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Electric Picnic: An Irish Festival without Irish Beer

Only in Ireland when you are sitting on a bus with a tent and sleeping bag, splatters of mud around your ankles would a kind elderly woman ask you ‘Were you up at the festival?’ Electric Picnic was back and as the organisers claimed it was bigger and better than previous years. You could say it was unfortunate the weather but only the Irish would make the most of it. The campsite was a muslide, tents waterlogged, clothes damp yet that didn’t stop every single person have a smile on their face as the return of Electric Picnic took place.

It goes without saying that Electric Picnic attracts a wide variety of people. Yes, there are the main music acts on stage (the main attractions) which a large majority of people there for the main acts but there was craft villages with people making and selling homemade and handmade products, there was talks on music, comedy, food and drink. There was a bit of everything for everyone. Initially I was pleased to see on entering the festival area, a large white tent supporting local Laois product. It was a busy tent with many curious onlookers. There has been a major change in people’s mindset since the Covid pandemic towards buying and supporting local. Many new businesses were founded and grew during the pandemic and I thought Electric Picnic was an amazing opportunity for people to promote, advertise and sell their produce with a huge footfall every day. Having walked on past the Laois local produce tent having browsed what it had to offer, I was hopeful to find some more sustainable and craft produce (especially a craft beer). The number of craft beer options at the whole festival areas stood at one. I could only find one IPA at every alcohol stand I went to. At that it wasn’t even an Irish craft beer. Lagunitas IPA is a subsidiary of Heineken. Although tasty we couldn’t understand why a local microbrewery wasn’t present at the festival. Not only were the craft beer consumers devoid massively of a craft beer, it was an amazing opportunity to promote local produce. It is festivals like this that we can create a culture change towards a healthier and more sustainable Ireland. It was a hugely missed opportunity. We implore Electric Picnic organisers next year to embrace the importance and need for a change from mass produced beer to local sustainable craft beer. There is an endless number of microbreweries in the nearby vicinity including River Shannon Brewery. We would love to see next year a midland festival support midlands alcohol as opposed to support the mass produced beer, it would help the culture change that is needed in Ireland!

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