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luke Ryan Writer, co-editor Creative experimentalist Luke Ryan suggested the theme for this zine and commissioned some articles.

philiP barrett Cartoonist Phil did up an incredible six pages of original content, never published before, which is a real treat. blackshapes.com

paddy lynch Illustrator Dublin based comic artist, illustrator, designer, and sometime musician, Patrick did some exclusive illustrations. patrickl.net

richard walshe Photographer Photography enthusiast Richard shares some of his festival photos with us. tinyurl.com/richardw

Claire dunford Writer We managed to drag Claire away from the gigs and festivals for long enough to get her to share her experience of Exit festival.

stephen wall Writer Architect, Green Party representitive and sometime dj, Steve has been waiting for a 90’s themed party for 10 years.

matt gilligan Writer My old mate Gillo was good enough to write a very interesting article chock full of anetcdotes on Woodstock ‘99 for us.

Alan rapple Writer Rapples is a festival stalwart and living embodiment of the festival fit lifestyle. Alan writes about festivals as only Alan can.

alan wall Graphic Designer, Editor Layout, graphics, photography, editing, commissioning articles, chasing down photos, all that fun stuff. waltzerdesign.com

dave kennedy Writer Dave runs Road Records, a cool little music shop across from Hogan’s on Fade Street. roadrecs.com

dave farrell Writer Always up for some music and beer, Dave goes to pretty much every festival that’s on in Ireland.

brian coyle Illustrator After the splendid job he did on the front cover of STAG, our previous zine, I asked Brian to illustrate Luke’s “Midnight Hour.”

All photos by Alan Wall except where indicated by Flickr urls to the Creative Commons licenced file. 2

many DJs

The LINE-UP The Walk of Death


Adventures on Bison


10 Must-See Electric Picnic Bands


The Great Festival Survey


Congratulations, you just survived the walk of death from the car to the tents. You deserve that beer. BY LUKE RYAN

Experimental drinking leads to unexpected events. BY STEPHEN WALL

FESTIVAL Online version

“I wanna do another zine, you wanna write about anything?” So began the e-mail that started it off. Immediately Luke replied “How about a collective of festival experiences as a retrospective?” We outlined our ideas and initially the plan was for Luke to write a couple of articles and I would illustrate them with some of my photos and do up the layout. We would print 30 copies on my home printer and hand them out at Electric Picnic to friends. Our goal was to attempt to put our finger on the excitement and fun of festival-going, try to answer the question of why it’s so enjoyable and why we return year upon year. We attempted to keep a lid on it but pretty soon people started hearing about the project and wanted to contribute. The next thing I knew I had seven writers, two illustrators, a comic artist and a photographer. I was on the phone to printers negotiating rates for printing. I was rapidly running out of space, cutting content, dropping things that didn’t make the grade and editing articles down. In the end, I managed to cram in some great festival experiences for you, cartoons, illustrations, photography and a few fun surprises. Originally we intended it to be a friends only kinda deal, but as more people contributed, the more sense it made to keep it accessible to everyone. Forgive us if you find the odd in-joke popping up here and there! So after all the long months, the e-mails, all the hard work by everyone, I present the FESTIVAL zine, and, well, we hope you enjoy it. If you don’t we’ll give you your money back!

A look at the under-rated and up-and-coming bands you should check out this weekend. BY DAVE KENNEDY

Exploring the festival goer's mind. BY LUKE RYAN

The Festival Law of Averages


Woodstock ’99


I’m Gonna Wait ‘til the Midnight Hour


Festival Photography


Sziget ’03


My First Festival


Exit ’08


Are You Festival Fit?




Not So Happy Mondays


Are you sharing your campsite with a murderer? BY LUKE RYAN

Fear and loathing at a disasterous reunion festival. BY MATTHEW GILLIGAN

Will the midnight dance slot be axed? BY LUKE RYAN

Festival memories through a lens. BY RICHARD WALSHE

Beer for breakfast. BY DAVE FARRELL

Exclusive six-page cartoon strip. BY PHILIP BARRETT

Foreign festival experience on a fortress in a river. BY CLAIRE DUNFORD

Portaloo Time. BY ALAN RAPPLE

Take a break and find out how geeky you are. BY ALAN WALL

It's all over and back to the car. BY LUKE RYAN

Alan Wall – August 2009 Days of music and madness:


the walk of death

Adventures on Bison

luke ryan

Stephen wall



he anticipation of going to a music festival is always quite special. You know you’ll see some of your favourite bands over the weekend. You’re praying for good weather. You get to hang out with your friends for three days and nights in a field somewhere. The week before, you’re scouring your house/shed/ garage for wellies, fold-away chairs, torches and lurid floral shirts. It is an exciting time. E-mails are flashing back and forth with the infamous line-ups for each stage, until somebody manages to get hold of the official artist’s handbook and we know we have the official running order. You hope and pray that the showery spells predicted on the Met Éireann website just about miss the little village of Stradbally. Exciting times. Even the car journey down, tunes pumping out, on the open road, half a breakfast roll scattered around your feet, the arse end of the overloaded car sparking off the tarmac. And then suddenly, bang. You hit the car park. Much further away from the entrance than planned. And your mates are in the red campsite all the way over the other side. And through the

You dare not stop the momentum lest the unwieldy load you are carrying consumes you and buries you in the soft and well-trodden path forest you have to carry your tent, your chair, clothes, sleeping bag and wellies (all poorly strapped to your rucksack) and most importantly a slab of beer and you feel you are being crippled with every step. Your shoulders ache like an Emily Bronté novel and you dearly crave a rest, but you dare not stop the momentum you have built up lest the unwieldy load you are carrying consumes you and buries you in the soft and well-trodden path to the camp site. It is the walk of death and I hate it. Even when you reach the campsite, you still have a tent to put up. And then you wish you had bothered to air it out a few days ago because it hasn’t been looked at since last year, and there’s even a lone sock crusting away inside. But then, after all that, the drive down, the staring at the clouds willing them to fuck right off, trudging the awful walk of death, untangling all the fly ropes and guidelines and desperately blagging spare tent pegs off your neighbours, it’s worth it! Because you can unfold your chair, reach for a can of beer, let the warm air and the wonderful and varied sounds it carries wash over you, sit back, relax in the knowledge that its at least 65 hours and three hangovers until you have to pack up again!

n my excited preparations for my first Picnic, I wondered what volume and manner of alcohol to bring along. Having received some advice from festival pros, including Al’s invaluable and authoritative checklist, I decided to go for some beer for the hazy days and some vodka for the crazy nights. I bumped into my old schoolmate Conor at the off-licence who was there on exactly the same mission. He recommended a new vodka fresh to the Irish market called Bison, from Poland. Sounded good, had a green tint to it and included a blade of grass in the bottle – sufficient for me to take his advice and make the purchase. So next day I’m just heading out the door when a sudden terror of running short of alcohol gripped me. I hastily poured most of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire into a plastic bottle and legged it… Saturday night arrived after a marvellous day of music and cans. It was time to get this thing energetic. I reached deep inside my tent and grabbed the vodka. Mixing it up with a little OJ, I took a swig and thought “this doesn’t taste like normal vodka–that Bison stuff has a funny flavour.” So off I popped and laced into the vodka bottle with gay abandon. Now vodka has always been a good friend of mine – having been with me for some of my best nights, it seldom gives me a hangover. But this time was different, it was almost like getting drunk for the first time, completely novel. I was wandering around in a merry stupor that was new and lots of fun. Stumbling into the Erasure gig I met Brian and Al, who were later to describe my demeanour as “euphoric”! Erasure was the highlight of the festival, due in no small part to my state of absolute and ridiculous inebriation! The night progressed and I found myself in various environments with random people. The film tent appeared, then I was disco dancing like crazy in the saloon tent – great tunes! Eventually I realise I’m at Chemical Brothers with my mate Sara. Despite forlornly hoping for a couple of tracks that never came, the show and the lights were enough to inspire me to turn to Sara and say “You know Sara, our lives are marginally improved by the existence of the Chemical Brothers!” Some pure oxygen followed the gig and then a long queue for pizza, during which Sara and I heroically jumped a few places by taking the ready Margarita that no one wanted! I thought we were heroes, and the night faded out with Bowie going through my head singing… We can be heroes… just for one day!! Next morning I asked Sara what the hell happened last night. “Ah Steve, I had a feeling you might have been absolutely twisted!” Two days later I’m at home unpacking. As I go to pour the contents of the gin bottle back I realise the gin is gone and the vodka is untouched! I’ve always been afraid to have more than a few gins in a row–looks like my fears were unfounded! I got trashed on a bottle of gin at Electric Picnic by mistake!!


10 must-see E.P. bands

dave kennedy Ten up-and-coming or under-rated acts from this weekend’s Electric Picnic line-up. Cap Pas Cap A rather superb new Irish band playing a totally infectious blend of angular punk funk and no-wave noise, they are the type of band that totally rock and will have you shaking your hips at the same time. Dinosaur Jr. Lots of band reforming nowadays but not many of them can claim to be as good as they were twenty years ago. Be prepared to have your eardrums shattered by J Mascis’ screeching guitar solos. Along with J Mascis the band also features the original two members: Lou Barlow [Sebadoh] on bass and Murph on drums. ESG This New York based outfit are seen by many as the originators of the Punk-Funk sound, their influence can be heard with so many bands at present. Having reformed recently they have been causing a real storm with their brand of totally hypnotic grooves. Everybody will remember their cult hit “You’re No Good” from the early 80’s. Four Tet One man and a pile of machines. Kieron Hebdon makes some of the finest laid back electronic sounds around at the moment. Mellow hip hop like beats, sampled guitars and all manner of classic, laid back electronica. A real gentle treat for the ears. Halfset One of the finest outfits around Dublin at the moment, with two rather superb albums to their name. A truly sublime mix of live instruments and electronics to create some kind of electronic tinged post rock sound. Jape Jape is better known to his parents as Richie Egan and this man really knows how to put on live show. Richie is also a member of The Redneck Manifesto. Top quality off-kilter pop sounds with everything from folk to electropop. This man will always put a smile on your face.

