By Mags Blackburn
Electric Picnic is over and there are at least 41,000 weary bodies around the country not including the musicians who by the looks of things partied hard as well. So to all the toe-tappers, the groovers, the headdress wearers, the Alan and Steves, and all round party people, you rocked it!
At 41,000 the festival has grown from its usual cap of 39,000. There is a bigger food area and more varieties of beverage available than previous years. There are bigger and more numerous bathroom facilities. Remember the trenches anyone? And more stages than a stick can be shaken at. However, while I had a great time at EP the extra 2,000 people is noticeable.
Body and Soul area – I barely got to walk through you. I only made Trailerpark late Sunday night. Other Voices Stage? Wish I had found you. Rave in the forest, I heard you in the far distance. This for me was because the trek to some of the smaller stages past the crowds was too far away to pop in for any one particular band. Instead I developed a circuit around three areas, four if I was feeling adventurous, which were closer together and had more of the bands I wanted to see. This is the dilemma of any festival goer. Do you stick to the main stages or wander off in search of your festival moment. I may have missed out on some of the smaller stages activities but I did catch some phenomenal performances. I’ll give you the highlights.
Blondie as always is ahead of the crowd. Sporting a monochrome outfit Debbie Harry chose a trend that is just coming into fashion for AW14. But isn’t that exactly what we expect of her, that she either sets the trend or is leader of the pack. Belting out many of the Greatest Hits including ‘The Tide is High’ drew many festival goers. But it was the warm reaction to some of the newer material from ‘Ghosts of Download’ that proved there were real fans in the audience.
Hozier drew the largest crowds for an early afternoon set. Everyone was pumped, ready and needed no encouragement, no matter the ill-effects from the previous night’s antics, to get up and sing along to ‘From Eden’ and ‘Sedated’. And it was almost a religious moment for the crowd as they sang ‘Amen’ for ‘Take Me To Church’. Hozier also debuted new material from his upcoming debut album. Yes that’s right, he hasn’t even released an album yet. However, the crowd gave it a super warm welcome especially to new track ‘Jackie and Wilson’.
Walking on Cars are showing their confidence by opening their Saturday set by playing all of the hits first. Fans that were on time were treated to a 15 minute medley of all their favourites. Which means the rest of the show was new material and the band have toured enough to know it’s good. Good things are a coming.
Bombay Bicycle Club were always going to put on a rocking performance and they did not disappoint. Playing a selection of older tunes mixed with newer tracks from ‘So Long, See you Tomorrow’.
Chic was always going to be a fantastic way to bring Saturday to a close. With an enormous back catalogue, (‘We Are Family’, ‘Le Freak’, ‘I Want Your Love’) there was more than one ‘He wrote that?’ moment, (Let’s Dance’) and they had us eating out of the palm of their hands throughout the entire set.
I had written earlier that HamsandwicH were one of my recommendations and, as I hoped, they did not disappoint. They played old and new songs and everyone was dancing to their Sunday afternoon set. The bouncy balls, please no sniggers, were back and Niamh Farrell even brought her younger brother and sister on stage. Love!
Laura Mvula is just good for the soul. There is something revitalising about coming into a tent on a Sunday afternoon and hearing beautiful music after what may have been a hectic couple of days so far. Laura was in fine voice and spirit and everyone was upstanding to sing along to ‘Green Garden’.
Lily Allen wasn’t on my to-see list but I thoroughly enjoyed her feisty set. She had the quirky outfits, the cheeky multi-coloured baby bottles and interacted completely with the crowd even bringing one pink-haired fan onstage.
It’s been over a decade since Beck graced our shores and he had some lost time to make up for! That he did with a range of tracks from his earliest to more recent hits from ‘Morning Phase’. He brought along with him a groovy set including a psychedelic backdrop screen. He also included the crime scene tape scenario older fans would have been familiar with from his previous show.
Mogwai, yes I did leave Outcast to catch these guys but boy am I glad I did. If I could inhale their essence and just carry it around with me I would be happy. Great set and just the escape I needed from a jammers main arena.
That was my Electric Picnic. I hope you had a fantastic festival, that you discovered new bands and enjoyed others you weren’t expecting. Electric Picnic may be done for another year but tickets are already on sale for 2015.