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Rain fails to dampen spirits as Picnic party rages on

NewsBy Eddie Rowley
Rain fails to dampen spirits as Picnic party rages on

As he sat around a roaring bonfire under the cover of a majestic old tree in the Body & Soul area at Electric Picnic on Friday night, festival-goer Mick Cauldwell reckoned he had landed on another planet.

The thirtysomething IT worker from  Mayo and his girlfriend Rachel revealed that they are regular picnickers at Stradbally in Co. Laois. 

“No matter how many times you come here it still blows your mind,” Mick says.

“It’s like the ultimate escape from the real world for a few days. The Picnic is its own universe. There is so much going on in every corner, path and woodland that it’s hard to absorb it all. It’s definitely a feast for the senses.”

This year’s festival, which sold out in record time last March before a single act was announced, was expanded to cater for 55,000 fans – and a scan around the sprawling, rain-soaked site yesterday revealed that the crowds span the generations, from grandparents to babies.

The previous evening as the Picnic exploded into life in sunshine with all its colour and glory, young couples could be seen exploring the vast array of entertainment on offer as they transported their young offspring around the area in buggies, wheelbarrows and carts.

Ruth and Rob Scanlon, from Dublin, who were there with their two-and-a-half year old son, are camping in an area exclusive to families. 

“The family camping is brilliant,” Ruth told the Sunday World. “This is the first time we brought our child, but last year having seen that there is so much to entertain children we decided to bring him with us. We’ll see how it goes.”

Out in the amusements area a giant Ferris wheel dominated the skyline and on the ground there were some serious battles going on in the bumping cars arena.

Seven-year-old Oliver Campbell from Dublin was having the time of his life. 

“The rides are the best part,” he said of his Picnic experience.

Oliver’s sister, nine-year-old Lucy, had just watched rapper Nas perform on the main stage on Friday. 

“I liked Nas, he was brilliant,” she said.

“There are billions of people,” Lucy added. “Some people are cuckoo people, but they’re fun.”

A chunk of the festival-goers had entered into the spirit of a weekend of escapism by donning fancy dress outfits, from Batman and Robin to Bugs Bunny and an assortment of devils and angels.

This year’s festival has a new addition – a festival lake where skinny dipping is not prohibited “if people forget their costumes”, festival organiser Melvin Benn said. 

The Heineken Sound Atlas venue is pumping out the unique sounds and fun of Amsterdam – home to some of the best DJs and parties in the world.
Casa Bacardi is also party central at the Picnic, with top-notch DJs including the legendary Nicky Siano, and Tom Cruise bartenders who share tips with the party set.

The various campsites were buzzing like mini-towns, complete with bar and food facilities, and as darkness fell over the Picnic on Friday night an array of parties were in full swing among campers. 

“You’ll find the best music here,” guitar player John Fitzsimons from Donegal told me.

There is music in every corner, tent and caravan around the Picnic, from Body & Soul, Trailerpark and the woods... to the main stage where Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds topped the bill last night.

The Trailer park area is made up of caravans, mobile homes, shipping containers and repurposed vehicles and the American theme includes a home supporting Donald Trump’s bid for the White House with a poster declaring: “Finally someone with balls!” 

One of the highlights of the entire Electric Picnic has to be this afternoon’s Father Ted endorsed Rubbish Song for Europe, in which musicians Neil Hannon and Cathy Davey complete their search for a replacement for My Lovely Horse.

On hand will be most of the clerical cast of the TV show, as well as Eurovision contestants The Swarbriggs, as 15 finalists take to the stage with their compositions.

Meanwhile, an estimated 40,000 flocked to a rain-lashed Aviva Stadium yesterday afternoon to watch Georgia Tech win their first game played outside the

United States as they beat rivals Boston College in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

The downpour created a slippery surface for the players as they took to the field for their opening game of the season.

The stadium erupted as cheerleaders, marching bands and fireworks greeted the teams in a thrilling spectacle.

After renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and Amhrán na bhFiann were played to the crowd the game got underway.

In the end it was freshman Dedrick Mills’s four-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining on the clock that lifted the Yellow Jackets to a 17 to 14 win.