Electric Picnic is one of Ireland's biggest and best-known music festivals, but as this year's MindField component once again proved, it's also so much more than a music festival.
The eclectic music festival took place in Stradbally, Co. Laois September 1 - 3, drawing headliners such as Duran Duran, The XX and London Grammar to its main stage. Revelers seeking some roaring good conversation, intimate music performances, and wide-ranging intellectual stimulation flocked to the MindField area of the festival grounds, run this year with support from Creative Ireland, the country-wide, government-led initiative to promote creativity, culture, community, and well-being.
From mental health to spoken word art, from coding to political activism, from the science of our increasingly online world to Irish language entertainment, check out some of the highlights. Read more about the full MindField program here.
For 2017, the ever-popular Leviathan Stage introduced a new format called ILLUMINATE! with the Rubberbandits’ Blindboy Boatclub at the helm. There, Ireland’s leading artists gave illustrated and unique insights into their creative processes and influences.
Author and lauded BBC foreign correspondent Fergal Keane hosted another new addition called My Secret Planet. Dubbed as a cross between radio stalwarts Desert Island Discs and On the Psychiatrist’s Couch, it rooted out the cultural influences of some of Electric Picnic’s most fascinating artists.
Soundings returned with its dynamic mix of live podcast and tunes. Hosts Lisa Hannigan and Dylan Haskins chatted to Saint Sister, among many other special guests. Fresh from his Galway International Film Fleadh, musician and filmmaker Nick Kelly presented a pre-premiere of his award-winning film ‘The Drummer and the Keeper’.
Check out this clip from The Drummer And The Keeper + we have director Nick Kelly for a Q&A on Friday at 18.30 https://t.co/lxkqjGJgty— Irish Film Institute (@IFI_Dub) September 4, 2017
Broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan and comedian Al Porter teamed up again for Miriam and Al’s Sunday Brunch – a light-hearted review of the Sunday papers with special guests and music.
Amnesty Hour returned with It’s Time: Repeal the 8th (ahead of next year’s expected referendum) with panelists Tara Flynn, Róisín Ingle, Anne Ingle, Lynn Ruane and Colm O’Gorman.
There was a special Irish Research Council discussion on the Science of Online Dating, and Paddy Cullivan presented his new political satire show ‘26 + 6 = 1’ about a future United Ireland; Tommy Graham’s History Ireland Hedge School presented two fascinating panels on the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Punk – 1977.
The Word Stage was jam-packed with slam poetry, the best of Irish and UK grime and hip hop, live bands, theatre and comedy, including blistering sets from Mango and Mathman, Mr Hovis, festival favourites Good Man Sheila, Cronin, Ska’s Good Gravy, Movment, rappers Stone and Jezreel, Áine Tyrell and SON (aka Susan O’Neill).
Purveyors of science-meets-the-arts, Science Gallery Dublin hotfooted it to Laois following its record-breaking Sound Check exhibit. Coder Dojo also had daily creative workshops for young people in coding, gaming and music making.
The Theatre Stage, this year in association with Dublin Theatre Festival, featured a fresh and fiery mix of theatre, comedy, slam poetry and Irish dancing. The line-up includes anarchic comedian Paul Currie, Bohemians FC’s poet in residence Lewis Kennedy and Nigerian-born, Longford-raised spoken word artist Felispeaks as well as a one-woman show from actress Clare Dunne, The Humours of Bandon by Mags MacAuliffe, George Bush and the Children by Dick Walsh; Brownbread Mix Tape's The Definitive View; and MALAPROP's BlackCatFishMusketeer.
By night, the Theatre Stage played host to an amazing mental health-oriented program assembled by A Lust for Life – Pieta House, winners of the 2016 Social Entrepreneurs Award, together with the Wall of Sound installation in the heart of the MindField arena.
Celebrating its tenth MindField appearance, An Puball Gaeilge showcased just how the range and choice of Irish language entertainers has grown. With over 30 bands, the likes of Seo Linn, IMLÉ, Aeons and singers Rónán Ó Snodaigh and Dominic Mac Giolla Bhríde performed at three cabaret style events hosted by Raidió Na Life, Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí and online Irish magazine Nós.
Irish language comedians Gaeilgáirí split sides, while the first Irish language Barbershop Choir will took to the stage too. Oireachtas Na Gaeilge presentedwill present an hour of traditional music with sean nós dancing and singing followed, of course, by a stomping céilí. Tomás Ó hAodha's Irish language Ted Talks, Imbolc, livened up Saturday and Sunday morning.
Fíbín set a theatrical stage with their walkabout confessional show, while Brian Fleming performed excerpts from his unforgettable one-man show, 'Gis a Shot of Yer Bongos'. Seán and Niall Mac Donnchadha brought their hilarious survival guide to Ireland to the Puball Gaeilge stage.
Were you one of the lucky festival-goers in attendance at Electric Picnic? Tell us about your experience in the comments!