Jeffrey Lewis One of the finest singers on the underground anti-folk scene. This man puts on one of the finest live shows you are likely to see. Don’t miss him, just for his animated cartoon live video show. Magnolia Electric Co. One of the finest songwriters to come out of America in the past ten years, Jason Molina has released several albums over the years, both as a solo artist and as Songs Ohia. This show will feature a superbly laid back mix of old-school Americana and rootsy southern rock. Villagers Brand new Dublin based outfit fronted by the very talented Conor O’Brien. Conor is an ex-member of The Immediate and will be backed by all manner of famous names from the Dublin underground. Be prepared for a show that will be both intense and joyous at the same time. Whitest Boy Alive Fronted by former Kings Of Convenience vocalist Erlend Oye. If the live show is anything as good as his recent album “Rules” then this could be the live party of the weekend. Funky house music played by a full live band. Chosen exclusively for Festival Magazine by Dave Kennedy. Dave is the owner of your local independent record shop Road Records. Located next to The Market Bar, Road sells CDs and new and used Vinyl. You won’t find much chart music but you could find the next album you’ll fall in love with instead. I buy most of my vinyl here and am always pleased with Dave’s recommendations—Alan

STATSHOT A look at the numbers that shape your world WHAT ARE WE KEEPING TO REMIND US OF THE ELECTRIC PICNIC WEEKEND? • Sweaty ticket stub • Lanyard found on ground • Grass stuck in bumper from carpark • Scar above eye • Band T-shirt • Case of unopened beer • Baby • 500 digital photos • Weird itch in groin • Criminal record • Hangover

Years since Orbital played Ireland:


the great festival survey

luke ryan


was really sorry that I didn’t see The Killers at Oxegen” – Alan Wall, Oxegen, 2005 However, he was at The Killers, with me, a little bit out of it, me thinks – Elaine Wall, by e-mail, 2009 Hazy memories I think we have all been in a similar position, whether at Oxegen, Electric Picnic or whatever festival you may have been to over the years. There are always bands you missed, bands you forgot you saw, and bands you try to forget seeing. As the years go by, individual memories from different events form into a sort of collective festival memory where it can be difficult to remember the year Green Day rocked Oxegen or Beastie Boys stormed the Electric Arena. For those particular details, I have Wikipedia to refer to, but for all the glorious, and sometimes hazy festival memories that will live long in our hearts and minds, I have you, the festival going public to remind me. So this story is for you, the people who passed me a plate of sausages on a Sunday morning when my aching body sorely needed it. The people who jumped and cheered with me at the Super Furry Animals, the people who will always remain festival fit no matter what.

The Electric Picnic, why do we do it? For all the rubbish about weather and toilets and so on, we know why we come here, and if you are reading this then chances are you are sitting at Electric Picnic 2009, gearing up and getting excited for the weekend ahead. In 2005 I got to see Arcade Fire’s debut Irish performance, and by God what an absolute corker it was. Later that evening, The Flaming Lips delivered an awesome set including a wonderful rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, and to be honest, I can’t think of a single band alive I would rather see perform that song, except maybe Queen! The year after that, myself and Rapples stood out in front of the main stage with 20,000 loved up revellers for an intense show by Groove Armada. When I think back to hearing ‘At The River’ drifting over all of us, stood with Rapple, arms around shoulders and at that moment in time, all the shite in life: work, public transport, taxes, your old dear nagging at you, none of that matters. I think that’s why we do it. Because regardless of what is going on back in the real world, for three days, we decamp to the country, crack open a beer, turn up the volume and lift ourselves above all the shite. And for all the non-believers who can’t see the beauty of the Electric Picnic, enjoy your empty nightclubs tomorrow night because all the cool kids will be ripping it up at Orbital.

Regardless of what is going on back in the real world, for three days we decamp to the country, crack open a beer, turn up the volume and lift ourselves above all the shite.


Favourite Festival Extra-Curricular Entertainment Based on the small survey I compiled for this article, Claire said the Pussy Parlour was the best extra-curricular activity. Claire says, “glad you all got to experience some pasty Farrell chest.” Apparently Farrell Chest was the cool kid’s new designer drug of choice last year. If you lick Farrell Chest you start to imagine that you have hooves and have an overwhelming urge to charge headfirst at other men before making frequent inappropriate comments at women you don’t know.

A further example of a classic Waltzerism was sent by Triona: It was something Niall (aka Rip Van Winkle) said when he woke up after sleeping right through two days of Oxygen: “Awh did I miss them? I really wanted to see them.” Wall chirped in with “Miss them? – you missed the whole fucking festival.” And then there was Oxegen 2005, which through the fire and the flames developed its very own catchphrase courtesy of The Simpsons. It served as an answer to every questions, a punch line to every joke and an explanation for all the bad behaviour! ‘You’re a strange fellow Skinner, but you steam a good ham’! What festival songs encapsulate the whole festival experience for everybody?

Elaine said her favourite is the big wheel, which truth be told, offers you a fantastic vista of the whole festival. Though saying that, when Mirka talked me into going up on it two years ago, I was paralysed with fear on account of the vertigo. The wind shaking the pod didn’t make things better for a beer and burger filled belly, yet I couldn’t not look as I figured “sure I came this far, would be a shame to waste it.” Louise’s favourite was the comedy, which I would most definitely agree with, though there has been one particularly talented comedian they have largely ignored over the years. But it’s one of the great ways the Electric Picnic deviates from Oxegen, the diverse nature of entertainment on offer (for further proof, I also give you Farrell Chest!) Rapples left that one blank which was no surprise because he rarely is vertical enough before 8 p.m. to actually see any of that stuff. To be honest I would be surprised if he has ever actually seen any of the concert area in daylight. A few memorable quotes Rapples reached for the black marker saying that he had to make his face “more interesting” before adding comical glasses and a big elaborate moustache. The strangest thing about this was the cop who waved goodbye to him when he left late on the Sunday night and didn’t even think to breathalyse him. Brian popped up with this little gem. While we all know Waltzer as the guy who enjoys an early night at festivals, I think this comment perfectly demonstrates Waltzer’s irreverent attitude when he is awake: Brian: “No Waltzer, I’m trying to avoid her!!” Waltzer: “brian coyle, brian coyle is here, brian coyle!” Brian: “Fuck...”

It seems almost freakish because as I started typing this very paragraph, Bingo Bango by Basement Jaxx came on my MP3 player. I have it down as my number one festival tune, something that goes all the way back to the Sunday night of my first ever festival when they played a stormer on the second stage at Witnness. And will no doubt do so again at some stage this weekend! Claire said ‘Push the Button’ by the Chemical Brothers who proved popular as Waltzer said ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’ and Mirka also went with the Chemicals but couldn’t remember which one! Rapples said ‘Do You Realize?’ by the Flaming Lips, which would be a very close second for me after their stunning performance a few years ago, so don’t miss them this weekend whatever you do! The Best Bands And it’s not just about spending six months eagerly anticipating the ‘must see’ bands of any particular festival, and by God there have been plenty of them. On the same evening in 2007 The Go! Team followed by The Beastie Boys both blazed up a storm in the Electric Arena, as thousands of sweaty, heaving bodies writhed gleefully to the thunderous cacophony of musical excellence. Later that night the Chemical Brothers did the exact same on the Main Stage. lcd Soundsystem, Fatboy Slim, Goldfrapp, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Underworld have all produced some tremendous displays throughout the glorious history of the Electric Picnic. But there have also been some bands that people have stumbled upon accidentally over the years, both at the Picnic and at Oxegen, much to their delight. The Roots, the Flaming Lips, Vampire Weekend, Santagold, Pet Shop Boys and Alabama 3 have all provided some surprise enjoyment to some of you over the years, and no doubt boosted their record sales in the process. Steve didn’t list any pleasant surprises from his festival experience but then as we all know, the pleasant surprise usually belongs to the girl he is creeping up on!

