Belfast Telegraph

Credit crunch knocks wind out of Oxegen festival

By Emily Moulton

It wasn’t too long ago that wellie-clad music lovers flocked to Ireland’s largest music festival.

Oxegen, which is generally held over the weekend closest to the Twelfth, is regarded by many as Ireland’s own version of Glastonbury with its stellar line-up, countryside location and popularity with revellers of all ages.

Three years ago, during the height of the economic boom, tickets for the event, which is held on the grounds of Punchestown Racecourse in Co Kildare, sold out in just over an hour — four months before the event.

But as organisers prepare to open the doors today tickets for the three-day festival — which arguably boasts its best line-up in years —are still on sale.

Adding to promoters’ woes is the vast number of people flogging tickets online. A quick scan of eBay and reveals dozens of people trying to sell tickets.

But instead of hiking the price, many are selling them below the €224.50 (£186) face value.

In previous years there would have been bidding wars just to get hold of a ticket.

This year, however, it’s a different story. The crash of the Celtic Tiger has led to a tightening of belts. Many people just simply can’t afford it.

It is a situation that has affected festivals across the UK and Ireland with fewer people set to pay out for the high ticket prices.

Ireland’s other major music festival, Electric Picnic, has also been hit and in a bid to take the sting out of the €240 (£198) price, promoters of the summer-ending festival in Co Laios had offered punters the chance to pay for tickets in instalments.

Whether this initiative pays off remains to been seen.

One Electric Picnic fan who will not be going this year, despite the credit crunch enticement, is Shane Teague (31).

The civil servant from Omagh said: “I love Electric Picnic, I think it’s a great festival, much better than Oxegen, but it’s getting too expensive.

“You also have to factor in petrol and the price of food and alcohol. It all adds up.”

Cathy McClelland (28), a student nurse from Ballycastle, is, however, planning to go to Oxegen with her boyfriend, but the couple are not planning to pay full price.

“€224 is just ridiculous prices,” she said.

“I went four years ago at the last minute and bought a ticket on eBay. I got it for half price the day before. So I said to my boyfriend why don’t we do the same this year?

“It hasn’t sold out. There are tickets on eBay and on Gumtree so we are going to hold off until the day before and hopefully get a ticket cheaper. We can also check out the weather.”

Oxegen’s main acts

Friday: Arcade Fire, Jay-Z, Stereophonics, Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, David |Guetta, Goldfrapp, Empire |Of The Sun, Simian Mobile Disco, Joe Echo

Saturday: Muse, Kasabian, Florence And The Machine, Dizzy Rascal, The Black Eyed Peas, Calvin Harris, Hot Chip, Ash, Armand Van Helden

Sunday: Eminem, Faithless, The Prodigy, Paolo Nutini, 30 Seconds To Mars, Newton Faulkner, Temper Trap, Julian Casablancas, Mumford And Sons

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