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It looks like Electric Picnic isn’t going to go ahead this year after all


By Sarah Finnan
05th Aug 2021

Electric Picnic

It looks like Electric Picnic isn’t going to go ahead this year after all

Laois County Council has refused to grant Electric Picnic organisers a licence for this year’s festival.

In another devastating blow to the live music sector, it’s been revealed that Electric Picnic probably won’t be allowed to go ahead this year with Laois County Council (LCC) refusing to grant a licence for the annual festival to go ahead as expected.

Traditionally taking place in late August/early September, the festivities were due to get underway at the later date of September 24th this year. Announcing that the event would be pushed out by a further three weeks earlier this summer, organisers hoped that delaying the festivities would spell good news for their hard work. Such was not the case however and local authorities said that their decision was made in line with the “most up-to-date public health advice” available to them. 

The second consecutive year that the festival has been postponed, organisers had previously expressed desires to run the event at full capacity. Wanting to get EP back to its former glory, they had big plans for this year’s festival with visions of a 70,000-strong crowd descending upon Stradbally for the two-day event. 

This would not be in keeping with current government advice regarding outdoor gatherings though and despite the promise of increased Covid-19 safety measures, LCC refused to grant the team a licence to hold the festival.

“Laois County Council has today made the decision to refuse a licence to hold the 2021 Electric Picnic event at Stradbally, Co Laois,” a statement from the council noted.

“The decision has been made following the most up-to-date public health advice made available to the Council from the HSE.

“Furthermore, it is noted that under current government measures for the management of Covid-19, events of this nature are restricted to an attendance of 500 people only.”

Several Laois councillors also commented that it would be “irresponsible” to proceed with the event. Calling for the festival to be cancelled over ongoing public health concerns, Fianna Fáil’s Paschal McEvoy described the proposed festival as “madness”, later adding, “It is too many, too soon”.

According to Councillor McEvoy, the vast majority of locals were also “totally opposed” to the idea of it going ahead. “They’re not one bit happy. There has been absolutely no consultation with anyone in the town or surrounding areas in relation to this festival going ahead,” he said on RTÉ’s Drivetime programme. 

Still adamant that the festival will go ahead, organisers wrote to Taoiseach Micheál Martin during the week, outlining how events such as Electric Picnic could feasibly go ahead. Later publishing a list of 12 reasons why the festival should be given the green light, the team said that only fully vaccinated individuals would be allowed to attend, also claiming that the measures they proposed “would be even more restrictive than the current regulations applicable to indoor hospitality”.   

The decision comes after the country trialled a number of outdoor music events earlier this summer – the first in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens, with a second gig shortly after on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. Each welcoming 500 and 3,500 guests respectively, both events seemed to run without a hitch but their successes were, unfortunately, not enough to guarantee official approval for Electric Picnic to go ahead this year.