'More Tunes' requested:


Campsite Moments

Campsite moments also provide some of the best memories of festival life. Who can forget Oxegen 2005 and Matt’s 30th birthday? He threw a substance-induced strop and flung his cream cake. It landed outside my tent where it sat rotting in the scorching sunlight for the next few days. Or which seasoned festival-goer said that his worst campsite moment was deciding that his tent should have an ensuite? Triona has this to say, ‘One word – portaloos. For both Waltzer and I, special mention has to go out to Steve for his perennial and consistently excellent festival breakfasts. At the time of writing he was adamant that this tradition would no longer continue. If by the time of reading, he still holds that view, I urge all of you to unite and petition his good nature to continue this very life blood of

Matt threw a substance-induced strop and flung his cream cake. It landed outside my tent where is sat rotting in the scorching sunlight for the next few days. festival life. An Electric Picnic without having a good old munch on Stephen’s sausage would be like a festival where Waltzer stays up all night, where Rapples actually arrives on time to put his own tent up and where Triona doesn’t spend the morning putting make up on. Is that what you want Stephen, is it? Quite a few of you listed the toilets and the cold mornings as your worst campsite moments. By ‘quite a few of you’ I mean four girls and Waltzer. Suck it up! Brian’s best random person moment on the campsite was swapping his ten-euro timetable for five euro and a snog. Say what you want but I think we can all learn something from Glasgow economics! Food Festival fare has previously come in for a lot of criticism over the years, especially at Oxegen, but as Electric Picnic developed, the general consensus seemed to be that it was a vast improvement on its rival, both in terms of taste, variety and the likelihood of it ending up down the back of some random dude, who, incidently, was very cool about it! Most were complimentary of the food at the Picnic, but for Rapples, one word sums it all up


weeks until next year's tickets go on sale!

and that word is “rank.” But in fairness would you really trust the testimony from a man who probably scorched his taste buds away long ago, and probably smoked them afterwards! What would you like to see at the festival? The good folk who run the Picnic always seem to stay a step ahead of the rest when it comes to the quirky and interesting things at festivals. It was at the Picnic where we first experienced the Silent Disco concept, not to mention the excellent Body and Soul area and the Comedy tent. Some suggestions included more burlesque shows, though I think that poor burlesque dancer girl got quite a shock last year. After mauling Dave and stripping him half naked, I don’t think she was in any way prepared for the entrance of “Young Nasty Man” and all the sleazy evil he espouses. A priceless look of fear passed across her face as she set eyes upon ‘that man’ her Home Economics teacher would have warned her about! Triona said she would like somebody to carry all her stuff to her already-standing tent. Triona, I think his name is Killian. Brian came up with the most excellent idea, a guitar hero stage. Can you imagine that, 15,000 guys all standing around playing virtual guitar while angry disgruntled girlfriends nag and tug on their arms to go see the petting zoo, while secretly wishing there was a Sex and the City area, or even a bitch and moan arena! Dave said he would like to see ‘All you can eat for €5.99’. Maybe you should check out your brother’s en-suite! Ah, the memories Festivals in general, but in particular the Electric Picnic, have provided us with memories to beat the band (excuse the awful pun). Some of them were good times, some of them were great times and some of them required a 50 degree deep soak to get rid of the mess. The very first year of Electric Picnic was a glorious shambles in terms of organisation. It showed promise alright, which I think it has most definitely capitalised on over the years, but at the start there were very few toilets. Luckily Rapples was suffering from a knee injury sustained through a moment of traffic cone robbing idiocy. Taking advantage of his crutches, each of us would borrow them to use the disabled toilets. We took great pleasure in telling whatever attendant security guard the elaborate story of how the injury was sustained. It got a little bit dodgy though as the beer set in, security guard rotas began repeating and I couldn’t remember was that the guard who thought I popped my knee out when I was through on goal to score the extra time winner (the ball still rolled into the net to clinch the game!) or was he told about my daring escapades on government business that involved bravery, courage and sleazing on very many beautiful women (half true, I do work for the government!) Or how about when I arrived on Saturday morning of year two only to have Rapples and Brian telling me that the night before Jane had indecently propositioned the two of them back to her and Mark’s tent. Even more curious was that as Jane

stood there blushing, Mark stood along side looking curiously creepy and wistful, as if he had put Jane up to the suggestion in the first place. There was something mentioned in the ensuing debate about having enough holes for all of you but I think that’s probably best left unexplored for now! Later that night after Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips and Fatboy Slim had wowed us all, Brian went one better and produced an enormous inflated ball from his tent which he had acquired from the Flaming Lips gig and carried it all the way back to the tent before promply forgetting all about it. I fell in love with that ball that night. On the crazy randomness of festival experiences So far at festivals over the years I have seen More Shoulder, Johnny Rotten’s pasty white arse, a man wrap a tent around himself and take a shit in it, teenagers passed out by 3 p.m. on the Friday (it’s a long weekend, son), Waltzer passed out by

The night before Jane had indecently propositioned the two lads back to her and Mark’s tent. 6 p.m. on the Friday, Waltzer back up and lively by 7p.m. on the Friday, a man standing 5 metres in front of the speakers at a rollicking Groove Armada, wearing ear plugs and nodding off to sleep. I saw Rapples finally crash before the rest of us (fair play it was half six in the morning) and we wrote the end on his hand. I experienced the shock as Kristin and ocd Jen produced hummus, olives and focaccia bread at Oxegen, me vomit all over a stranger who was cool about it because he had moved in front of us due to the fact that he had just vomited on somebody else. I witnessed my pale white vomit-greased sweaty upper body on display to the world while I danced up a storm

with Rapples, Waltzer dressed up as the dude from Green Day, Niall sleep through an entire Saturday night, Triona hanging out of her tent putting on her makeup, Farrell ass-crack during the making of breakfast (more rashers anyone), the introduction of women’s piss bags by Mirka and Louise (and finding said piss bags in the porch of the tent beside my beer), the misery of it pissing rain all day, the beauty of it scorching hot all day, incredibly hot women in tight revealing clothing, incredibly ugly women in tight, revealing clothing, big lumps of men from the country in their mother’s clothing, the obligatory dude passed out in a wheelbarrow, Stephen’s tent with a pair of his ‘classic’ boxers as a flag to a Jordan size bra for a flag, to a thundering pair of huge granny knickers for a flag (I still didn’t get them back, Ste), weird hats, wonderful music, zany wigs, lurid wellies, hilarious t-shirts, mingin’ toilets, the brightest stars, the loneliest souls, the Stars and Bars baby, the scream and shouts and the whoops of delight, Brian doing push-ups for the ladies and a million and one other things in between that you will never see in your local boozer or in Temple Bar or at your work night out. It’s all these things which make you realise just how the Electric Picnic, and festivals in general, can lift you up above all the shite of normal everyday life. Whether it makes you feel like the king or queen of the world, a filthy scoundrel or a rabid animal, it will always make you feel special, so to all the festivals I have been to and all the great bands I have seen, and most importantly to all the fantastic people I have spent these times with, I thank each and every one of you and wish you a most excellent and savage Electric Picnic 2009. I asked you all what your top 5 bands would be to play on your very own ‘my stage’ and we have created a very unique ‘fantasy fest ’ where all the bands you wanted to see will play for our very own enjoyment. Check out the advert in this magazine!—Luke



the festival law of averages

luke ryan I

was somewhat maligned at Electric Picnic 2008 for initially broaching this subject on a bright and breezy Saturday afternoon whilst sat supping beers and taking in the festival sounds. I admit that the subject matter wouldn’t necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea. However it was my own personal obsession with people’s motivation and drive, and the dark secrets that lurk behind friendly exteriors that prompted me to bring it up on that Saturday afternoon. It is also the same obsession that has caused me to commit my irreverent thoughts to paper on the subject I like to refer to as the Festival Law of Averages. It started with the following hypothesis: Given the law of averages, and that there is about 35,000 people at this festival, at least one has committed murder. Immediately people were very sceptical of this. Some accepted that there may be a person guilty of manslaughter at the festival, but not murder. However, that wasn’t good enough for me because I was only concerned with cold-blooded murder. It was hypothesised that if the person had committed murder wouldn’t he or she be incarcerated? This led me to think that not only was there at least one murderer attending the festival, they also got away with it. A few people then wondered if I was the murderer, a quite ridiculous suggestion. Ridiculous, not because I am a mentally stable and well balanced individual, (those that know me would openly disagree with that sentiment) but, despite whatever cerebral shortcomings I may have, I am not stupid. Well, not stupid enough to raise such a hypothesis if I was in fact said murderer. Unless of course I am also getting into reverse psychology, but let’s not make it too confusing!

The following equation should be run in order to statistically find out the likelihood of a murderer being at a festival near you this summer! Irish Population divided by the number of Irish Murders equals the number of murders per Irish person per year. Compare that figure with the number of people attending the Picnic and you get the following: Year

Murders per person

EP Attendance










Therefore it can be seen that I have been proven wrong. With the rising level of attendance at the Picnic each year, which I would expect to level out at approximately 40,000, combined with an expected stagnation in population growth and the rising number of murders each year, it would seem reasonable to expect that by 2011 my hypothesis would prove correct. That said, if I had brought the subject up at Oxegen last summer instead, what with its annual attendance of 80,000 people (and a significantly higher level of scumbags), there would have been statistically almost two murderers present. Although the American government in power at the time would probably argue that they were probably on stage when Rage Against the Machine were playing their incendiary set! Other Festival law of average musings I contemplated might not be as easily tested due to a difficulty obtaining relevant statistical information, but are certainly worth further debate: At least one person at the Electric Picnic has: • Secretly hoped that Westlife would play one year • Masturbated in one of the portaloos • Slept with a sibling • Is from Leitrim (unlikely I know) Well you see where this is going so best end the list here!

