Belfast Telegraph

In Pictures: Fans brave mud to see Eminem and Black Eyed Peas at Oxegen festival in Punchestown

Torrential rain left 75,000 fans soaked as the Oxegen festival climaxed with an explosive performance by rappper Eminem last night.

Despite the rain, fans rated the three-day festival as a success.

“The rain at Oxegen almost makes it. It stops everyone being so concerned with how they're looking and makes them concentrate on the music,” said Rachel Hamilton (21), who with boyfriend Joseph McAnally (22), from Stamullen, Co Meath, cancelled their holiday to attend the event.

“Like last night when Muse were playing on the main stage. It was great, everybody standing together in the rain watching them.

“The weather made their stage show even better with the raindrops getting caught in the light,” added Joseph.

“This is my third time at Oxegen and it's rained every time,” remarked the couple's friend Eric Strong (22) also from Stamullen.

The wet conditions did produce mud but nowhere near the scale that has turned this and other Irish festival sites into quagmires in previous years. This was due to work on the site by production crews from Saturday night through Sunday morning.

“The crews had contingency plans for every eventuality. Knowing about the rain in advance, they were able to implement them,” said Justin Green of concert promoter MCD

“As soon as the arena closed on Saturday night, site crews moved in and reinforced the ground across the whole site.”

However, these repairs led to a 30-minute delay in the concert arena opening up yesterday at 1.30pm.

Fala Buggy (19) from Chapelizod, Dublin, and Sonia Zhao (18) of Palmerstown, Dublin, were among the first on the repaired site for the opening main stage band, veteran Liverpudlian act Echo & The Bunnymen.

“We've been cold and wet all weekend. We've enjoyed it but it was lovely with the sun being out today,” said Sonia.

2010 was the year the World Cup came to Oxegen, with campers kept awake all night by incessant blowing of vuvuzela horns.

Last night, football lovers could watch the final of the tournament as the Netherlands v Spain game was relayed live on a 100-sqm HD screen on the Nokia Live Stage in the blue campsite.

However, Brid Callaghan (30), one of hundreds at Oxegen yesterday in either Meath or Louth GAA shirts, was more interested in the result of the Leinster football final at Croke Park.

“I love music so I couldn't miss this,” she said.

“But most of my friends are at the match and will be texting me,” said Brid, who didn't regret her decision due to the impressive sets from Dizzee Rascal, Florence & The Machine and Kasabian.

The sporting theme continued at Oxegen with stars of field and track joining in the music.

Irish rugby stars Jamie Heaslip, Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe and Cian Healy helped to provide a percussive climax to a set from UK act Mumford & Sons, after being brought on stage to bang drums for their final song ‘Cave'.

Other VIPs included Newcastle United football team — on a break from training at nearby Carton House — US singer Beyonce, who was spotted at the side of the stage for her husband Jay-Z's dynamite set on Friday night, ‘Sherlock Holmes' actress Rachel McAdams, and Westlife's Mark Feehily.

US rapper Eminem brought Oxegen 2010 to a close last night with a bang, setting off pyrotechnics as he finished up his first concert in Ireland in seven years.

Shortly after, cold, wet and muddied revellers packed up their soaking tents and made a beeline for dry clothes and warm beds.

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