The Picnic: A Veteran Writes


Electric boogaloo.

Or the Somme with music.

YOU decide.

In the meantime:

Barbara McCarthy (every Picnic since 2004) writes:

The good

Weather: Say what you want, but a sunny day is what makes or breaks a festival so if it’s going to be the way it was in 2004 and 2005, it will rock. The weather has gone downhill year on year ever since and last year was my least favourite Picnic, because I was hypothermic. According to most weather reports its going be 22 or more degrees in the shade. The miserable summer of discontent and pure crap still has a chance of a U-turn.

The Line Up: It is good as ever. I’ve never left saying the music was terrible, simply because I’ve never got a chance to see everything. I usually just go with the flow, so as long as I get to catch Donal Dineen, James Murphy and Pat Mahoney in Body & Soul, Orbital and the The Cure at the main stage I’m happy. You also can’t beat the Dublin Gospel Choir on a sunny Sunday Morning.

The Bacardi Bar played far and away the best tunes last year

The general craic. You can’t beat it. It always takes a few hours to adapt, but once you’re in full swing…It’s best just to go down without a plan. Just bring a toothbrush in your handbag, throat-spray, loads of electrolytes and Alka-Seltzer and loads of other stuff that you end up losing..

The Bad

Thieves: Last year there just seemed to be an air of scumbaggedness around the place. I know lots of people who were robbed and I generally didn’t feel as safe there as I did before. That’s crap and can ruin a festival. The trick is for the security to focus on the potential scumbags, and not wreck the entire event for everyone else by imposing strict rules on us and treating us like 14 year olds. The people who stabbed people at The Swedish House Mafia are c***ts, but they are the minority.

Security: Don’t operate zero tolerance just because of the above! Last year we were sitting together in a nice cosy big tent thing on the Sunday and then about 30 cops dragged people out into the freezing cold for no reason. We know how to behave. Thanks. I hope this year they won’t just shut everything down at 2am or something, due to bullshit elsewhere.

Which leads me to the next issue. Is it the End of All night raves? Remember them? They were fun. Clearly restrictions have been put in place and in recent years when there’s word of a rave somewhere, you get there only to find four people sitting over a cigarette in the cold, who much to my chagrin last year, didn’t have anything funny to say for themselves.

Teens: They’re loud and generally end up in a field covered in fake tan and vomit with their legs over their heads. I know we were all young once, but we wore more clothes. No? I think it would be nice for the young kids aged 17 to 18 or whatever to do something else and start going to the Picnic at a later age, when they’ve experienced life. The more kids you have at an event the more policed it is and that’s no fun. By the way I’m not too big a fan of young kids at festivals either. I’m always afraid they’ll pick up something of the ground or injure themselves or something, just cos their trendy parents want to have them on their shoulders at a festival. No one cares if you’re a trendy parent. They just want you to remove the child from your shoulders so they can see the band you are blocking their view from.

The buses: I got a bus one-way last year because I only went down on the day.  Cost €30 quid. Rip off.

Drink. I’m not exactly sure when they close all the bars- I think its as early as 10pm in some places, but I do know they do and when they do, its always way too soon. We’re in the middle of a field so chances are we’re not moving. Just take our money and let us have another drink or ten for Christ sake. And also if possible where we don’t have to queue for an hour.

Fags: I know I’ve never bought fags there, but when I’ve enquired they only had Dunhill Lights or something, which I don’t want. Maybe they do have fags somewhere, but wherever it is its too far, so I always bring loads, which leads me to my next point.

People running out of fags. I know you don’t normally smoke…. but that’s not my problem… Its also not my problem that you only brought 2 fags with you, are about to get smokes, need to get cash out of the ATM or are shocked and surprised that they only sell said Dunhill’s. I always take into account that everyone will run out of fags by Sunday afternoon at the latest; so then I dish out fags until Monday morning or whatever. It’s annoying and too costly this year. People who smoke have been doing so for 20 years, so by now they should know better. Also don’t leave me stuck at a festival without fags, after I brought loads. Makes me mad.

The ugly

Finally it’s got too big. It’s not manageable, so make it smaller again. If you don’t mind. There’s a really big empty bit where all the food stalls are, that can be made smaller surely! Oh yeah and the toilets also need to be addressed. I don’t think they can be clean enough.

The RAIN. .

I’m sure I’ve forgotten stuff – which I will add as I go along, but do feel free to add your favourite/unfavourite Picnic bits below. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one in the middle of the field with my fake tan around my cankles and a bottle of empty bottle of advocaat in my hands wearing a bikini top and a pair of trendy boots on my head.

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)