For most of the Friday, I wandered around gaping in awe at the bohemian wonderland that had been set up for punters. Previously, I had scoffed when I heard people claim that 'the vibes' at Electric Picnic were so much better than any of the other summer festivals but, after experiencing The Picnic first hand, I have to concede that this is indeed the case.
What really sets Electric Picnic apart from Oxegen and other such festivals is the attention to detail and the sheer variety of activities on offer. Among the most impressive features were a designated 'Body & Soul' chill-out area; campsites named after Charlie Chaplin, Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol and Oscar Wilde; a cinema, a circus, a theatre and a comedy stage; a wooden structure ceremoniously burned to commemorate victims of suicide and an inflatable church that holds weddings and 'lovely girl' contests.
The acts I saw were:
- Wallis Bird - as mentioned in my previous post, she's won over a new fan.
- New Young Pony Club - a better live act than I would have expected. I'm not sure about their new stuff though.
- Tiga - so disappointing. I expected him to play songs from his 'Sexor' album but he basically just did a DJ set.
- Digitalism - simply boptastic.
- Sigur Rós - ethereal and otherworldly. I was in a bad mood for this set but could still appreciate their awesomeness.
- Super Extra Bonus Party - the people up the front seemed to be having a blast but to schedule this boppin' band at 1pm was a major faux pas methinks.
- Laura Izibor - not really 'my bag' but she has the potential to be Ireland's biggest soul/r'n'b export when she finally gets around to releasing her long-awaited début album early next year.
- Attention Bebe - their xylophone player is my friend Nigel and this gig was an unexpected highlight of my weekend. Covers of awful 90's songs by a big band? Genius.
- Fossett's Circus - especially entertaining viewing whilst drunk.
- Leanne Harte - such an awesome singer and lyricist. It's just such a shame that she doesn't seem to be writing or recording any new material.
- Grace Jones - was half an hour late onstage and the whole costume-change-per-song malarkey is done much better by Róisín Murphy. Over-rated.
- Santogold - highlight of my weekend. Old Santi completely redeemed herself from the 'Santobold' incident in June.
- Lucien Dossier Dancers - their burlesque circus act was right up my alley but possibly not quite as amazing as some people made out.
- Dublin Gospel Choir - sounded great but I missed half their set waiting in a queue for breakfast. Gotsta prioritise sometimes.
- You're Only Massive - the sound was terrible to begin with but their audience participation and endearingly amateur delivery won me over midway through their set.
- Hercules & Love Affair - this was an awesome live performance, the songs were updated from the album and the combination of the live elements (brass, guitar, drums and two singers) and funky electro beats made for an ambient mid-afternoon disco.
- Maeve Higgins - pretty much the exact same material she worked with in Edinburgh but I'll always have a soft spot for auld Maeve.
- Foals - the sound was a bit dodgy in The Crawdaddy Tent all weekend but their artistry and live energy shone through. I preferred them in The Academy in April but that was probably because I wasn't so deliriously tired on that occasion.
- Late of the Pier - they're so young it makes me feel completely inadequate. Another album I will be downloading for sure.
- The Gossip - I just caught 'Standing in the Way of Control' but was very glad that I did.
- Chromeo - another surprise highlight. These guys look like they've walked right out of Blues Brothers (in a good way) and sound like Prince crossed with Daft Punk (also in a good way.)
The only regret I have was that I didn't manage to recover from my Edinburgh hangover a little more because, for large sections of the weekend, I felt like a bit of an over-tired zombie and that I was unable to properly engage with the other Picnic-ers or fully absorb the experience.
One thing's for sure though: I'm dead set on returning to The Picnic next year for more of the same.