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Electric Picnic festival refused licence by Laois County Council

The event’s promoter had said earlier this week he was confident it could go ahead.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE ELECTRIC PICNIC festival has been refused a licence to hold the event this year and looks set to be cancelled. 

Laois County Council released a statement this evening saying that the licence was not being granted for the event which traditionally takes place in Stradbally every summer.

The statement reads: “Laois County Council has today made the decision to refuse a licence to hold the 2021 Electric Picnic event at Stradbally, Co Laois.

“The decision has been made following the most up-to-date public health advice made available to the Council from the HSE.

“Furthermore, it is noted that under current government measures for the management of Covid-19, events of this nature are restricted to an attendance of 500 people only.”

On Monday, managing director of Festival Republic Melvin Benn said he was confident the event would go ahead. He said he based his optimism on the fact no one in Government had told him it would not be allowed.

Covid-19 rules currently limit numbers at the majority of organised outdoor events to 500 at venues with capacity in excess of 5,000.

While a number of test events have been staged, Ireland’s live music and entertainment sector remains effectively closed down due to coronavirus regulations.

The original dates for the festival were pushed back to the end of September in the hope that the vast majority of the population would be fully vaccinated by then.

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Local councillors Paschal McEvoy and Aisling Moran both said it would have been “irresponsible” to hold the event. 

Speaking to The Journal, Fianna Fáil councillor McEvoy said: “The local community as a whole will be happy with this decision but I would be of the opinion that most of them will be happy with it.

“There will be a loss to the local economy but money is one thing but your health is paramount and that overrides any other concerns.

“We have suffered 18 months of a pandemic and we can’t afford to have 70,000 people descend on a small community and possibly suffer the consequences at a later date. We will welcome it back with open arms next year – we love our Picnic, we have enjoyed it, and we look forward to it coming back next year.”

With reporting by Niall O’Connor

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