Tillage farmers from Co Laois have expressed huge concern over the new date announced for Electric Picnic 2024.

Organisers of the annual three-day festival which takes place in Stradbally, Co Laois, announced that it will be taking place two weeks earlier than usual in 2024, from 16 to 18 August.

Local tillage farmer Bobby Miller says that the new date makes for "nightmare scenarios" during peak harvest time.

The festival has been taking place on the same weekend since its inception in 2004. However, the Irish Farmers Journal understands that next year's date change is to avoid a clash with Coldplay who play Croke Park from 29 August to 2 September 2024.

No consultation

"We're scratching our heads big time as to why they changed the dates without consulting any farmers in the area.

"We are fully in favour of Electric Picnic we have supported it from day one, but this is going to cause huge issues for us," Miller said.

Stradbally, Miller added, is a huge tillage area with the village itself having a grain intake point to which farmers bring malting barley and feeding barley from all around Laois.

"There's a higher volume of traffic in the village that time of year anyway and straw is on the move too.

"Not only is it a health and safety concern and a disturbance to our harvest, you also have the fear of accidental fires," he said.

Miller said his nearest field of spring barley is just 300m away from one of the main gates into the festival.

Another local tillage farmer, Paul Cushen, said that during the weekend of Electric Picnic, he is not able to get any harvesting done due to road closures.

"We're not happy. It just can't happen and we're hoping that common sense will prevail.

"I'll have 18ac of spring barley along a road at the edge of Stradbally which a huge volume of traffic travels along to get to the picnic.

"You'll have lads getting out urinating at the side of the road and what if they flick out a cigarette and the whole thing goes up in flames. Then my neighbour's does too.

"The fact that they never consulted any of the farmers, it beggars belief," he said.

Local farmers have contacted county councillors as well as Electric Picnic representatives and have called for the event to take place a week later than normal.