Having retreated to my surprisingly habitable tent at 6.00am this morning, well and truly exhausted after the “rave in the woods” I treated myself to a well earned three hour sleep. With the sun beating in on our tent at 9.00am, my roommate and I had little option but to get up, pack up and hit the road after a thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling weekend in Stradbally. A quick nap, a lot food and much needed shower later I find myself sitting here trying to document the weekend and wondering where to start….
Essential to any festival is obviously the lineup, though some attendees will go simply for the experience, the lineup is always the deciding factor in my book. That said, some festivals boasting excellent artists are worth a skip, Oxegen comes to mind. Though the lineup is impressive year in year out, the army of belligerent 16 and 17 year olds are a formidable repellent. Electric Picnic ’09 had a lineup too good to miss and attracted a refreshingly diverse crowd. With an emphasis an the acoustic, indie and electro/dance genres as well as other strands of alternative music one could expect to see all sorts of music lovers donning the wellies, from the families pushing buggies to the lads with the glow-sticks and sunglasses moving to the pace of the strobe lights.
With our tents and gazebo pitched and our stage route planned we set off to see what the Friday acts had in store. After a hugely entertaining performance by the infatuating Lykke Li came my personal highlight of the day, a frantic and energetic showing by Danish outfit Efterklang. Their on-stage exuberance allied with the nature of their orchestral/experimental rock sound really got the crowd going and even those who happened to stumble upon this gem by chance were soon jumping and chanting with the rest of us. Two fantastic electro sets were provided by Fake Blood and Diplo before Seasick Steve and Rodrigo Y Garbriela capped the night off with two memorable performances.
Saturdays festivities, for me began with some old school hip-hop in the form of Roots Manuva before Jape gave an inspiring performance. A massive high point in the weekend was the electrifying display of London electro-rockers The Klaxons, renowned for their on-stage energy and cult following put on a show that really sapped the energy. A personal highlight came in the form of Texas post-rock legends Explosions in the Sky, one of my favourite bands. They didn’t disappoint and played a set with the perfect blend of eerie silence and ear-crunching distortion. The day was capped off with 2 Many DJ’s performing on main stage. The duo threw up some amazing compilations and remixes which ensured the huge crowd was kept dancing from start to finish.
Having seen most of my main attractions in the first two days I was left with a freedom to roam on Sunday and encountered some magnificent live displays most notably from Florence and the Machine and Passion Pit who were for me the surprise package of the weekend. Having listened to their ‘Chunk of Change’ EP a few times I knew what to expect in terms of sound but their stage presence, interaction with the crowd and overall vigour were unparalleled and had the entire crowd bouncing and jumping and screaming for more. With Basement Jaxx and Flaming Lips attracting the masses we opted for something a little different and hit up Erol Alkan. The London based electro-king served a suitably hectic showing to end proceedings with mash ups of New Order, Justice and many more. With reality beckoning at dawn we refused to give up there and waded through the woods to cap the weekend off in a rave of what can only be described as filthy techno. Let’s hope for more of the same next year.