As the summer draws to a close, this means one thing for Ireland’s live music industry – Electric Picnic. The biggest music festival of the summer, Electric Picnic will draw over 50,000 culture hungry punters to Stradbally for the annual end of summer hooley. The event brands itself as a ‘music and arts festival’ and while many such events claim to fall under the category, the Picnic truly delivers on both fronts. With an extensive programme, full to the brim of genre-spanning music, theatre, spoken word, comedy, visual art, installation and culinary arts – to name but a few – it seems every year we’re given more to see and experience.
With that in mind, we’ve studied the line-up to offer you our guide for the weekend including our picks of the music and non-music activities too.
Jerry Fish has not only curated his own venue within the grounds of the festival, but he has also taken up a residency, seducing festival crowds with his husky voice, charming stage presence and carnival antics year on year. For the most fun you’ll ever have at a live show, don’t miss this!
For anyone who complains about the lack of good rock music these days – stop complaining and start listening to Fangclub and make sure not to miss out on them next weekend. With prominent guitar and a heavy punk sound, Fangclub will no doubt put on a high energy show.
The psychedelic indie-dance trio return to Stradbally this year, after having played the Picnic in 2013. They’ve since released album Every Now and Then, meaning now they’ve even more trippy beats to dance to.
The Waterford duo have made synthy ethereal pop their own, complete with soft vocals and dreamy effects on guitars. With their second album fresh out of the studio, expect to be mesmerised by their distinct sound and immediately want to look them up on Spotify.
The Divine Comedy
Neil Hannon and his ensemble gifted us with more of their whimsical, melodic pop when they released their first album in 6 years, in late 2016. Combining lighthearted silliness and catchy, nostalgic pop, Hannon’s velvet voice may just be the highlight of your weekend.
The Dewaele brothers are returning to Electric Picnic, this time under the moniker of Soulwax with a new album and stage show to present. Complete with a band of drummers, expect a thumping good show combining new material and old classics. Having seen the Belgian rockers twice already this year, I can already say they are my most anticipated act of the weekend.
If you haven’t heard of Saint Sister, then where the hell have you been this year? The duo of Morgan and Gemma create jarringly beautiful music, with a retro, ethereal vibe to it. All that and spine-tingling vocals? Get on it.
Another powerful female fronted act, Bitch Falcon are an enthralling grunge rock band whose live performances are ground shakingly impressive. With distorted, heavy guitar, loud vocals and tight rhythms, expect moshing and lots of it.
The midlands trio responsible for the song of the summer ‘That Good Thing’ have built momentum and take their refreshing hip-hop dance to Stradbally. With what promises to be
Having earned themselves the title of most Shazamed artist in Ireland in March of this year, you know you want to be there when they drop that addictive hook.
Donal Dineen’s This Aint No Disco
Electric Picnic resident Donal Dineen this year is bringing his latest creative project to the stage, combining music with visual art. A nod to his former TV show ‘No Disco’, this aims to nurture conversations about alternative music and creativity. This one’s a bit of a mystery so check it out and don’t miss out on what could be start of something very cool and different.
The British legends will no doubt be the ska highlight of the weekend, so don your sharpest gear and let Suggs and the crew blast out their upbeat pop classics ‘One Step Beyond’, ‘House of Fun’ and ‘Baggy Trousers’.
DJ Yoda Stranger Things AV Set
DJ Yoda is not your average hip-hop DJ. Combining pop culture references, cartoons, video game music and colourful, aesthetic visuals, his Stranger Things set will celebrate the music of 1983 – the year in which the Netflix original is set. Expect the sounds of Jefferson Airplane, Dolly Parton and Joy Division with samples of audio from the show. DO NOT MISS.
Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics
One of the most esteemed dance music curators and DJs, Radio 1’s Pete Tong has collaborated with the Heritage Orchestra – known for experimenting with mainstream music and artists – and is bringing the sounds of Ibiza to Stradbally.
One of Ireland’s staple trad-folk ensembles, Kila encapsulate audiences at live shows with their tight instrumentation, combining traditional music with global influences. The biggest traditional act on the line up, this will be packed, so get there early and ensure your spot close to the front.
Headlining the comedy stage at Electric Picnic this year is British comedian, actor and impressively talented musician Bill Bailey. Known for incorporating music to his stand up shows, the tent will no doubt be overflowing for this one.
Full Moon Party at the Just Eat Retreat
Just Eat have set up camp at the festival for the last few years and this year they’re bring the beach with them. Complete with real sand, palm trees, cocktails and neon paint, the Full Moon Party is bringing the tropics
Theatre of Food
For a culinary escape from the madness of the main stage, and perhaps to ease you and your hangover into the day, check out the Theatre of Food where a bill of Irish and international chefs and foodies will talk about and demonstrate all things edible.
The live event music podcast curated by Lisa Hannigan and Dylan Haskings is all about hosting chats and hearing stories told by their guests. Saint Sister will join Hannigan and Haskings along with several other special guests.
The Science Gallery
Dublin’s Science Gallery sets up camp in Mindfields every year to educate, intrigue and entertain festival goers from children and families to festival veterans alike. This year, computer programming organisation Coder Dojo will be on site to host workshops on coding, gaming and music making.
The Zen Gardens
What better way to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon when none of your favourite acts are on, or you simply wanna relax, than in a hot tub, a seaweed bath or holistic steam room? Nestled in the depths of Body&Soul, in the Zen Gardens, all of these and more are on offer, but be sure to book your spot in advance!
History Ireland Hedge School – Summer of Punk 1977
The year is 1977 and something the kids call ‘punk’ has throttled onto the music scene with bands such as The Sex Pistols singing about the the queen. Meanwhile in Ireland, The Boomtown Rats and Stiff Little Fingers are making waves. Join History Ireland’s editor John Graham in a discussion about the beginnings of punk with special guests.
Introduced to the festival last year and fully manned by lifeguards, the man-made lake on Stradbally estate is open to the festival public for swimming sessions all weekend. Bring your togs and go for a dip in between your favourite acts.
Fishamble’s The Humours of Bandon
The Dublin-based theatre company Fishamble are currently touring their production The Humours of Bandon, developed as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival, stopping off at Mindfield next weekend. The play tells the story of a 16 year old girl and her journey as a committed, competitive Irish dancer. It’s a coming of age tale, for anyone who ever had a passion that threatened to take over their life.