The techie’s guide to Electric Picnic

31 Aug 2012

The main stage at Electric Picnic yesterday, before the revelry (image via Electric Ireland's Facebook page)

Got your tent, sleeping bag, airbed, wellies, toilet roll and a stack of cans sorted for your trip down to Stradbally this weekend? For the hardcore tech fans among us, spending a weekend tech-free is fairly impossible, so we’ve put together this quick guide to help you on your way.

The phone

Unless you’ve got a vintage Nokia 3310, chances are your phone’s battery won’t last the whole weekend, and if you’re bringing a smartphone it probably will be dead by tomorrow. If you reckon you can’t go without your phone but don’t fancy queuing at the GigLocker to charge up, bring along a portable charger like the Sony Portable USB Power Supply – just don’t forget to charge it up before you go!

To preserve the life of your phone throughout the festival, use it only when necessary and switch on power-saving settings where available. With a smartphone, every time the display is on the battery is being drained, so bring a watch and stop checking your phone for the time.

Another way to minimise your phone usage is to bring a disposable camera. Chances are there will be moments this weekend that you won’t want to forget, but instead of whipping out your precious phone camera, take snaps the old-fashioned way – commit it to film and relish in the thought that no one can demand you delete the dodgy looking ones or to add a Lo-Fi filter to make it look totes amaze. Make sure to buy a disposable with a flash, though, otherwise you haven’t a hope of capturing much outside of the high afternoon sun (if you even seen sun!).

The apps

Unlike many major festivals these days, the heads at Electric Picnic haven’t released an official app. There are unofficial alternatives available, but bear in mind that the information on these hasn’t been validated by the organisers.

As an alternative, you can always just download the schedule and site map to your phone for offline access without any need for an app. Some apps offer easier views and interaction, and others even claim they can tell you where your tent is. Ideally, find an app that doesn’t require an internet connection, as this may not only be difficult to find, but will also put more strain on your battery.

The social media

Make sure you’re following @electricpicnic on Twitter for all the latest festival updates. (They have a Facebook page too, but, really, who wants to wait for that app to load?)

The official hashtag for the event is the wonderfully brief #ep2012 (not #ep12, though that is proving popular), leaving you with a whole 133 characters to let the world know how much fun you’re having. Instagram users appear to be primarily using the longer #electricpicnic tag for their heavily filtered photos, most of which seem to be of festival clobber, from gold wellies to tiger-print onesies.

The dancefloor

In terms of festival entertainment, the most impressive tech spectacle comes from Electric Picnic’s official energy sponsor, Electric Ireland (oh, how apt!). The Electric Ireland Dancergy floor opens up at 7pm tonight for a dance session directed by none other than Mr Motivator.

The sustainable energy dancefloor is powered by the dancing feet of those upon it, lighting up like the pavement beneath Michael Jackson – sort of.

And one more thing

Finally, even if you’re the biggest gadget geek on the face of the planet, don’t be this guy and give us all a bad name.

iPad in concert (via

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.