This weekend I went to Ireland’s biggest music festival for the first time ever. It was quite the experience as it was also my first ever weekend camping festival. After attending Longitude for the first time earlier in the summer, I thought I knew what to expect at Electric Picnic. I was very wrong. Longitude is like Funderland, Electric Picnic is like Disneyland, both are extremely fun but Disneyland is magical. It was insane.
I’m going to do a few posts with day by day breakdowns of the festival with little gig reviews and stuff. This one’s going to be more about my weekend in general (if that makes absolutely any sense.)
Overall, I had an absolutely fucking fantastic time at Electric Picnic. Honestly, I was absolutely freaked the week leading up because I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with camping in Ireland. What do I need to pack? What if my tent gets robbed? What if it lashes all weekend and my tent leaks? WHAT IF SOMEONE PISSES ON MY TENT AND IT LEAKS? How will I cope with the hangovers? What if my phone dies and I get lost? What if there’s nowhere to put my tent when we get there (this one was stupid in retrospect seeing as we left Cork at 8 am.) There was a LOT of pre-festival anxiety.
Once we got off the bus and started the treck in, my anxiety faded and the excitement kicked in. The place was BUZZING. We were warned about the walk in from the carpark being long but it really wasn’t that bad, even with our massive rucksacks and backpacks and whatnot. The only concern I had after going in was the fact that the security did not give a fuck when leaving everyone in. With my three big bags, I was just waved in without being so much as patted down. I literally could have snuck anything in without getting so much as a second glance from the security.
We walked through the woods and on to see a sneak preview of some of the areas outside the main arena including the Salty Dog stage and Trenchtown, a small town area made up of shacks and reggae inspired structures and stages. I immediately fell in love.
We moved on to the main campsite and the place was already hopping, some people were setting up, others were moving on to their 6th can of the morning, “nice one bruva!” rung out from end to end. It was beautiful.
I took the smart (lazy) approach to my tent and opted to use ‘Pamper The Camper‘ which is a class service where you buy your tent online and pick it up at the festival so you don’t have to carry it all the way in with you. I went for one of their bundle deals where I got a sleeping bag, pillows, a torch, a bedroll, and a camping chair. It was perfect. I made a mistake tho, I should have found my spot to camp before picking all my stuff up at the stall because carrying them as well as my bags through the rest of the campsite was a nightmare.
We luckily found a nice spot right next to the 24 hour pop-up Tesco (LIFESAVER) in the Andy Warhol site (we were fully convinced we were in Hendrix until Friday night.) We pitched our tents, cracked open some cans and made friends with our neighbours before a man in a purple jacket came over to us all to inform us that we had to move all our tents to make a path for the Tesco queue. This wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the security guys helping us move hadn’t ripped my tent when doing so.
Everyone was slightly disgruntled as they definitely should have had this sorted before they let everyone in. To be fair, it was much worse for the people who had massive 8 person tents that had to be moved! Once this was all sorted, Electric Picnic 2018 could truly begin.
We were luckily left with a small free area between the tents where we could set our chairs and get to know our new neighbours (who were all absolutely sound!). A few drinks in we headed to our first act of the weekend. I’m not going to go too much into the music in this post. I’m going to break it down by day in separate posts to focus on the music aspect of the weekend. I will say that the music throughout the whole weekend was absolutely class (with exception to the 20 minutes of Ben Howard’s set that I caught, he just didn’t do it for me.)
I learned a huge lesson about myself at Electric Picnic this year, I absolutely cannot hack the sesh. On night one I was in bed by 1:30 am, I put this down to being wrecked from traveling and whatnot so said I’d tear the hole off it on the Saturday. I didn’t. I lasted until around half 2 on Saturday and was conked by 1 am on Sunday. I didn’t make it to the Rave in the Woods once. Disaster.
The camping wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The first night sucked a bit because I could literally feel a rave in the distance vibrate through the floor and as much as I wanted to join, I physically couldn’t! My fears of the tent leaking were put to rest after it rained Friday night and my stuff remained dry. I did, however, wake up at one point thinking that it was raining again only to realise that someone was pissing right where my head was outside my tent. I’m forever grateful that it was waterproof.
