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I Sing The Body Electric
The stars were aligned and and the sun shone at Electric Picnic. It was the least we deserved at the end of a long, wet summer...
Niall Stokes, 14 Sep 2012
Now and then things fall into place. The stars align. The world spins in exactly the way we want it to. And everything seems more or less right under the sun. Well, under sun where we are at least.
It was that way at Electric Picnic, in Stradbally, Co.Laois, not far from the centre of Ireland, over the weekend. "The weather didn't just make a difference," promoter John Reynolds told me on Sunday afternoon, with a gentle sun caressing the festival site in the small rural town and warming everyone within its sweet embrace. "It made all the difference. You and I would't be standing here talking if it was raining. When the sun is shining everyone is in a better humour. The fans are in a better humour. The staff are in a better humour. The artists are in a better humour. It makes everything easier and more pleasant. So it's been fantastic."
We've all been there, squelching through the mud at Irish festivals and running from tent to tent between showers. You try to grin and bear it. People are good at camouflaging just how betrayed by the elements they can feel. Some hardened festival goers have long ago decided that, if the deluge happens, the best thing to do it so wallow in it. Fine for them: their gumption is to be admired. Others are less indomitable. The more caked in mud they become the soggier their spirits get. They have dressed for an open air ball; instead of being able to flaunt it they are forced into cowering under any form of protection they can find. It's been that way more or less all summer here. Finally, however, over the weekend, the Gods smiled. And it was good.
That was the universal verdict about Electric Picnic 2012: it was a fantastic festival. People were raving about the music: about Christy Moore turning in an astonishing performance on Friday night; about the marvellous, raunchy New Zealand starlet Kimbra, in the most brilliant style wooing those who were smart enough to catch her on Saturday afternoon; about the high priestess of punk poetry Patti Smith taking everyone to a transcendent place on Saturday evening; about The Cure, in her wake, rolling out the hits in extraordinary measure; about Of Monsters and Men, who hit No.1 this week in Ireland with their very fine debut album My Head Is An Animal, pulling three times the anticipated crowd to the Crawdaddy arena on Sunday, so that the audience – enjoying the music even though they couldn't see the stage – spilled out onto the hill surrounding the tent; and about Glen Hansard, who brought the same Crawdaddy tent to a magnificent and emotional close at midnight on the final night.