I thought it might be worthwhile checking on the realistic likelihood of my initial hypothesis. In that regard, and given the availability of current figures, I propose the following:

Patrick Lynch


EP Attendance

Recorded Murders

Irish Population













Now unfortunately it is not possible to get exact figures but all estimates are conservative and are deliberately estimated to actually try disproving my hypothesis. Spinal Tap's amp goes up to:



matthew gilligan It was the middle of a mad J1 summer on the east coast of the USA. Myself and a cohort headed stateside for a summer of excess and debauchery. We had, after a few hiccups, resided ourselves in a little holiday town on the Jersey Shore called Belmar. I had been talking to some of the crew back home and poo-pooed their ability to organise a trip over to visit us. Fast forward about a month later and there’s an abrupt knock on the side door of our cramped little flat. I had been just settling down on my luxury mattress on the floor of our kitchen-cumdining area to catch a few well-needed Zs. ‘Who the hell is that’? I thought as the door opened without any invitation! Well, who walks in but two grinning heads, ‘U-Turn Kelly’ and ‘The Navigator,’ clasping a humongous bag of weed. “How the hell did you find me?” I asked. But before this information was divulged the cursory question was asked: “can we roll up?” Turns out I had given them some fairly sketchy directions as to our location and they had spent the whole day annoying the locals, knocking on many doors before arriving at my back door. The final clincher that they had found me was an orange striped addidas tracksuit hanging on the line, what are the odds? After being talked out of going to work the following day (after an already dodgy drinkfuelled hiatus of three days), ‘Blackman’ had been perusing the local papers and spotted a small ad for ‘Woodstock ‘99’. My argument for rejoining the workforce at Six Flags was, in no uncertain terms, blown out of the water by the kind of emotional blackmail and peer pressure that only a group of marauding Paddys on tour could muster. So we rounded up the posse, incorporating the two chicks living with me into our motley crew. The other members included ‘A-Guy’, ‘Neanderthal man’, ‘U-Turn Kelly’ and ‘Welly’. These are all aliases for actual people but some live a somewhat more respectable life these day (and some don’t…). Hazy from the grog the night before we packed ourselves, some vital cds, a map and a few blankets into a rented Chevy Astro. How apt I thought, that we were making this pilgrimage to this most revered of festivals in a wagon called ‘Astro’. We headed northbound on to the New Jersey turnpike, the new Chili’s album ‘Californication’ pumping the stereo. In our calculations we had predicted a possible six-hour jaunt on the freeway. What was not calculated was the numerous differing of opinions over directions between U-Turn Kelly and The Navigator. I presume you can tell from their aliases why it took nine hours… you see there was fundamental disagreements as to where the actual location was. It was not, as we had presumed, on the original site of Woodstock, but many miles away at the top of New York state in an old air force base called 12

Griffiss located near a town called Rome. Oh, I neglected to admit that I was partly to blame for the late arrival, the hangover I was battling was not conducive to travelling in a van of looneys who insisted on offering me a gag-inducing combination of reefer and crisps. Due to this and other outside influences – notably the many u-turns Kelly subjected the Astro to, poor sickboy had to crouch by the door jumping out at intervals, ‘A-team’ style, to spew on the rumble strips. This attracted unwanted attention of the siren waling kind, cue more delays... So after initially heading for the town of Woodstock we eventually made it to Rome where we stocked up on that most important festival supplement, beer. All set now we rolled into

The crowd seemed pretty rowdy. Rage Against The Machine had decided to burn the flag. Always a good way to get the party started. the site, the car park turned out to be the rolling hills just on the verge of a massive concrete slab that was Griffiss airbase. We departed the Astromobile with cold beers and a great urgency to dive straight in to whatever madness was going on. The familiar sound of Rage Against The Machine was blasting out from the main stage. The crowd seemed pretty rowdy and we found out why, ratm had decided to burn the flag, always a great way to get the party started! So, a couple of bevs lighter, priorities kicked in – tickets and the lack thereof. After a bit of reconnaissance and information gathering (this involved subjecting the unsuspecting yanks to that heavy Dublish brogue) we had a bag o’ weed and the hope of tickets on sale by the main entrance. Gathering the troops and packing supplies (cigs, beer and dollar) we hightailed to the entrance. Upon arriving there we realised that this wasn’t the most organised of events, parts of the main twelve-foot wooden fencing were torn down already, with some security types trying to stop the opportunists. While we were assessing our next step a couple of dodgy hippy dudes sitting

I turned and watched a familiar pair of legs scramble under the broken fence like they were escaping jail time. atop the fence called out to us offering us wrist bands for $20. Well this seemed worth the risk of losing a few bucks (face value was $250), we didn’t even negotiate, and the bands were passed down in good faith. Meanwhile two of the crew were on another mind; I turned to my left and watched a familiar pair of legs scramble under the broken fence. A-Guy and Neanderthal Man disappeared like they were escaping jail time! So after we all managed to get in one way or another, next step on the list was the need for some chemicals to get down with rest of this freaky crowd. We made a beeline to the Alternative Stage where Chemical Brothers were due on; it seemed the most

appropriate spot for narc hunting. Along the way we stopped everyone and pleaded for charity but to no avail. We arrived at the stage with not a whiff of pharmaceuticals. We were just on the verge of getting very concerned that we would be spending the weekend knitting, when The Navigator called us back to him. Now this I always find funny, in our excited effort we had asked everyone but the bare-chested guy that had ‘I’ve got X’ scrawled on his back. Supplies in hand, we headed to The Chemical Brothers. We bopped around in the crowd and as the sun went down we immersed ourselves in that infectious festival energy. Fatboy Slim was next on the hit list and like The Chemical Brothers he played a storming set. My lasting memory of that was myself and Welly having a seriously funny conversation about that fact that ufos were definitely landing on the roof of the stage and we were jumping up to touch them. We partied into the night and somehow all managed to navigate back to the Astro. It was fairly roasters for the whole time at Woodstock, so not too much sleep was had with nine of us crawling all over each other in the wagon. Eventually some people decided to sleep on blankets on the grass. This is where the festival nearly ended for a certain individual. U-Turn Kelly was drooling on his blanket in the baking morning sun when all of a suddenly a shriek from Blackman awoke everyone in the vicinity. We all looked around for the cause of the alarm. Hovering right over U-Turn Kelly was a massive pickup truck. With the screams of Blackman we eventually realised that U-Turn Kelly’s head was on the verge of being turned into road kill. After what seemed like an age of screaming, the guy in pickup realised what was going on and stopped his off-road tyre right against U-turn’s head, who awoke extremely freaked and rolled out of there. With much shouting directed at the driver, U-turn stood up with tyre marks on the side of his mush! The pickup driver continued reversing out, threw his head out the window, uttered the never-to-beforgotten words “Sorry dude” and promptly disappeared through the labyrinth of cars. Just about over the shock of one of us nearly losing his head, I accompanied U-Turn over to the main fence where he had the good fortune to procure enough hash from a security dude to calm his feathered nerves. One much needed spliff lit, we sat in forty degree heat and discussed some of the mad people we’d seen the previous day. My favourite was the naked guy with a shell of a TV on his head! A-Guy revealed the good news in that morning that U-Turn Kelly and Neanderthal man had established contact with a reveller who had much acid tabs to spare! While we prepared for another day of madness we met some guys in the car park who were convinced that the Rolling Stones were gonna play, one of them had jumped the gun and quit his job in hope of seeing the legends, I thought about this silly soul

later on when there was no sign of the band. And so the paper acid was torn like little stamps and dished out while we talked of the original Woodstock. There’s a famous piece of footage of a stage announcer telling the crowd that there was bad acid going around, “stay away from the brown acid” he warned. Maybe we needed some friendly advice like that! On the way in we realised that a lot of the entrance was flooded and we would have to negotiate a bit of a mud pool if we were to go any further (I read later this was due to people annoyed at the expense of water bottles and the queues to get tap water that they broke the pipes to get at it, yes, people were in a rebellious mood). The Navigator refused to sludge through the mud and headed off a different direction with a lot of our contraband beers, much to the annoyance of some of the early morning boozers. (They wouldn’t let you in with any liquids at all!) Most of us stayed in a group and got significantly higher with each hour. As high as we were it didn’t stop us noticing a hippy lady selling something to some people around her... what could it be? We investigated and within a minute we were all licking drops of liquid acid from between our thumbs and forefingers. As if we didn’t already have enough pharmaceuticals in our bodies to power Springfield, I decided I was being short-changed and demanded another drop of it. Hmmmm... that’s where it all gets grade-A hazy. Did I see much music that day? Well I would be lying if told you the music was great, but I must admit that there was certainly a psychedelic circus going on in my head. When I was eventually coaxed back to the van through the now vibrating cars and grass hills (my head was in different place to my body) we found everyone sitting on the grass in a semi-circle smoking another kinda grass that the Navigator had purchased in the hippy commune he’d spent most of the day wandering through. Everyone was vigorously inhaling copious amounts of ganja trying to come down, but this acid was so strong the weed was only curbing the madness resonating off the gang. I must admit I was the poster boy for what you turn into after swallowing a

I was the poster boy for what you turn into after swallowing a head swimming amount of LSD.

head swimming amount of LSD. I decided to take up residency atop the Astromobile and persecute Neanderthal Man and The Navigator for all it was worth. The talk of it being a rental van, deposit and so on fell completely on acid burnt ears as I scrambled from side to side swinging my head down to garble all kinds of abusive nonsense at the occupants. I have heard the words ‘demented monkey’ referred to quite a few times. I think I camped there till morning and there doesn’t seem to have been much shut-eye that night either. The next day, for the sake of our combined sanity, we took it little bit easier. Inside we wandered around from area to area. Now this place was huge, with long walks between stages which took so long to get around that we actually missed most of the bands we were trying to see. A big event that day was the imminent storm. From the pa came warnings that a massive thunderstorm was headed right for the site. Us in our infinite wisdom just watched all these people scarper about like it was the end of the world. I remember Creed were playing in one of the hangers and we were obviously so drunk or out of it that we entertained ourselves by kicking a huge melon around the Miles from car to campsite:


ground (waiting for the world to end). It turned out the storm missed us by a couple of miles and we just got these crazy winds which blew litter all over the runways. It did however light up the whole sky and added to the palpable madness of the festival.

