Kieran O’Mahony checks out an ‘Electric’ line-up of local chefs, musicians, writers and artists, all heading for Ireland’s biggest music and arts festival which takes place this weekend in Co Laois
SEASONED Electric Picnickers will no doubt already be giddily counting down the days and hoping the sun stays shining at this sold out event, which takes place this weekend in its regular home at Stradbally Hall in County Laois.
From the mouth-watering Theatre of Food to the thought-provoking Mindfield area of talks and workshop events, it’s literally 600 acres of music, arts and wonderment.
As always, West Cork is well represented throughout the festival, ranging from musical acts and comedians to renowned foodies, writers and more.
This year’s extensive Theatre of Food line-up is once again curated by West Cork food writing duo John and Sally McKenna, and the production team there include Maria and Jim Kennedy from Atlantic Sea Kayaking in Skibbereen.
April Dannan of Rebel Foods will be participating too, along with West Cork’s own Susan Steele, head of the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency and member of the legendary Steele cheese-making family.
Chef Caitlin Ruth of Deasy’s restaurant in Ring will masterfully take charge of the Theatre of Food kitchen for a time, while music acts playing over the weekend will include Jessie Kennedy and West Cork resident Maurice Seezer.
Comedy will also feature this year and Ballydehob’s Eileen and Marilyn, and Bernie the Nun from Clonakilty, will guarantee some laughs.
Global Green, the pop-up eco village will be presented by Cultivate, the sustainability collective now based in Cloughjordan in Co Tipperary.
It will once again be co-ordinating Electric Picnic’s pop-up village of activists, artists, makers, musicians, foodies, slam poets and hackers.
Matt Mills from the Goleen Harbour Project will be co-hosting this year’s event with Davie Phillip of Cultivate, and Matt will hosting some of the panel discussions on sustainability, and as well co-ordinating events at the busy ecovillage.
From energetic morning yoga sessions to drumming and rustic games, it’s an ideal area to hang out and also get involved in a range of events. This community of culture creatives will also include Gorta, Coillte, Irish Seed Savers, and many more.
The Hot House is a new addition to Trailerpark for 2017 and festival goers will be thrilled to visit this restaurant with full service, housed inside a giant polytunnel. Diners can feast on haloumi from Cork, or cake from Ballinspittle’s Diva Boutique Café.
Exploring creativity is the theme of this year’s Mindfield and taking part in the Amnesty Hour, which will debate the ‘Repeal the 8th’ campaign will be Kinsale actress and comedian Tara Flynn, who will be joined by panellists including Colm O’Gorman and Roisin Ingle.
Talos, led by Eoin French and featuring several West Cork musicians, including the Sampson brothers from Toe Head – Josh, Alex, Sony – and Sam McNicholl from Leap, have recently been added to the music line-up.
The band have enjoyed a triumphant year following the release of their debut album ‘Wild Alee’ earlier this year. Glen Hansard and guests will be joining Interference at the Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow, which is sure to be packed once again.
Cork is also well represented in the musical stakes of course, with The Frank & Walters, Shookrah, Stephanie Rainey, Lyra, Jack O’Rourke, The Ceilí Allstars, Pontious Pilot & The Naildrivers, Marlene Enright and Freezerroom all showcasing some of the best music that the rebel county has to offer.