Why does Electric Picnic work? What persuades 30,000 sensible people to trek down to Stradbally to mingle and muck-in with their contemporaries of all ages?
You might say it's because of hard work that EP works, and boy but those POD guys and girls work hard, showcasing their discipline and savvy at every point.
But there is another, more fundamental, reason why EP works, a simpler one, and we only need one word to express it: carnival.
Electric Picnic is, also, an Electric Carnival.
“Whatever social category you had been boxed into – male or female, rich or poor – carnival was a chance to escape it”, writes Barbara Ehrenreich in her fab book, “Dancing in the Streets”.
And that is what EP does. The 30,000 souls aren't professionals or blue-collars, Northerners or Southerners, boys in shorts or girls in hot pants, people who are mad about Robyn or people who can't stand Robyn; people in Hunter wellies or people in bare feet in the sunshine.
They are just Picnicers, one and all. EP is the world turned upside down, and you know what, it feels just about right when it is that way. For three days, 30,000 picnicers escape who they are. Day by day, our daughter, Connie, who was sometimes toiling away as our photographer as she enjoyed her first festival, became more and more an EP – an Electric Picnicer. The festival hat. The wellies. The hippy chick dress. The face paint, more elaborate day by day. Connie McKenna became Connie EP McKenna. I don't think the initials will ever fade.
And the great thing is that the feasting equals the festival. Our Bridgestone EP winners were superb, one and all: Supersprouts from Cork; The Electric Kitchen from Offaly; Golden Bean Coffee from Cork; Pashamamas from the U.K.; and Rathmullan House from Donegal grabbed – comfortably – the first ever Picnicer's Award.
There are already too many opinions about the music, but Robyn and Leftfield blew us away, whilst Janelle was pure dynamite.
And the great thing about Carnival is that it is slow release. yes, you are back to the workaday world. But there is still subversion running in your veins.
Oh, and John Reynolds for President, please. We need someone to tilt the country the right way up.