By this stage some of the space cadets had enough of trekking through the car park, the mudflats and never ending concrete runways. I, on the other hand, was not finished my Woodstock odyssey and persuaded U-Turn Kelly that we had to finish out the festival with a bang and go back in to see the Chillies. While we were on the way in we noticed this charity group giving out peace candles, we thought nothing of it. There was not much left of the fencing with the mob blatantly ripping off car-door-sized chunks as souvenirs. We left them to it and got a great position on a hill as the band ripped into their hits. The new album was going down great with the crowd, people were balancing on that fine line of being jaded from much indulgement and the realisation that the end of this seminal festival was imminent. As the crowd bounced in harmony to the energy firing out from the enthusiastic lunatics on stage I was aware of a commotion behind me. This dude was out cold and emergency staff were trying to revive him with little results. I became engrossed in this real time ‘ER’ drama along with the surrounding group. Suddenly there was movement and the guy awoke to the vision of fifty strangers staring down on him. As if that wasn’t enough for him to deal with, the strangers burst into choruses of “welcome back to Woodstock man!” The guy just got up and staggered through the chanting crowd. I turned to U-Turn and said “did you see that dude being resurrected?” He looked at me like I was making the whole thing up!

About this time some of the crew wanted to go back to the Astromobile for re-supply, but who had the keys? After much discussion we found out that the girls had been selected as the most reliable peeps to mind the keys. But where were they? I certainly didn’t know and this was before mobile phones… After much consternation and heated debate nothing was solved. Some of us weren’t bothered and headed off around the grounds for a buzz. Eventually we met up with the others who had finally (after about six hours of looking) found the girls and the keys. As we made our way back we realised that so much more of the fencing was torn down and the place was teeming with people now, it was still swelteringly hot, everyone was grilled and frazzled-looking from the overwhelming combination of sun, loud music, drugs and alcohol. Someone told us there were about two hundred thousand people on site! Back at the van there was some seriously melted shells, some people had had their fill of craziness. As myself and A-Guy sat in the front seats of the Astro getting a conveyor belt of joints going we had an unexpected visitor. This mad oul’ wan came out nowhere and stuck her head in A-Guy’s window. This crazy woman scared the crap out of him as she launched into this spiel about how she’d lost her kids. I leaned forward to get a closer look and realised she was about sixty and had the look of serious bewilderment about her. She was a ridiculous sight, dressed in sixties hippy gear clutching a broken-off piece of the ‘Woodstock’ fence. Maybe she’d lost her kids back at the original festival cos she’d certainly lost her mind at this one.


minutes and 37 seconds of Rapper's Delight!

The Chili’s set was about halfway through when people began noticing fires in the distance. At first it was just a few and then it was quite a lot. At this point U-Turn realised that the drugs had just depleted his sense of rationality and it was time to depart the madness that that was brewing in the humid July sky. I stayed to see Jimi Hendrix on the big screen playing that great solo of Star Spangled Banner. I couldn’t decide whether it was ironic that as the sixties icon jammed the national anthem, a little portion of the country was burning itself into a riot. This was helped in no small part by the aforementioned peace candles. These, in the hands of an unruly mob which had infiltrated the site from all angles, were being used to burn everything in sight (including a speaker tower). I think this was my cue to depart. The next day we awoke to the overpowering smell of burning. We went inside to survey the damage, it was carnage. All the food trucks had been set alight and tipped over during the night, everything in sight had been burned and the place looked like a rubbish dump. The party was definitely over and we decided

We woke to the overpowering smell of burning. It was carnage, everything in sight had been burned. that it was time to get outta dodge. The only person holding a full licence was U-Turn so he was the designated driver for the whole trip. I really felt for him as we all clambered back into the Astro, he had pretty much no sleep for the festival and now had to transport this bedraggled gang back to New Jersey. After his tenth time to hit the rumble strips, fearing for the safety of everyone on the road we made him pull over to kip for a few hours. Eventually we got back and it all seemed like a dream. It was a surreal few days of American madness and definitely the funniest road trippin’ festival we ever had!

LUKE RYAN I'm gonna wait 'Til the Midnight hour hen the Electric Picnic entered its second year it quickly established itself as one of the most renowned festivals in Ireland in terms of quality and innovation. Particularly the midnight to 2 a.m. slot on Saturday’s Main Stage. One of the world’s leading dance acts plays a monster set to those who are still not partied out. It’s usually a clear and mild summer evening and the artists always seem really up for it. I spend most of the year in trepid anticipation of who is going to play. However in 2005, the midnight slot became somewhat tainted and its continuation may be jeopardised... Electric Picnic, Saturday night, 2005. The Flaming Lips had just departed after a stunning set, which featured an awesome cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. Earlier on Goldfrapp, Arcade Fire and Royksopp had all rocked the Electric Arena. Fatboy Slim had a lot to live up to. The first artist to grace the Main Stage at midnight, he laid down some absolutely storming tunes. The night was magnificent, warm but not stuffy, a gentle breeze and healthy serving of feel-good vibes swirled around. Next year saw Groove Armada play one of the best sets I have seen from them. Aside from thundering renditions of ‘I See You Baby’ and ‘Madder’, it was when the first strains of ‘At The River’ drifted lazily over the expectant crowd that you realised the beauty of standing in a field in County Laois in the middle of the night listening to great music. The next midnight act lined up was The Chemical Brothers, who had a magnificent visual show to accompany a set of some of the finest dance tunes of the last decade. Unfortunately at about 1.15 a.m. things took a turn for the worst when, from the back of the crowd, ambulance sirens rang out in the night sky. Suddenly the music stopped, and with it, the atmosphere. As the ambulance made its way to the stage, a massive event of Chinese Whispers broke out. Once the ambulance exited the arena The Chemical Brothers resumed their set and we all started dancing again, our feet that little bit heavier, the lights not glowing quite as brightly. Reality had knocked on the door of the Midnight Club and marched right in, uninvited.

people cannot but have had a negative impact on those involved.

Brian Coyle


Soon the midnight set gained a reputation for attracting people who were on drugs and looking to dance the night away. If people want to take drugs and dance to music, they will find somewhere to do it, whether it’s the main stage or at the back of a Mondeo in the car park. So I don’t think this should have any effect on the choice of artist for the midnight set or the attitude of the promoters to that particular slot. Unfortunately, is has. In 2008, Underworld were one of the first acts announced for the Electric Picnic. Being one of the seminal dance acts over the last 15 years, it seemed a certainty that on midnight that Saturday, thousands of people would stand in a field hoarsely shouting Lager, Lager, Lager! Not so it seems, for shortly before the event, Underworld were scheduled to play the Electric Arena, a tent with nowhere near the capacity for the legions of fans waiting to hear the epic Rez being belted out.

Later that night, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars took to the main stage at the bewitching hours for a lamentable two hours of low-energy music that never took hold of the crowd or produced the same excitement of Mr. Slim et al. Now in this intrepid reporter’s opinion, the organisers were worried about the midnight slot getting a bad name in light of a death, which many assumed was due to drugs. In that regard Underworld were directed to the tent, and a less intense artist was directed to the main stage. Surely the promoters can’t have missed the plethora of message board posts prior to the festival eagerly awaiting Underworld and midnight? Surely they can’t have their finger so off the pulse of the festival going masses to accidentally make such a slip up? Hopefully they have managed to get their finger back somewhere near the button because there was a lot of dissatisfaction in the message boards after the festival.

When the first strains of ‘At The River’ drifted lazily over the expectant crowd I realised the beauty of standing in a field in County Laois in the middle of the night listening to great music

John Fitzgerald, just 23, died later that night in hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack while at the festival. Suddenly a little part of the magic associated with Electric Picnic was lost. The following year, the weather was not quite as warm, the line-up was not quite as good and the atmosphere was no longer turned up to 11. The death of a festival goer in front of so many

Now Orbital has reformed this year for a few festival gigs across Europe. They have never played the Picnic before, never mind the midnight slot. And they are brilliant. And ‘Dr. ?’ and ‘Chime’ would sound legendary at 1.45 a.m. Can the promoters get the festival back on track after last year’s slip up?

