Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.01 2 Aug 2021


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Electric Picnic should not take place next month, a member of Laois County Council has said.

The organisers of the event, Festival Republic, say it will go ahead this September.

Managing director Melvin Benn told RTÉ earlier today that he's "100% expecting" it to go ahead as he hadn't been told otherwise.

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The festival had been due to take place on September 3rd-5th, although in June the dates were moved to the 24th-26th instead to give it a “better chance” of going ahead.

Organisers wrote to the Taoiseach last week with proposals of how it could take place at "full capacity" of 70,000 people - with reports that only vaccinated people would be allowed to attend.

However, Fianna Fáil Councillor Paschal McEvoy told Lunchtime Live it can't be allowed to go ahead as planned despite the success of the vaccine programme so far.

He said: “We still haven’t come up with great numbers going to gigs.

“Going from nothing to 70,000 is not doable, fair, healthy or good for public health. It’s definitely not good for the people of Stradbally and surrounding areas.”

Currently, restrictions remain in place for all indoor and outdoor events, with only small-scale trial concerts and festivals having taken place so far.

Restrictions are gradually being eased, with 40,000 people allowed to attend the All Ireland finals in the coming weeks.

Cllr McEvoy said that’s different to a weekend-long music festival, as people will be two seats apart in the stadium.

He said: “I accept that things are going to go ahead… but over a period of time. At the moment, we’re eight weeks out from Electric Picnic.

“We need a bit of time. Going from zero to 70,000 in eight weeks… it’s absolute madness.”

Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin has previously she’ll be working with other Government ministers throughout August “to define a path to reopening the live entertainment sector”.

Main image: File photo. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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