With so many ducks in a row, no won­der the Pic­nic sold out

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - COVER STORY -

There will be 41,000 pay­ing cus­tomers head­ing to Strad­bally next week­end in search of kicks and thrills in those 600 acres in the mid­dle of the town. It’s not quite Co­leridge’s stately plea­sure dome but it will do the job nicely for those 41,000 peo­ple who’ve helped make the Elec­tric Pic­nic a sell­out in record time.

But what ex­actly are those 41,000 pun­ters af­ter? Some will be there to see cer­tain acts and many will have a hitlist of bands they aim to see, ac­count­ing for ev­ery hour of the day. Oth­ers will adopt a more ca­sual ap­proach and will duck and dive from stage to stage and back again via a rave in the woods or a cook­ery ex­hi­bi­tion or a po­etry read­ing. There will be even be those who won’t see a band all week­end and who will leave on Mon­day morn­ing happy out.

That’s the thing about the mod­ern fes­ti­val ex­pe­ri­ence: it has be­come Gay Byrne-like in of­fer­ing some­thing for ev­ery­one in the au­di­ence. When you get all your ducks in a row, or enough ducks to at­tract 41k pun­ters, you’ve a win­ner on your hands.

But it’s not easy. As we’ve noted on the blog, it has been a tough sea­son for many. From Jab­ber­wocky in Lon­don to Light Colour Sound in Kilkenny, there have been many ex­am­ples of pro­mot­ers get­ting things wrong with both pre- and post-event busi­ness af­fairs.

The Elec­tric Pic­nic too has been through the wringer with le­gal dis­putes between founders and op­er­a­tors. There will, no doubt, be chal­lenges to its crown in the years ahead as new fes­ti­vals emerge or our predilec­tion for par­ty­ing in the open air fades.

Right now, though, the event is the only one that mat­ters for 41,000 peo­ple. Here’s hop­ing all of them get what they want from it.

Strad­bally sun­set: all the fun of the fes­ti­val

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