Incidents of Builder's Ass by Steve making breakfast:



the festival photography of richard walshe

Music festivals are a special time: See your favourite bands, wear some outrageous fashions, lie on the grass, take photos of your friends, drink beer in the sunshine, throw caution to the wind, and most importantly, have fun! Photos by Richard Walshe. tinyurl.com/richardw

Percentage surveyed who have worn earplugs at gigs:


sziget '03

dave farrell


estivals abroad generally provide more value for your money, more sunshine, more music, more food and most importantly, more beer. My first festival experience abroad started back in 2003 when myself and a few mates went inter-railing across Eastern Europe. We had planned to stop in Budapest for a festival called Sziget, which takes place on an island in the middle of the river Danube. I hadn’t even heard of this festival before but we read up on it and it sounded like it was going to be one hell of a week. We decided to buy our tickets when we arrived there. There was no hassle with this at all, and with €20 change out of two fifties I wasn’t complaining. As soon as the tickets were bought we were buying beer for the campsite. On arriving at the gate we were shocked, and frankly disgusted, to see festival security taking every form of liquid, from liquid speed to water to beer off people. The only thing to do here was to reduce the risk of our beer falling into the festival Nazis’ hands and drink as much as possible from the start of the queue to the gate entrance. Mission accomplished! A good few kilos lighter and with no waste, we headed in to find somewhere to pitch our tent. Now your usual setup for camping in an Irish festival is that there are designated campsites, but in Sziget there is no need for such blatant organisation. You could pitch your tent in front of the main stage if you so wished. That not being the best idea in the world, we opted for a nice wooded area to keep us cool from the morning sun. It was pretty late at night by the time we got set up so our first night was spent wandering around trying to get our bearings on the island and scope out the different areas and stages. The bars


percent of people have worn earplugs at gigs

stayed open 24 hours which I thought was down right awesome. This was something that was probably not going to work in my favour! With all the travelling and rushed “queue” drinking we thought it best to have an early night. Tomorrow would bring its challenges… The next morning the place looked completely different in the light of day and was swarming with people. The sun was out and there was a certain buzz around the place. It was as if we were in a different festival to the night before. We had made it a hundred meters or so when we thought it best to start our

We set off to find the Dance arena. This proved a lot easier than we thought: within 800 meters of the arena our bodies began to vibrate. exploration with some breakfast, so we stepped into one of the refreshment tents. Now there wasn’t much of a choice here, we could get Arany Ászok, the sponsored beer or, well, actual breakfast. So Arany it was. It was at that moment I found out that chilled beer had not yet come to Budapest. Fuck it, it was eighty cents, and where in Ireland would you get breakfast for eighty cents? Later on they fooled me when I asked for one from the fridge, but the fridge was unplugged with the sun shining in on it so I ended up with a rather burning sensation in my stomach! Sly Hungalords! Continuing with our tour of the island, the first stage we came to was the World Music stage. It was early enough so there

On our way around looking for a potentially better camp site, a small pasty white guy came running up to us asking if we were Irish. I’m not sure what gave it away but I think it may have been our attire. Back at this point in our lives we thought it was important to “represent”. This usually consisted of someone having to wear an Irish jersey or something that let people know where we were from. That morning we must have really felt the need to “represent” because I myself was wearing a pair of Ireland shorts and one of the others was wearing an Ireland jersey. (This is something I would not care to do in later life). So these two fellow Irish travellers were from the North and became part of our “festival posse”. flickr.com/photos/pedroelnegro69/2788730981

The place really kicked off at about 6 o’clock that evening. So after a mid afternoon siesta we were ready to join in with the rest of the festivalians. That night we joined our new Nordy friends at the main stage to see Morcheeba. With a few more warm Arany Ászoks down I was finally warming to it, or, at least, able to stomach it. The atmosphere was brilliant. Everyone there was really enjoying it.

Shane McGowan couldn’t put a sentence together yet they all cheered every time he tried. God love him. After a couple of hours at the main stage we thought it wise to check out some of the smaller stages. These proved harder to find than first anticipated. After a few beer stops along the way we found the Blues stage hidden in a tree clearing. It was a completely different atmosphere than to what we had just experienced. It was relaxed and mellow. After chilling out and recharging the old batteries we set off to find the Dance arena. This was a lot easier to find than we thought. Once we got within 800 meters of the arena our bodies began to vibrate, and we knew where we were heading. The dance arena reminded me of a cattle slaughter house. There were plastic threads hanging down all around the edges of the bowel-shaped arena. My teeth were shattering with the bass. There was a great buzz there. After a couple of hours bopping around pretending I could dance to techno, we decided to call it a night. We made our way back to the campsite but only after a few Aranys along the way, which at this point, I have to say, was a damn good beer! It must be an acquired taste. If beer is not your thing then they sell wine – just don’t make the mistake of asking for a ‘large’ or you’ll end up getting a pint of wine. Only 80 cents too! We made it back as the sun was coming up. The next morning (afternoon more like) we got up and had the same “breakfast”. We were out walking trying to shake our hangovers when we stumbled upon what looked like The After Party. People were still going strong from the night before. The people at it looked like they could have been from Auschwitz and looked like they could keep going all week


were a few people lying around on the grass listening to some dude sing reggae songs. The perfect place to finish our breakfast. As I tried to finish my extremely warm breakfast I thought of something my mother would say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and with that thought I managed to finish it. (Damn you and your wisdom, Mother!).

long without any food or rest. All they needed was their bottle of water. Anyway, as disgusting and enjoyable as it looked we decided to keep walking and save that for another night. The next three or so days merged into one. I couldn’t really tell you what happened on Tuesday because it probably happened on Thursday. There were, however, plenty of sunrise beers consumed. Although there were showers at the festival, and we needed them due to the dust and heat, a great way to get clean was to visit the famous baths in Budapest. Now the way to really get your money’s worth is to hold off on a shower for a couple of days and then have one big scrub at the warm, tranquil baths. The locals, however, don’t really appreciate it when their nice pristine baths turn brown with dirt. After a good clean we travelled back to the festival only to be greeted by a thunder storm. We sat it out on the terraced bar under the cover of some big parasols overlooking the main stage. Within an hour a lake had formed in front of the main stage. This, I thought, was going to be a problem, but within minutes of this new lake forming, five dump trucks appeared and began unloading hundreds of tons of sand into the main arena. Good forward planning on their part. So where we once had grass we now had a beach. Perfect for passing some time making sand castles and the likes. As the sun came out I thought this was a good time to get front row seats for the girls mud resting that was bound to follow. And sure enough, it did. A happy festival moment for me. There were many more bands playing over the week. Surprisingly Shane McGowan was one of the biggest attractions. The guy couldn’t put a sentence together yet they all cheered every time he tried. God love him. The most enjoyable performances were from the smaller stages and from people I have never heard of and likely will never hear of again. As the festival was coming to a close, on the final night we were given a proper fireworks display that would put the Sky Fest to shame. This had to be one of the best festivals I have ever been to. It had a bit of everything for everyone. The people were cool, it was well cheap and the weather was pretty damn good. I even made new life-long friends that I haven’t spoken to since. If you’re going, it would be advisable to learn German as that seemed to be the spoken language after Hungarian, and Hungarians don’t appreciate you speaking English. “Why wouldn’t you know how to speak Hungarian” was the look on most of their faces. At 7 days, it’s far too long. It really takes a bit of your soul, but well worth it. I did manage to make it back to this festival four years later and quickly found out that my body was not able to cope with the ways of four years previous. No sunrise beers that time around, more like an early night and some ear plugs. They had, however, discovered chilled beer. Not really the same as the warm beer I had grown accustomed to. Minimum age of girls welcome in Luke's tent:


EXIT '08

Claire Dunford I

t began with the bus ride from hell. We were promised everything: drinks, food entertainment and a toilet. We got nothing. After waiting for an hour in blistering midday sun, we all boarded a coach that must have been at least 20 years old. Upon boarding we realised that not only were the guys who were running this service liars, they also couldn’t organise. There were three extra people claiming that they were supposed to be on board yet they were not on the magical list that the two men organising the event were in possession of. After some shouting and ranting, followed by tears (the organisers’), three guys who had just been drinking with the organisers in the airport bar decided that they would wait with the organisers to get the next bus, have a few drinks and dry their eyes. And so our journey began. We travelled off to Serbia at a speed that most grandparents could beat walking. This was going to be the longest 250 kilometres. All was not lost though, about an hour into our journey the kindly bus driver pulled into a petrol station. Fifteen minutes later we were all armed with beer and junk food, and headed off on our toilet-less journey. As the journey progressed Dave and I made friends with our fellow travellers, a mix of Irish and English. Everyone was en-route to the festival but one person’s story was slightly different: through the medium of Facebook he had met his dream girl and he was on his way to meet her for the first time. Five hours later we arrived. The journey had not been smooth. The cheap beer and no toilet fiasco came back to bite us in the ass. We all alighted with tightly crossed legs after a few near accidents. We had survived the journey and formed friendships 26

minutes for Tri to put makeup on

along the way. We couldn’t miss the big meeting between our new English friend and his Serbian e-girlfriend. It was everything we could have dreamed of and more. Sob. Ok no, it was not that exciting, they looked pretty happy though. We saw them a few times again during the festival and they looked pretty loved up. Off we went to get our camping and festival passes. This was a rather smooth experience. Wrist bands were handed over for the campsite and a card for the festival – a card, what, how was I supposed to look after that for four days? I can only be responsible for things that are attached to me! We entered our campsite, which was manned by huge men wielding guns, batons, you name it. Was I scared of these men? Yes, like a little girl. So by then it was 11 at night and we were a group of twenty who simply must camp together. Off we went into a dark field to find this elusive camping spot. One where the ground was not too hard, we were sheltered from the 30 degree morning sun, and would fit twenty tents. Believe it or not, we did just that! Setting up a tent in the dark is not something I would like to experience again. Once we had this done it was time to face up the fact that our phone network were liars and did not, in fact, have reception in Serbia. So, while we had made new friends we must start thinking of the friends who anxiously awaited our arrival (who am I kidding, they were probably off having beers somewhere themselves!). The peddlers become our allies as they sold albeit slightly overpriced water and cold beer. Mind you, at a euro a beer we were not going to complain too much. There was one peddler that


