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9 things not to be missed at Electric Picnic this year

9 things not to be missed at Electric Picnic this year


by Sarah Finnan
29th Aug 2023

Each year, dedicated music lovers pack their camping gear and get ready to rough it in a rain-soaked field in Co Laois for the biggest festival of the year.

Taking place from the 1st to the 3rd of September (that’s this weekend lest you forget), Electric Picnic is Ireland’s largest music and arts festival. Held on the grounds of Stradbally Hall in Co. Laois, the festival is expected to welcome 70,000 people this year.

From music to art, theatre, comedy, food and holistic health, here are nine things not to be missed at EP 2023. 

Boots Beauty Box

With the weather looking less than ideal this weekend, the thought of getting glam in a soggy tent may not appeal to you… in which case, the Boots Beauty Box should be your first port of call. 

Just announcing a new three-year partnership with Live Nation, Boots Ireland is now the official premium beauty partner at Electric Picnic. Festival goers will be able to find the very stylish Boots Beauty Box at the Pink Moon campsite where you’ll have the opportunity to book in for a complimentary 15-minute makeup application. Other beauty services on offer will include brows, lashes, full-eye looks, tan top-ups and nail applications – all incorporating top-tier Irish and international beauty brands available at Boots.

Open from 10am-6pm across all three days of the festival, last appointments are at 5pm each day. Don’t forget to pop into the guest area before you leave where there will be fun interactive experiences for visitors and competitions to win products and other beauty treats. 

Dyson Styling Zone

The Dyson Styling Zone is making it’s debut at Stradbally Hall this year to help keep your gruaig in good nick all weekend long… dry shampoo can only do so much! 

Also located at the Pink Moon campsite, you’ll be able to call in for dry styling experiences with the team of stylists, learn how to recreate salon-worthy styles yourself and get hands-on tutorials with some of the latest Dyson technology. All slots are now booked but walk-ins will be accepted. 

Sauna and hot tubs

From my experience, scheduling in some self-care is paramount to making it through the weekend in one piece. Whether that’s taking 15 minutes to do a sheet mask before you emerge from your tent or booking a session at the sauna or hot tub, looking after yourself should be top priority. 

If the latter appeals to you, a 45-minute slot at the sauna costs €20 per person and can be booked here. Hot tub sessions run for 50 minutes and can accommodate up to six people. More on that here.

Pop-up Aldi

You’ve made a list and you’ve checked it twice… but somehow, you’ve still arrived at Stradbally without the essentials. Enter Aldi who will have a pop-up supermarket on site where you can stock up on everything from protein bars to last-minute camping supplies. 

DJ Kev, better known as Kevin the Carrot, will also be in-store, hopping behind the decks to perform exclusive live sets over the weekend with live events, cooking demonstrations, and competitions galore also scheduled across the weekend.

Find it somewhere between the Andy Warhol and Jimi Hendrix campsites.  

Little Picnic 

Brought to you by the same people behind Kaleidoscope, Ireland’s family-friendly music and arts festival, Little Picnic is a colourful and enchanting area designed specifically with families in mind.

Open to anyone attending EP with kids, it’s located on the back lawn of Stradbally Estate from 2pm to 7pm on Friday, and from 11am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. If you don’t have a Family Camping wristband, Little Picnic wristbands are available to pick up onsite. 

Highlights include a kids’ disco with DJ Will Softly, a treasure hunt with the Gaeity School of Acting and a tie-dye workshop with Lollipop Apparel.

Mother After Dark 

One of the country’s finest LGBTQ+ club nights, Mother is bringing the show on the road to Stradbally. From dance-party drag to the best DJs and performers, they’ll be hosting a late-night queer dance party (11pm-4am) in the woods. 

Over the course of the weekend, Ruth Kavanagh and Ghostboy will be joined by a selection of special guests including Kelly-Anne Byrne and Billy Bunzari as well as drag decadence Pixie Woo, Anziety, Shaqira Knightly, Annie Queeries, Faux Joli, Richard Joke and Avatar Guille.

The Mother Dancers, a group of professional queer dance artists based in Dublin, will also return this year as will OINK (Out in Kink), a Dublin-based kink and fetish social club. 

Theatre of Food

Celebrating 15 years of flavour-packed fun at Electric Picnic, the Theatre of Food will play host to the hottest food talents in Ireland’s food culture.

A must-visit for foodies, stop by and get your fill of fabulous food to keep your energy stores up over the sold-out three-day festival weekend. From Galway’s world-conquering Dough Bros, famed for their exquisite Neapolitan style pizza, to Irish chef, restaurateur and author JP McMahon, Smokin’ Soul from Wexford and 51CornMarket from Cork – Theatre of Food showcases and celebrates all that is best about Ireland’s food culture.  

And with cuisines ranging from Argentinian street food to Middle Eastern mezze, Japanese sushi and Malaysian masterpieces, there’s sure to be something for every palate.

The stages

With over 27 stages, realms, areas and venues to explore, you definitely won’t be bored at Electric Picnic this year. From new additions such as Croí – described as the “beating heart of community and calm” – to old favourites, you’ll be treated to music, spoken word, comedy, theatre, debate, art, workshops, wellness, and everything in between. 

Stop off at the comedy arena to catch up with Aisling Bea, Foil Arms & Hog, call into the MindField area for some spoken word from CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, the I’m Grand Mam boys and Jenny Keane or show face at Trailer Park, Electric Picnic’s world of graceful lunacy – wherever you go, you’re sure to be given the full Irish welcome. 

The line-up

Putting the spotlight on Irish and international talent alike, this year’s line-up includes everyone from Nell Mescal to The Mary Wallopers, The Murder Capital and Rick Astley. 

Billie Eilish headlines the Friday night alongside Niall Horan (and a very mysterious “special guest”… we’re manifesting a One Direction reunion). On Saturday, Fred again and Paolo Nutini take to the stage while The Killers and The Script close out the festival on Sunday.

Imagery via Electric Picnic