State is cold and damp and beginning to feel slight fatigue. That all ends about half way through VILLAGERS, who huff, and puff and blow the house down. -Has it stopped raining?’ squints Conor O’Brien, peering out through the Crawdaddy tent at wind and rain and grey. -Oh dear’, he concludes.
-Oh dear’ is right. It hasn’t stopped raining all morning by this stage and people are getting edgy. They are recalling images of Glastonbury, complete with lakes of soupy mud and bodies plastered from head to toe with the stuff. Are we Electric Picnickers in for a similar fate on this final day of proceedings? Surely not. State is delighted that it is in the company of Villagers for these moments of dread, and not, say, Snow Patrol. We emerge from their typically thorough set with vigour and vitality, leaving O’Brien and band to travel on in search of others in need of help.
Because State is so tall, we are the envy of many at the wedged Electric Arena during FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE. We are offered cigarettes, Buckfast and kisses if we agree to lift up small folk so they can cop a look at Florence. They don’t seem too bothered about the Machine, who we suspect may be getting a tad miffed at all the attention she gets. Yes, Electric Picnic’s second most charismatic ginger does seem to go out of her way to get noticed, flailing arms around with expert timing, whipping that mane of copper hair and flashing the odd bit of leg. No one complains, probably because a) she has a harp on stage with her, and b) because the tunes are top. So why is it then that State can’t stop thinking about yer one who sang -Total Eclipse of the Heart’?
Less impressive, or more disappointing, which ever sounds better, is FIONN REGAN who has taken to wearing black tights and a huge pudding bowl hairdo, giving him the appearance of a rotting ink cap mushroom holding a guitar. He’s also gone and got himself a fancy six-piece band and his new stuff sounds like, well, anyone but the Fionn Regan of yore. Country rock, Fionn – not big, not clever.
Do you know who is big and clever though? IRVINE WELSH. Dundrum’s most famous resident gave a suitably depraved reading from his collection of stories entitled If You Liked School, You’ll Love Work. -I don’t do accents, so I’ll just do the one that’s set in Scotland,’ he warned the Literary Tent. So ensues a half hour or so of thuck skawtush phonetic dialogue, occasionally peppered with familiar terms like -cunt’, -fuck’ or -fanny’. You had to really listen to make out what was going on, but I picked up that our protagonist was a jockey from Fife who grew too tall and decided to become a professional stalker of the local mob boss’s daughter. State’s dad was a jockey, but we’re not sure he wants to read Mr Welsh’s anecdote. State, on the other hand’¦
By this stage, State has received an urgent report that the EP carparks are a mess and we are advised to make a move if we are to have any chance of getting home tonight (which we must). We say goodbye to old and new friends slipping and sliding in the unfirm earth, goodbye to those we haven’t been able to check out this year and a big goodbye to a festival that may not ever be as we know it again. A bit like our Fionn.
What happens next is a hilarious litany of disasters that see State walking the length and breath of the region, with heavy gear, in the rain, looking for somewhere called -Carpark V’ that no steward has heard of (-try down there’, suggested one official, pointing off into deepest darkest Laois). Gas.
Photos by Fionn Kidney – Click to see full-size.