I had to spend the weekend avoiding as Dave had very nearly successfully bartered me for a few cold beers. We joined our new friends for some sort of rave in a field across the way from our campsite. After a few hours most of us left, only a few hardened party animals stayed on. The next morning I woke to stories of one our new friends taking some substances and going a little crazy. He chased a puppy around for a few hours, and

There was one peddler that I had to spend the weekend avoiding as Dave had very nearly successfully bartered me for a few cold beers. upon settling, he realised that he had lost both his passport and his festival pass (I knew they’d be trouble). One of his friends managed to get his passport from lost property, but he never got his festival pass back. You’ll be glad to know that a few days later we discovered that there was actually a puppy and he was not completely crazy. It was time to try and find our friends. We had a look around the campsite. All we heard everywhere were Irish and English accents. The campsite was well equipped with free showers and internet and a good range of food stalls. Plus it being Serbia everything was much cheaper than your average festival. One flaw of the festival is that you must use tokens to buy drinks inside. Not only that but all of the tokens are different, you must buy beer tokens for beer, water tokens for water, and so on. Thus meaning that we would have to decide what we were drinking in advance, and let’s face it, thought and alcohol don’t usually mix, they are the oil and water of popular culture. We found Ste and Gav later that morning; they were camped about four tents away from us. Safe in the knowledge that we were all one big happy family again we went to a local pizzeria. Food in Serbia is excellent and so cheap. We later went to the supermarket to get ourselves some pre-festival drinks. We decided on gin and tonics. Only problem was ice, we scoured the supermarket for those handy bags of ice that you get at home but to no avail. So I decided to ask a guy working there. A lot of people have really good English over there and although he understood my request, he didn’t have any ice. So he asked me to follow him, and I did, like the trusting, naïve girl that I am. I followed him up a flight of stairs to a café where he started speaking in Serbian to a waiter. The waiter took out a plastic bag, reached into the freezer and grabbed as much ice as he could. The people could not be nicer! The festival itself is held in a fort. Every evening we would walk along the Danube, across a bridge and into the fort. The place was amazing. We walked in as a big group into the festival the first night and unfortunately lost everyone within minutes. Never mind, off we went to see The Streets and nerd. Must say nerd were excellent, was not expecting much from little Pharrell, but he delivered. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the copious amounts of Tuborg I consumed. That’s right Tuborg! I mean ordinarily I’m downright classy in my choice of drinks (as demonstrated earlier by my gentile gin & tonics), but hey, when in Serbia. Anyway, I blame the festival

organisers for us all being so drunk: it was cheaper to buy the beer in a six pack so as there were four of us it made most economical sense, not to mention best use of time, for us to get eight drinks with every round (thank you Gav for that stroke of genius). The night ended with fireworks, which was a nice touch. The main stage finished at about 2 a.m. but DJs were playing all over the fort right up until 8.00 or 9.00 in the morning. Man, did we soon realise how festival unfit we are in Ireland. About two o’clock Dave and Ste shirked back off to the campsite leaving Gav and me to fend for ourselves. We partied until about 4 a.m before calling it a night. I had made Gav solemnly promise that he would stay up with me the following evening until 6 in the morning – when 2 Many DJs would play. That’s right folks; they weren’t even starting until this time. It was at this point we realised that Exit is a ridiculous name for a festival. After taking a short cut through the middle of the Sven Väth revellers we eventually managed to get out of there an hour later. We probably should have crowd surfed across. Friday night was the big night, for me anyway. The evening started off with Paul Weller. This time we managed to go as a big group and stay together. Paul Weller, I got to say, he bored us. We ended up sitting on top of a hill only half watching him. Mr Weller slightly redeemed himself to me when he sang “Shout to the Top”, unfortunately I lost a lot of faith in my group when I realised that I was celebrating alone as most of them did not know who The Style Council were – for shame! Following Weller was Primal Scream, Dave and I had seen them the previous year closing Electric Picnic and we were really looking forward to seeing them again. I have to say that the second time around they were not quite as good. Part of it might have been that as a big group we were very giddy and not paying them that much attention, also they had recently brought out another album so they were playing a lot of songs that we didn’t know. Next up, Soulwax. Soulwax were playing in what can only be described as a pit. I was really looking forward to Soulwax and they did not disappoint. They were amazing! So once they were finished we were all buoyed up, ready for the two hour wait for 2 Many DJs. The only thing standing in our way was Laurent Garnier. Now Dave and I have seen him before in Sonar and we were very disappointed. His style is generally to build the crowd up over a 2 hour session – slowly. After about half an hour of boredom we decided to find somebody else to entertain us. We came back for the last twenty minutes of Laurent Garnier. Still boring. We amused ourselves by shouting things like “send him back to Paris” and threatening those around us that if anyone shouts “one more tune” we would lynch them. I believe Ali was going to shank him. Hmm, maybe mob mentality had sunk in? Finally, 6 a.m. arrived and 2 Many DJs came bursting on with their remix of mgmt “Kids”, the crowd went wild! The only problem was the sun had also made an appearance and those people who looked like idiots for wearing sun glasses through the night were starting to look not so stupid. Although we were fading, we all managed to stay up until 6 o’clock to see them. It wasn’t long before the only people left were Dave, Gav and me. I knew the end was nigh, I could sense them losing the ability to keep their eyes open... cue whinging! By about 7.30 we left, I was not happy, but I did have to take into account that my pasty Irish skin was completely lacking any protection from the unfamiliar sun.

Push-ups by Brian to impress ladies:


We arrived back to a campsite littered with bodies. It was too hot to sleep in our tents and everyone was sleeping outside. After a few hours of trying to sleep I gave up and decided I would try again later. We went to a really nice bar on the Danube, chilled out and ate some really good food. Our friend who lost his ticket was on a completely different body clock to us. Every evening he had gone to bed as we headed up to the festival and every morning gotten up at six. So after a day of chilling out it was time to do it all again, this time with no sleep. I downed some of my new best friend, Red Bull, along with something a little stronger, I’m sure, and off we went. Surprisingly I felt absolutely fine. We took our time on this walk up, stopping for mojitos from a street vendor and talking to other people on their way to the fort, including another couple who had met on Facebook, an English woman and a Serbian man. When did Facebook become a dating medium?

STATSHOT A look at the numbers that shape your world WHO ARE WE NOT CAMPING BESIDE? • Those pesky kids • Pyromania Man • Guy who shit in a tent at Oxegen • 250 Portaloos • Douchbag on coke from last year • The Sex Pistols • Those drunken teenage girls from earlier, unfortunately • Guy I stole tent from

It was Manu Chao’s turn to headline. It appears that Manu Chao has a huge following in Europe. Dave and Ste and I all

Time to do it all again, this time with no sleep. I downed some Red Bull, along with something a little stronger and off we went. Surprisingly I felt absolutely fine.


saw him in Sziget the year before and there was a huge crowd there to see him. He was even more popular in Exit. We took it pretty easy that night. The lack of sleep must have caught up with us all. We spent the next day hanging out at the Danube stage. It was a little inlet by the Danube where artists were playing for free to locals and people staying in the campsite. It was really nice; you could lie out and drink Tuborg to your heart’s content and marvel at the people who thought it was a good idea to swim in a river that runs through seven countries. It was time for our last night. Sex Pistols were headlining and we decided to have a proper look around the fort, seeing as it was our last night. Our exploring brought us to a little bar at the top of the fort with a view over Novi Sad, why had we not done this earlier? After chilling out for a while we headed down to the Sex Pistols, who managed to bore us all. Thankfully there were loads of other bands which were much more fun. As it was our last night we decided to go a little crazy. We had our faces painted by Eilis and went about spending the rest of our tokens. At about two or three in the morning some of our group realised they had trains to catch in a few short hours. They only thing we could do was stay up and enjoy our last night, to face that reality when it arrived. At about 7 a.m. that morning we all stumbled back to our campsite to pack up our tents and head off on our journey home. Well everyone else did, Dave and I had the genius idea to book a local hotel and spend the day sightseeing/sleeping off our rapidly impending hangovers. We later discovered that most of our friends were forced to sleep off their hangovers on the train either standing up or lying beside toilets. 28

more Electric Picnics until I retire

















shat your lungs out through your arse? Of course you can, you’re young, living in a western democracy, life expectancy is 77 years, we’re not poor, we can punch poor people in the balls! We’re young, god damn it, and we’re going to get completely fucking blitzed you shitfaced cock munching donkey raper!

Alan Rapple H

aving been asked to write something on festival fitness by our esteemed festival compatriot Luke, I got to thinking what am I going to write about, just tell me, what is it that you want me to do? We want to get loaded? We want to have a good time? Nope, no Henry Fonda to inspire me I’m afraid and seeing as I do most of my productive thinking sitting on the porcelain throne, a thought squeezed its way out. Plopped right into my head you could say.

As a veteran of five electric picnic campaigns and having been the product of a south side Dublin liberal family, I’ve learned a lot about myself and others. I’ve learned I can consume large quantities of drink, drugs and processed food without killing myself or others. I can function on little or no sleep. I can sleep on hard lumpy ground if needs be and I can sit for ten minutes or so in a plastic cube filled with warm human faeces. Put into similar situations people can actually get along with one another and overcome some pretty disgusting stuff, and I think therein lies the human spirit. We can triumph in the face of such horrors. It makes me feel alive. In in our buttoned-down society isn’t that what we are seeking, the fleeting glimpse that we have tasted adventure and lived to tell the tale?

