Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Stradbally or a veteran of the festival, Electric Picnic offers every visitor a multitude of unique and engaging experiences across the weekend that aren’t strictly music related. Talking to the new people you’ll invariably meet over the weekend, it’s apparent that no two people have the same Picnic experience. Trying to do it all in one year is impossible and attempting it would probably be an extremely stressful affair and completely anti the point of a festival weekend. To make it a bit easier for you, we thought we’d compile a list of 11 individual festival experiences or features that would be well worth your time and attention, split up by day and night. Pick a few of your favourites and go make your own adventure.
The Picnic by day
Soundings podcast @ Ah Hear!Podcast stage, Mindfield
One of Electric Picnic’s absolute best kept secrets, The Soundings Podcast of a Saturday early afternoon (2pm) is the best way to ease yourself back into the order of things. Hosted by Dylan Haskins and Lisa Hannigan and taking place at the Ah Hear! Podcast Stage, this live recording will invite writer Marian Keyes to come and share some themed stories. With a healthy dose of live performance thrown in too from Choice Music Prize winners Ships, the Soundings podcast will put a smile on your tired face. Be sure to get down with plenty of time to spare, seats are always at a premium.
Also: check out the No Encore Music Podcast on Sunday at 1.45pm.
Grab a bite to eat at The Hothouse
For many, food at Electric Picnic consists of a twice-daily trip to the burger van to satisfy a carb craving. While it’s hard to resist to call of a good hotdog after a long night, there does exist a huge depth of food choices for festival goers this weekend. From Ostrich steak to seed smoothies, there’s far more on offer at Stradbally than may meet the eye. Have a wander around the Trailer Park area and you’ll be witness to some of EP’s most exotic food choices and the wonderful Hot House restaurant. Located within a greenhouse, the Hothouse brings together a cast of 10 talented chefs from across the nation each year to prepare a special Electric Picnic sit-down meal. This year’s menu includes Halloumi sticks and Lobster, among other delights. The best place to bring your festival romance, booking ahead is recommended. Shoot them an email on [email protected].
Go for a reinvigorating dip in the lake
Whether you’re part amphibian or just not fond of the queues for the showers, you’ll be delighted to hear that this year the festival’s organisers have re-opened lake swimming. Shake off the cobwebs and go for a dip in the morning. Please don’t be the eejits who try to get in while intoxicated, this is strictly forbidden and a certified bad buzz. With some genuine spells of good weather due over the weekend, a Picnic rarity, be sure to pack togs and a towel in your rucksack.
Watch the All-Ireland final
The answer to a perennial EP question. specially relevant for all Dubliners and Tyronians headed to Stradbally this weekend. EP has always clashed with the All Ireland final, much to the chagrin of GAA fans. Thank goodness then that the people at the An Pubal Gaeilge tent in the Mindfield area screen the match every year. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to pass the afternoon or a die-hard fan, it’s always a ton of fun to watch two counties battle it out for the All Ireland honour.
Catch a preview of Waterford Whispers new live show
With a sharp satirical tongue and a penchant for pointing out the sillier side of current affairs, the name Waterford Whispers has become synonymous with modern political satire. Raking in 14 million readers throughout 2017 has obviously shown the writer that the formula works. As such, Waterford Whispers will perform a special Sky News style preview of its upcoming live shows on the Leviathan stage in the Mindfield area, Saturday at 6.15pm.
Go catch Paddy Hanna at the Flying Machine Cafe
One of the Picnic’s hidden gems, the Flying Cafe is snuggled away in the Body & Soul area. With a grandiose gazebo tent, chilled out vibes and a programme filled with wonderful domestic talent including Sim Simma, Maija Sofia, Fehdah, Rosa Nutty, Lemoncello and more, the Flying Machine Cafe is the perfect place to come and catch your breath. Why not pop by on Saturday at 4pm to see the superb Paddy Hanna do his thing? You won’t regret it. See the full lineup here.
The Picnic by night
The La Fura dels Baus theatre group
This is an Electric Picnic first. The La Fura dels Baus theatre group, hailing from Barcelona, will be travelling to Stradbally to perform their ‘Human Seed‘ project. Combining aspects of theatre, visual art and aerial gymnastics, this installation looks likely to be a stand-out festival moment. Performances will take place above the estate on the Friday and Saturday, according to the group’s social media account.
Anachronica: The Rave In The Woods
A genuine rite of passage for all festival goers. A late night trip to the Anachronica stage, affectionately known as the rave in the woods by many, will land you directly in the heart of Stradbally. Deep in the forest and always packed with the most boisterous of the festival’s attendees, Anachronica by night boasts a stellar light show and one of the buzziest vibes the weekend has to offer. If raving just isn’t your thing, just go and sit a bit further back, getting lost in the hypnotic optic display.
The Salty Dog Area
An Electric Picnic institution, The Salty Dog area is famous for a few reasons among Electric Picnic goers. The organisers always provide genuinely unique late night entertainment, with the Stage often running until 4am. One late night highlight from the past couple of years was the Salty Dog Allstars performing David Bowie tunes at 3am Friday night (this year it’s the White Album by the Beatles). Ideal for those who don’t see the appeal in raves. Be warned, the Salty Dog, like any of the late night stages in the no-search zone, attracts some of Picnic’s most weird and wonderful. Bring your open mind. Bonus points if you can charm your way into the guest bar behind the ship.
Popularised over the last few years in large part to its weekly happenings in Whelan’s or Galway’s Roisin Dubh’s regular nights and street parties, the Silent Disco has become a staple of Irish nightlife. Every year on Friday night Electric Picnic places host to a mega edition of the headphone wearing spectacle. It’s usually in the Cosby tent but it’s definitely worth your while to keep an eye out for signage while in the main arena. If you can handle missing whatever is on at the other stages for an hour or two, the Silent Disco is the perfect place to show off your favourite dance moves.