Electric Picnic 2019: the AA Roadwatch guide

Photograph of a crowd at the Electric Picnic Main Stage.
Photo credit: Conal McSweeney

The last big music festival of the year, Electric Picnic, takes place in Stradbally, County Laois from Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September. Main stage acts for this year include Hozier, Florence and the Machine, The Strokes and The 1975.

Here at Roadwatch, not only do we know the junction numbers of all the major motorways in Ireland off by heart (J7 on the M8? Eh, it’s Cashel North of course), we also know everything there is to know about getting your 85 packets of wet wipes and flower crown to Stradbally. Pop on your bucket hat and vintage kimono and read on…

GETTING THERE

Festival organisers strongly advise leaving plenty of time to get to the festival on Friday. The first act, David Keenan, is due on the Main Stage at 6pm, with Billie Eilish following at 7:30pm.

Expect extra traffic around Portlaoise and Stradbally throughout the weekend, especially on Friday and during peak times. The busiest spots are likely to be the N80 at Stradbally, exiting the M7 at J16 Portlaoise East, and around Abbeyleix on the N77.

If heavy rain is forecast on the day you’re heading down, this will probably mean more people taking their cars and longer delays. If you are leaving after work on the Friday, keep in mind that there will also be rush hour traffic to deal with, which will slow you down.

You are too blessed to be stressed out by traffic jams though. Our AA Routeplanner is fed live traffic information from AA Roadwatch so you can see what the traffic is like on your route, plus any incidents that may add to your journey time. Keep an eye on it, the AA Roadwatch Newsroom and our Twitter feed @AARoadwatch but, of course, not while driving.

Aerial view of Electric Picnic festival site.

BY CAR

Festival goers are advised by the organizers to follow signage and directions from the Gardaí when arriving at the festival site. DO NOT rely on what your sat-nav says once you near the venue. There are different routes into the site depending on the direction you are coming from and your ticket type. Strongly consider car-pooling for a more sustainable weekend.

DIRECTIONS

If travelling on the M7 southbound, exit at J16 Portlaoise East, join the Old N7 (R445) towards Portlaoise, and follow signage for Stradbally. On the M7 northbound, Friday traffic should exit at J17 Portlaoise Centre and follow signage. On Thursday, Saturday and Sunday northbound traffic can also exit at J16 and follow the above instructions. If coming from the east, bear in mind reduced speed limits remain in place for works on the M7 between J8 Johnstown and J11 M9; however, three lanes are now open in both directions.

On Friday, motorists on the M8 northbound should exit at J3 Rathdowney and travel towards Abbeyleix. From there, continue through Ballyroan and follow signage for Stradbally. Every other day, traffic on the M8 should merge onto the M7 at J1 and follow the instructions for the M7 northbound above.

Traffic on the M6 can exit the motorway at J5 Tullamore and head south on the N52 to Tullamore itself. From there, take the N80 to Portlaoise, join the Mountrath Rd (R445) and continue onto the M7 northbound at J18 Portlaoise West (see M7 instructions above).

On the N80 via Carlow, travel straight all the way to Stradbally. Motorists can also travel to the event via the Stradbally/Athy Rd (R428).

All routes leading to designated parking areas for the event will be clearly sign-posted.

The Abbeyleix to Stadbally Rd (R427) is closed to through traffic until Monday (2nd). Festival traffic for car parks is only being permitted along this road.

CAR PARKING

Parking is free at the festival and there are multiple car parks on site for different ticket holders. The following car parks allow access to all general camping areas: Red (on the Abbeyleix Rd), Green (off the N80), Yellow (on the local Timahoe Rd). Day Ticket holders follow signage for the Green Car Park and Family Weekend ticket holders can use the Family Car Park in Stradbally Village.

DISABLED ACCESS

There is a disabled access campsite with dedicated stewards providing 24-hour cover. More info here.

BUS IT REAL GOOD

Bus transport will be available from a variety of operators:

BUS ÉIREANN

Bus Éireann will run a regular service from George’s Quay in Dublin direct to the festival on Friday, along with a limited service on Saturday and Sunday. A number of return services will operate on Monday. Direct buses will also leave Galway, Limerick and Cork bus stations on Friday morning. Check their full Electric Picnic timetable here.

IRISH CONCERT TRAVEL

Irish Concert Travel will run buses to the festival serving Sligo, Carrick-on-Shannon, Longford, Mullingar, Castlebar, Claremorris, Roscommon, Galway and Athlone. Booking is available here.

TRAVEL MASTER

TravelMaster will operate services from over 50 pick-up points nationwide direct to the Electric Picnic’s own on-site coach parking. Their website has all the details.

MARATHON COACHES

On the Friday, Marathon Coaches will leave Custom House Quay in Dublin for the Picnic, with departures starting at 7am. From 7am to 10am, buses will leave every 30 minutes and then on the hour every hour until 6pm. Buses will also leave North Wall Quay on Friday every hour, 7am to 11am. On Saturday and Sunday, buses will leave George’s Quay at 10am, 11am and 12pm. All tickets are for return trips only. See their website to book.

KELLY TRAVEL

Kelly Travel will provide trips to and from the Picnic from Limerick (via Nenagh and Roscrea), Cork (via Mitchelstown and Cahir), Ennis (via Loughrea and Kilbeggan) and Tipperary (via Cashel). Book online, by calling 061 384422 or by email.

CONCERTBUS.IE

Concertbus.ie will run return trips to the festival from Galway (via Loughrea, Ballinasloe and Athlone) and Castlebar (via Castlerea, Roscommon, Longford and Mullingar). Book online here.

BY TRAIN

Portlaoise is the closest station to the festival. To check train times and scheduled rail works, visit the Irish Rail website.

A shuttle bus will run between Portlaoise Station and the site. It costs €5 each way and no booking is required. The shuttle bus to the festival will run on the hour and half hour between 7:30am and 10pm each day.

WHAT IF I BREAK DOWN?

AA Patrols will be on standby in the Stradbally area over the weekend, ready to deal with festival breakdowns. AA Membership is available for as little as €10 per month and offers 24/7 emergency cover so while your new wellies may get stuck in the mud, your car won’t. See here for more.