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26th Aug 2021

Arts Minister Catherine Martin exploring “all options” for Electric Picnic to take place

Stephen Porzio

This includes staging the festival as a pilot event.

Arts Minister Catherine Martin is “exploring all options” to facilitate the holding of Electric Picnic, according to her department.

One of the options being examined by Martin is designating the three-day music festival as a pilot event.

The news comes amid ongoing uncertainty as to whether Electric Picnic will go ahead next month in Stradbally in Laois.

While earlier in the month, Laois County Council refused a licence for the festival citing public health advice, comments earlier in the week from Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan have led to calls for the decision to be reversed immediately.

The CMO was asked during a briefing if there would be any justification from a public health perspective as to why an outdoor concert event, such as Electric Picnic, could not proceed if there was only vaccinated people in attendance.

“We wouldn’t have a concern from a public health point-of-view to express about an event that happened that was confined to vaccinated people,” Holohan replied.

However, while concert promotion company MCD reapplied to Laois County Council for a licence to hold Electric Picnic with only fully vaccinated attendees and workers following the CMO’s comments, the council said on Wednesday it could not reconsider its refusal.

On Thursday, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media told JOE: “Minister [Catherine Martin] is exploring all options to facilitate the holding of the Electric Picnic festival, including designating it as a pilot event.

“There has been contact between the promoters and the Minister’s Department on the proposal. She is engaging with colleagues on the request and examining the legal position in the context of the Government’s ongoing urgent deliberations on the next phase of reopening in light of the latest NPHET advice.”

The festival had been scheduled to take place on 24-26 September.

Main image via Sam Boal/

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