Most of us don’t really appreciate the everyday amenities until they have been taken away from us. As I sat in the WC in my own home, the sun shone through the window warming my face for the struggle ahead, and it struck me, it really is the little things that make this daily chore easier, the clean room, the nicely formed seat, the space, the sink and moisturising soap with a nice towel to dry your little hands.

Our journey of self-enlightenment and discovery has become three days of drinking, music and general debauchery with as little “pooing” as we can manage, all at a music festival.

Now its not until you’ve woken at 5am, struggled in mind and body to try and bury the natural feeling deep down, “if I don’t think about it I don’t have to go,” but try as you might, you concede the fight. damn it. You climb out of your tent in the pitch dark, navigate and fall over numerous tent strings, queue and make small talk with your fellow night time pooers, before entering the next available green 3x3 portaloo, where you hover, praying to your maker to help, hoping beyond hope that your ice cold cheeks don’t touch the seat. Lord above, the stench, it is vile, how can such a cultured and intelligent species create such a penetrating smell? Is it western diet you wonder? Is this really the product of greedy international corporations forcing us to consume such tasty food? you’re at electric picnic baby, you’re gonna diiiiiiiie!!! Your body shudders and shakes, you would give all the tea in China for your own home, dear Lord......boom!! Job done, doors open and you stride confidently out into the fresh night air, free, dear Lord free, for at least another day! Unless those “garys” you took play havoc with your insides... “Taking care of business” at Electric Picnic brings home the simple luxuries we take for granted, but not having to go through this annual trauma we would really not grow as people. I know I, for one, am a better person for having gone through it. Like most cultures going back to the dawn of time, people have to go on a journey or passage to find themselves, and these journeys require hardships to test our inner strength and physical well being. A thousand years ago we may have had to kill a bear or kill men in battle, but we are blessed, our “bear” or journey of self-enlightenment and discovery has become three days of drinking, music and general debauchery with as little “pooing” as we can manage, all at a music festival. Are you festival fit? Can you come through the other side, having arrived Friday afternoon? Can you raise aloft your fist on Monday morning, proud you’ve not puked your insides out through your nose and

We have tested ourselves and proved ourselves fit, what’s more, Festival Fit. There may be some people we’ve seen over the course of our particular tours of duty that have left us in the shade, those random people we see or bump into on a Saturday or Sunday morning wandering aimlessly through the camp site, still clutching a flagon of cheap cider with pee-soaked trousers, slowing their staggering advance, but let’s not push the boat out too far here. We should know Festival Fitness limits by now. Pissing yourself is not fit. It’s funny, but it’s not Festival Fit! As I type on, I’m not sure where I’m going with this or where to stop so I’ve gone to a place where I can think and have some alone time. Sitting here silently I know that if push comes to squeeze I wouldn’t change a thing about those disgusting festival facilities, but that’s fairly selfish of me I know. The ladies out there might wish otherwise, but then I can pee standing up and I can also reverse park a car... of course I’m only joking, but when you can have a game of “wee” swords with a random stranger next to you peeing against the fence, men can be free to talk and have no qualms about this type of stuff. So sorry ladies if it’s not quite to your taste. I know if I had to do five or more stints in the portaloo I wouldn’t go to the festival in the first place, so I have to give you the respect that you deserve for braving such horrors. So what is real Festival Fitness? It is having the physical and mental fortitude to have a great weekend of music and laughter with your best friends in spite of having to use such wretched and disgusting facilities. Let’s hope we meet in a darkened field as we queue to poo! Percentage surveyed that have not had tent sex:



fun time

A look at the numbers that shape your world

Match the essential supplies to their owner

How are we getting in for free?

It’s fun game time, kids. I asked you for your top 5 ‘must brings’ for a music festival. Win a beer if you get the most right!*–Luke

• Slept with John Reynolds • Swam river in Slane... oh wait • Been here since last year • Work for Abrakebabra • Winked at ticket inspector, before pulling gun • Hid in Portaloo chemicals • Am in Aerosmith • Get in where?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Tent, clothes, booze, money, as many friends as possible Beer, beer, blow-up bed/doll, lots of dry socks, beer Babywipes, babywipes, babywipes, babywipes, babywipes... Sun cream, clean dry socks, something warm to sleep in Empty bbq tray & baby wipes (for en-suite), well ventilated tent, water bottle, travel Jon (never need a portaloo again) 6. Baby wipes, wig, wellies, sunnies (we can all hope) 7. Ear plugs, combats with lots of pockets, Alka Seltzer 8. Antibacterial hand gel and lip balm, water, changes of underwear, flip flops, bread and hummus 9. Torch, warm socks, big tent, girl’s pee bags (v. useful at 4am) 10. Beer, zebra print shorts and pants, black permanent marker 11. Drugs, beer, inflatable bed, tent, pants 12. Lucozade, money, wellies, chair Brian ocd Louis Jen e El Rap Wall ain ples Tri e Dave Steve Luke Mirka Cla ire *it’s one of Stephen’s beers

crossword 1






7 8

9 10 11




15 17


18 19 20



23 24


26 27 29

28 30

Across the street 1 Quality one-off zine (8) 6 Great with Hellman’s mayonnaise, not so good mixed with your special love mayonnaise (4) 9 Polyphonic Spree are leggin’ it (7,4) 10 I guarantee this weekend will be ----, and I don’t mean long, or Record label of Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine (4) 11 Sense of, sometimes lacking (6) 30

tracks on The Beatles' White Album

13 Irish pop music radio station, meat (4) 16 Don’t pick up this Betty (4) 18 The Brothers are superstar DJs (8) 20 Enough rope (5) 21 Selflessness, concern for welfare of others (8) 24 Place to bury someone/underground chamber (5) 26 Sonic- or Musical- (5) 27 50 Cent plus his twin (4) 29 Wild Irish man or crazy friend of Hunter S. Thompson (5) 30 Your fairground friend (7) Down the road 2 Don’t stand in the front row without them (3, 8) 3 Light the way or burn it down (5) 4 Runners or a way to get to Electric Picnic 5 Period of taking it easy, not working (7,4) 7 Rare in the city, abundant in the country, alternatively rare in the country, abundant in the city, depending on your take (5) 8 One of our esteemed crew, on fire (5) 12 It’s brown, wet and you don’t wanna slip in it (4) 14 Old Man with crazy idea about breeding pine trees (7) / Small vegetable person (3, 4) 15 Sitting down to have sambos and/or listen to bands (6) 17 Spend one of these between every Electric Picnic (4) 19 Starts with Alcahol, ends with... (7) 22 Only county in Ireland this weekend (5) 23 American r&b singer who guides you to your seat (5) 25 Take this tonight and you’ll be ready for the next day (4) 28 -- Charlie, that hurts, and it’s still hurting (2)

Not so Happy Mondays

luke ryan


ll good things must come to an end, unless you’re Mick Jagger, and with every banging festival, there is always the Monday morning. If you are at Oxegen, Monday comes considerably earlier in the morning with the stewards bashing people’s tents and roaring at them to get up. An awful and frightening experience indeed. But not so at Electric Picnic, where you have until 1 p.m. to vacate the camp site, but to be honest once the dead have arisen, there seems little point in sticking around. There are always a few groups of never-say-dies who have the chairs out and the beers cracked open even though they are on borrowed time. Maybe the drink is to make sure they sleep on the long road back to Mayo or Donegal after a weekend’s hard partying. For most of us though, it’s time to stuff the muddied clothes back into the bag, fold up your chair and face the inevitable. Then there is the choice of your tent: take it or leave it. I left mine last year. I got two years out of it, and despite it being a two-man tent, it ain’t big enough for me and the missus. This year, I will probably go for a four man tent. I don’t think I have the patience to put up a tent any larger than that, unlike the behemoth tent that Stephen has been parading around these last couple of years, with its recently developed ensuite (with full planning permission I’m sure) and inadequate ventilation.

The never-say-dies have the beers cracked open even though they’re on borrowed time. At least the trudge back to the car is lighter. There is no food to bring back. No slab of beer to wrestle with either. Last year I drove to both festivals and my masterstroke was to have a clean t-shirt, pair of shorts and clean trainers in the boot of the car for the drive back. A small comfort maybe, but a worthwhile one all the same. As you make your way back to civilisation, and in particular the journey up the N7 to Dublin, the festivally departed cars become few and far between and the trucks and business class saloons occupy the roads. Of course every few miles you pass an old Honda Civic, the suspension shot to pieces with four filthy dirty men inside, tunes blaring in one last ditch memorial to another excellent Electric Picnic weekend.


get into a real record shop • Run by Dave and Julie, two humans who know good music • Purveyors of indie, alternative, punk, underground rock, electronica, reggae, country, folk, blues & other quality sounds • Tell us what you like and we’ll find something you’ll love • Old-fashioned musical knowledge and help • We don’t roll our eyes if you don’t know who Conor Oberst is • CDs and delicious vinyl – some vinyl comes with mp3 download • Good selection of independent Irish bands • Old record shop smell • New and second-hand music • Vouchers, tickets, impromptu gigs • Free advice • Come and have a “no obligation” browse • Most CDs and records labeled with our review • Next door to The Market Bar / Across from Hogan’s • Shop online. Website updated daily: www.roadrecs.com

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and we’l l find you something you’ll love

Road Records, Fade Str eet, Dublin 2.

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