I woke up early on day 2 because of my crippling inability to sleep past like half 7 in the morning. I decided the take a stroll around all the campsites and scope the place out. It was at this point that I felt relieved that we accidentally pitched our tents in the Warhol campsite instead of the Hendrix one. The place was a war zone. Tents were already after falling apart. I saw one fella literally asleep (at least I hope he was asleep) in a muddy puddle. A couple of vomit rivers and something that I really hope wasn’t human shit on the side of someone’s tent. I also got approached by a young fella wondering if I knew where he could get some Ket, I told him to try literally anywhere on the campsite.
The other campsites seemed chill enough. One had about 12 people sat around a table sipping away on cans at half 7 in the morning. Troopers. I passed a few people on the way around very clearly still in last nights clothes trying to find their tents after a long night. I honestly don’t know how people who didn’t mark where they were pitched found their way back. There were definitely a few sick heads passed me on the path, already defeated by Electric Picnic after night one.
I grabbed an overpriced smoothie on my way back to the tent and stopped in the toilets for a piss (it’s literally so easy to just not do it on someone’s tent.) They had just cleaned them so it was probably the only time I was in the toilets and wasn’t met with the worst smell I’ve ever smelt. By the time I got back the session had already begun so I cracked open an early morning can and started as I meant to go on.
Saturday was a scorcher after we had a bit of rain on the Friday night. I actually got more sunburnt on the Saturday of Electric Picnic than I did in 2 whole weeks in Portugal where it was 46 degrees. I felt cheated but impressed.
Throughout the weekend I didn’t suffer a single morning hangover from a night of drinking. Instead, I suffered evening hangovers from a day of drinking which is much worse. I actually missed a few acts that I really wanted to see because I was so hungover at like 8 o’clock. Sacrifices had to be made in order for me to see the headliners.
The last day was pretty similar to the day before but I felt a lot worse the whole time. I was almost in autopilot mode at this point. We had planned to take it easy on the last day because we had to treck home the day after. We didn’t take it easy. By 2 o’clock we were absolutely hammered jamming out to the lads who made ‘Bad Boys’ before watching the end of Grease at the throwback stage. It was glorious.
The one downer of the Sunday was that it rained quite a bit. I actually missed George Ezra’s set because I was not ready to stand out in the rain to see him, sorry George. Instead, we took shelter in one of the big tents and watched Cigarettes After Sex for a bit – they were shit.
I’m trying to avoid talking about music as much as possible and saving it for the main posts but I just need to mention that Nile Rogers and CHIC put on one of the best performances of the weekend. It was groovy as fuck and literally everyone was having the time of their lives. Once they ended it started to dawn on me that we were nearing the end. It was sad really.
We did a bit more exploring before the Sunday headliners, taking a wander through Body & Soul which I absolutely fell in love with. It was definitely one of the coolest places at Electric Picnic this year. I think it’s tied between Body & Soul and Trenchtown for my favourite place to sit and chill. They were both so vibey.
Okay, I really could talk for days about how amazing my weekend was without even talking about music but it has to stop somewhere. Despite sleeping on the hard ground for 3 nights, I adored every single bit of Electric Picnic. Every area had a bit of magic. From the Pope Mobile at the entrance to the main arena, to the Santa trailer in the Trailer Park area, to the giant UFO that you could have a rave under on the way to the campsites. Every corner of the Electric Picnic site had its own quirks.
We couldn’t even explore the whole place over the weekend. We spotted at least 2 big areas on our way out of the campsite on the Monday that we didn’t even know existed. I reiterate, Electric Picnic is literally Disneyland for music and culture loving adults. It’s filled with magic, good food, great people, and of course, class music from all around the world (we’ll get to that.)
Before I wrap up, I just need to mention our extremely sound neighbours one last time. I’ve never had such a laugh with a group of strangers in my life. Our conversations went from our different music tastes, to our different accents, to notorious criminals and what they’re up to right now, to what we all call different measurements of vodka (that one got heated), to the north/south divide in Ireland to everything else in between. I’ll never forget those moments in our little chair circle by 24 hour Tesco. It was all lovely.
Now, if you’re still reading this, thank you. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever written a post this long! I honestly don’t think I’ll even bother proof-reading it (how to sell your blog posts 101). Keep an eye over the next week or so when I’ll be breaking the music part of the festival down day by day. Don’t worry, none of the posts will be this long. Promise.
Until Next Time,