Electric Picnic organiser Melvin Benn has explained the decision to move the popular Salty Dog area of the festival to inside the arena at today’s press launch on the site in Stradbally.
Local and national media have been give a tour of the site this morning and spoke to Melvin Benn on stage as prepartions continue ahead of this weekend’s 15th Electric Picnic.
Among the topics he addressed was the controversial decision to move the Salty Dog area, the potential to make the festival bigger, the dangers of drugs and why punters should be wary of ticket touts and fake tickets that may be in circulation.
“I wanted to create Freetown and I wanted Freetown to be part of the arena,” he said.
“Salty Dog is smack bang in the middle of what was the existing arena and Freetown. It actually feels perfect. A sort of an extension.
“It puts Berlin House in the middle of the arena, Salty Dog in the midde of the arena. Hazelwood in the middle of the arena. It makes the whole thing bigger in terms of what the arena entertainment is.
“Change always has consequences and I think what we’re doing is a real positive change for the Elecrtic Picnic.”
With the change in the layout it means that the arena has now extended and moved closer to the campsites.
He also said the festival organisers have a “zero tolerance” aprroach to drugs and urged people to be responsible.
“Searching will be vigorous,” he said. “Ultimately it’s about people making their own choices. Illegal drugs are illegal for specific reasons – what’s in the drugs people don’t know
“Ultimately drugs are unsafe and ask people to respect that.”
Given that the festival started off with 10,000 in attendance and it’s now attracting over 50,000 and is sold out, how big can it actually become?
“There seems to be demand and I would like to respond to that demand,” he added.
“I’ll make an assessment after this year’s festival. It feels to me and potentially we can try and meet that demand.
“It’s about the space, campsite, the guards. I’m not going to put a number on it. I haven’t calculated it.”
While he said there isn’t much he could do about touts, he did say people should be wary, especially in relation to fake tickets.
“Fake tickets are a waste of money.”