The managing director of Festival Republic, Melvin Benn has said it's a "joy" to see Electric Picnic back at Stradbally again. The music festival kicks off on Friday for the first time since 2019, having missed two years during the pandemic.

Herman Kein, Ainoha Segrera, Niamh O'Flannagain and Julia Rayquin from Ballet Ireland performing Rooster by the Rolling Stones at the Electric Picnic press day on Tuesday

Speaking on site in Laois on Tuesday he told RTÉ that regular festival goers will see a few changes to the layout including a new location for the Main Stage and Mindfield, as well as new areas including Fishtown, curated by Jerry Fish.

Un-Laoised: The must-see acts at Electric Picnic

Fish said: "Everyone works so hard on this site to create unique spaces and adventures so I am hoping, as always, that this will be a festival within a festival."

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New artists appearing at the festival this year include Ballet Ireland.

A new initiative at Electric Picnic this year will see the HSE carry out anonymous drug testing as part of a drug harm reduction campaign. Concert goers can anonymously submit substances to a surrender bin and they will then be analysed, and the HSE can communicate if dangerous substances are circulating.

The Coronas performing on main stage

Benn welcomed the initiative. He said while he wished they wouldn’t, some people will take prohibited substances at the festival, as they do in society in general and if they do, the HSE facility is available to them.

He emphasised however that the law surrounding prohibited drugs at Electric Picnic has not changed, he said the gardai will be as vigilant as ever, as will the on-site security teams, and he said illegal drug taking is prohibited and will be clamped down on.

Pitch perfect: Deirdre Crookes from Lindsey Holmes Publicity checking out the tents at Electric Picnic

Also at today’s media launch were performers including The Coronas and Róisín O.

Danny O’Reilly, lead singer of the Coronas said bands always look forward to playing at and attending Electric Picnic, and he said that following the closure during the pandemic, it was amazing to see people working hard behind the scenes again.

"It's just such a good buzz here now that we are getting prepared for it. I'm so excited for the weekend and delighted to be back.

"It's obviously the quintessential biggest Irish festival of the year and for bands like us it's something we always look forward to. Even if we're not on the bill, we want to come down as punters. We're excited about enjoying the weekend and seeing other acts, and just having the craic."

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Performer Róisín O said Electric Picnic was her favourite weekend of the year - for performers, she said it's "all your people coming together".

Speaking about the acts she can't wait to see, Róisín said there are so many on her list.

"I'm playing myself on Friday at the Islands Edge stage, but I'm loving Artic Monkeys. Obviously, The Coronas, I can't wait to see them.

"Also, Snow Patrol and Joanne McNally and Vogue Williams on the Main Stage on Sunday. I'm dying to see them," she added.

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