Festival was marred by the tragic death of a 20-year-old Dublin man
Arctic Monkeys closed Ireland’s 10th Electric Picnic festival last night with a set that included new track ‘Arabella’.
Taken from their forthcoming album ‘AM’, it was only the second time that the Sheffield band performed the song live following its debut at Zurich’s Open Air Festival on Friday. The band drew one of the biggest crowds of the festival in Stradbally, Co Laois, but the festival was marred by the death of a 20-year-old Dublin man.
Phil McConnell, from Malahide, died in the early hours of Saturday morning, after being found unconscious in a campsite by security. He had previous cardiac history. His death sparked a drugs warning from the festival’s organisers who asked Saturday night Main Stage closers Disclosure to make an announcement at the end of their set and warn concert-goers about some “potentially dodgy” ecstasy tablets being sold at the festival.
An announcement posted on the festival’s Twitter reads: “There may be some potentially dodgy ‘Blue Ghosts/Casper’ pills circulating online. We urge you Picnickers to be very careful, stay safe.” Blue Ghost and Casper are both slang terms used for ecstasy.
The 10th Electric Picnic birthday celebrations got underway on Friday (August 30) with only two of the festival’s five arena stages open and a scaled down number of acts performing. Dublin band My Bloody Valentine were an early highlight as they aired tracks from their latest album, ‘M B V’, before a ten-tier birthday cake was wheeled out on the Main Stage and cut by Friday night headliner, Fatboy Slim.
Saturday (August 31) saw Peace air their cover of Disclosure’s ‘White Noise’ for “possibly the last time ever”, while there was also notable sets from Savages, The Walkmen, Palma Violets and a packed Electric Arena for local favourites Little Green Cars, among others. In the Rankin Woods Stage, John Grant was joined by surprise guest Sinead O’Connor for a run-through his song, ‘Queen of Denmark’, while Billy Bragg took time to pay tribute to recently deceased Irish poet Seamus Heaney in the Electric Arena.
Bjork provided a challenging set on the festival’s Main Stage as she played tracks from her uncompromising ‘Biophilia’ album before Two Door Cinema Club and, later, Disclosure wrapped up proceedings.
Sunday (September 1)’s highlights included Irish band Vann Music on the Body & Soul tent, Johnny Marr airing The Smith’s ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ and Electronic’s ‘Getting Away With It’, as well as a Main Stage appearance by Franz Ferdinand.
As Arctic Monkeys closed the festival, Electric Picnic’s main organiser, Melvin Benn, announced he hopes to increase the festival’s capacity in 2014. This year’s festival brought with it the biggest crowd in the event’s ten-year history as 35,000 festival goers passed through the Stradbally Estate. Mr Benn said the site could hold another 5,000 people and he hopes to enter negotiations with the local council. It comes as organisers last week signed a deal to host another ten years of Electric Picnic at it’s home in Stradbally.