Main image – public domain
The last big festival of the year, Electric Picnic, takes place in Stradbally, County Laois from Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September. Main stage acts include Massive Attack, N.E.R.D. and Kendrick Lamar, but there is also an excellent comedy tent, the Theatre of Food and the Other Voices stage.
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 wellies and vintage kimono and read on…
‘I didn’t see any bands but I had an amaaaazing falafel.’
Make sure you plan ahead for your journey to the Picnic and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the festival site. If heavy rain is forecast on the day you’re heading down, this will probably mean more people taking their cars which will add to 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 and our Twitter feed @AARoadwatch but, of course, not while driving.
Festival goers are advised by the organisers to follow signage and directions from the Gardaí when arriving at the festival and not to rely on what your sat nav says. There are different routes into the site depending on the direction you are coming from and whether you are being dropped off, a weekend ticket holder, a weekend camper, bringing a camper van/caravans or if you’re a day ticket holder. Consider car-pooling and make sure you have a map or sat nav with you and you’re familiar with your route before you set off.
On the M7, both northbound and southbound traffic can exit at J16 Portlaoise East towards Broomfield R/A and onto the Stradbally Rd before following signage. Northbound traffic can also exit at J17 Portlaoise Centre and follow the signs. Bear in mind that reduced speed limits are in place both ways on the N7/M7 between J8 Johnstown and J11 M9 as part of ongoing works that are in place until at least early 2019 and these will slow traffic between these junctions. Factor this into your journey and allow for extra time.
From the M8 northbound, motorists can exit at J3 Rathdowney (Abbeyleix) and follow signage through Ballacolla, Abbeyleix, Ballyroan and onto the site.
Keep in mind if you’re coming from Cork, that the M8 is completely closed both ways all this week for works between J13 Mitchelstown South and J14 Fermoy North. The motorway is scheduled to reopen at 8pm on Friday (31st). Diversions will be in place via the Old N8 (R639) which is a parallel route to the motorway.
On the N80 via Carlow, travel straight 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 are clearly signposted and festival-goers are urged to follow these routes to avoid unnecessary delay and traffic disruption. Gardaí will be on point duty.
Parking is free at the festival. Exact locations for parking and directions will be available here nearer the time.
There is a disabled access campsite at EP with dedicated stewards providing 24-hour cover. More info here.
Bus transport will be available from a variety of operators:
On the Friday, Marathon Coaches will leave from 3Arena and George’s Quay in Dublin, with departures starting at 7am. From 7am to 3pm, buses will leave every 30 minutes and from 3pm to 6pm, every 60 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday, buses will leave from George’s Quay at 10am, 11am and 12pm. The last bus returning from Stradbally on the Monday will be at 1pm.
See their website for details on pricing here.
TravelMaster will run services from over 23 locations across Ireland direct to the Festival’s own on-site coach parking on the grounds of Stradbally. Their website will have further detail.
ConcertBus.ie will serve two routes with nine pick up points en route to Electric Picnic. Details are available on their website here.
Kelly Travel will provide weekend trips and day trips to and from the Picnic from Limerick (via Nenagh and Roscrea), from Cork (via Mitchelstown and Cahir) and from Tipperary (via Cashel). Book online, by calling 061 384422 or by email.
Bus Éireann will be running frequent services from Dublin to Stradbally on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with return buses on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Electric Picnic timetable can be found here, or by phone on 1850 836 611, 8:30am to 6pm daily.
Portlaoise is the closest station to the festival, and a shuttle bus will run between there and the site, operated by Martleys. It costs €5 each way and no booking is required. The shuttle bus will run on the hour and half hour. To check train times and scheduled rail works, visit the Irish Rail website.
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 €8.25 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.