What does this mean for the Electric Picnic? Big concert host says 2021 is 'dead' for hosting live shows

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

slane castle electric picnic

Electric Picnic was cancelled in 2020 and it is not clear what 2021 will deliver

There will be no live concert in Slane Castle this year with the owner saying with the owner of the famous venue saying 2021 is 'dead' in terms of hosting a live show.

However, Lord Henry Mountcharles has committed to bringing live music back with a bang with a double summer concert in 2022. He is also considering a live-streamed gig later this year to celebrate 40 years of rock at the famous Co Meath venue.

But he has given up the ghost on 2021.

“This year is dead for a live show, I was holding out hope that something could happen, but it looks nigh on impossible.

“We are looking at a show - and very possibly two – next year. I see it returning in the summer of 2022 and I want to come back with a big show,” he said in a statement.

Lord Henry, 69, was speaking ahead of a major auction in Kells, Co Meath, next week, which includes antique flags from his main residence Beauparc House, located just 10 minutes from the castle.

The Slane peer, who has bounced back from a gruelling cancer battle and celebrates his 70th birthday next month, says he is eager to see a return to live music at his 80,000-capacity venue by the River Boyne.

The last double gig at the castle in the same year saw Bon Jovi and Eminem headline two months apart in 2013.

U2 brought their Elevation tour to the grounds twice in 2001 - two decades after supporting Thin Lizzy at the inaugural gig in 1981. US rockers Metallica were the last to play in 2019.

“We will come back next year with a big one and I am certainly looking at the possibility of two separate acts,” said Lord Henry.

“I’m always very selective and careful about Slane - not everyone gets to play here. There are world-class acts out there and a wealth of Irish talent too, which I am keeping my eye on.”

Later this year, he is considering a live-streamed, behind-closed-doors concert from the castle to mark the 40th anniversary of the first gig.

It remains to see what all this means for other festivals like the Electric Picnic. The promoters have yet to commit to a 2021 even in Stradbally, Co Laois.

Meanwhile, a little piece of Slane history is included in the ‘Easter Interiors and Historical Sale’ next Tuesday and Wednesday, co-ordinated by antiques dealer Niall Mullen and streamed online by Cavan-based Victor Mee Auctions.

The flags and banners, originally from Beauparc House and which sold at a previous auction in 1985, include a large, red ‘Welcome Home’ banner, a Union flag and a Commodore’s flag from Royal St George Yacht Club in Dublin’s Dun Laoghaire, dating back to 1847.

“I don’t think they’ve been in Slane Castle in my lifetime,” said Lord Henry.

“But the connection to the flags came from the second Marquess Conyngham, Francis Nathaniel Conyngham, who was Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dublin.”

The Commodore’s flag has a guide price of €1,000-€2,000, with the banner and Union flag each expected to sell for €200-€400.

The auction will be streamed live at victormeeauctions.ie.