Electric Picnic: The top pick(nic) of the festival season

by Gary Ibbotson

After a late arrival and horrifically awful experience of attempting to erect a tent, Dublin Gazette finally got into the festival mood on Friday evening.

Although threatening to rain from the outset, Friday was largely dry and warm, the perfect climate for excited revellers to kick off Ireland’s biggest festival.
And what a way to get everything started.

Billie Eilish, teenage pop sensation and already global idol, hit the main stage at 7:30pm, a change from her original billing of a smaller venue and rightfully so – I would be surprised if any act over the weekend attracts a larger audience.

The Los Angeles native effortlessly strutted her way through a set of her unique blend of electro and alternative pop with breakthrough singles Bad Guy and Bury a Friend highlights.

Billie Eilish at Electric Picnic. Picture: Charles Reagan Hackleman

Hozier closed out the main stage on Friday evening with the local man’s set containing all of the hallmarks of a heroic homecoming with the crowd on top form.

The performance of From Eden was genuinely a beautiful moment and numbers such as Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene and Nina Cried Power were firm fan favourites.

Ending on the megahit Take me to Church, the overall spectacle felt like a triumphant return for an artist clearly beloved by his country-people.

The first and only proper shower of the weekend fell on Friday evening, but by Saturday morning, glorious sunshine replaced rain and sun cream replaced ponchos as the protection of choice.

After a fantastic Electric Arena set by PC Music poster-girl, Charli XCX, one of few great rock ‘n’ roll bands of our generation were tasked with closing out the main stage on Saturday.

The Strokes were the epitome of arrogance-lined cool with Julian Casablancas swaggering his way through a performance that was both apathetic and tremendous at the same time.

Julian Casablancas of The Strokes at Electric Picnic. Picture: Sydney Gawlik

Clearly not interested in embracing the festival culture – even admitting to just flying in and having little interest in catching any other act – the New York four-piece are just an incredibly well oiled-machine and with a crazily deep discography to boot, it’s hard to blame them for embracing their aurora of invincibility.

Sunday, like most festival Sundays, was relatively relaxing and tame. Mitski in the Electric Arena and Florence and the Machine’s headline set were expectantly a lot of fun.

Welch looked genuinely happy to be there and her exuberant twirling and sprinting up-and-down the stage barefoot was an invigorating sight.

It’s hard to beat anthems such as Dog Days are Over and You’ve Got the Love to send the crowd home happy and her performance was a great ending to an overall fantastic weekend.

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