up.  I didn’t see the point in going out and getting all wet all over again and crashed out for the night.

Monday 5th September.

The roads round the crew camp was a sight to behold the following day, thankfully the sun dried it off a bit but not before a few vans and campers gut stuck in the muck.  I took down my tent and went up to John’s camper to ask for wee coffee, it was sad to see everyone go off again.  John taking his awning apart, Kevin and Craig going away for their breakdown shift and myself going back to Kinnegad with Eilis, Shannon and Shauna to catch my Galway connection and make it to my Monday night session at Tigh Cholis with Anders and Geoff.  Till next year have a good one everyone and thanks for a great week, will see ya all at the pre-event for Electric Picnic 2017, that’s if the Picnic will have me again ha ha. 🙂

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About niallmcquaid

Music lover and musician. Love writing about music and events, I am a keen writer.
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4 Responses to Electric Picnic 2016 Festival Review

  1. Marcus Power says:

    Hi,
    can’t see any review for EP16?
    Help pls?

  2. Haven’t started it yet, starting on it tonight, just put up title and photo.

  3. Great photo Niall, looks like it was taken way back in the 80’s

  4. Muraed Hughes says:

    That is a great review! I had similar experiences with gigs, security and general gallivanting around. I hadn’t heard of anyone being spiked but that is a lower than low thing to do to anyone!! Thanks for taking the time to record the tunes you did and writing the blog, great to relive it again. Here’s to next year 🙂

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