Beneath the twinkling lights, striped big tops and rainbow coloured bunting at Ireland’s premier festival, all was as it should be; hearts were aglow with the usual festival magic, fateful meetings and laughter flowed merrily as festival goers hoped for the sun to keep its perch above a blue-grey sky.
Although Electric Picnic has taken place since 2004, this year’s event was extra special due to the anticipation created by the pandemic.
Another special element of this year’s festival was the appearance of an outstanding collective of musicians on a climate mission; namely, Africa Under Irish Skies.
The collective are from Climate Actions Now (CAN): a solutions focused advocacy group aiming to raise awareness about climate issues through a variety of avenues including education, music, and social entrepreneurship.
CEO Robert Stephenson is someone who isn’t afraid to think outside the box and due to that quality, CAN has grown from strength to strength in recent years.
Speaking about the importance of music in creating a climate action movement, Robert explains, “you need music to bring people together and if you’re going to try and have a movement of people for climate action, then you might as well have it as a happy movement that is solutions focused. Music is key to that because you can’t really have movement without a beat.”
Musicians travelled from all over the world for CAN, including South Africa and London, their dedication only matched by brilliant performances. Laurie Wright from the UK sang up a storm with a glorious sound that emanated all things good about sixties rock and roll; Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin-esque guitar skills with undertones of a moody Oasis had members of the crowd dubbing them ‘the best rock band in the world’.
The Tinta Tribe from South Africa also lifted the roof on the Manifesto tent with their powerful and upbeat sound that had people laughing and dancing with joy.
The two boys from the Tinta Tribe told the Council Journal that their main motivation for getting involved with CAN was a passion to make the world a better place, saying, “we wrote songs called Yek’Ugowa and Peace Don’t Go, which are lyrically about climate issues. It’s important to write about climate because we feel like there’s not enough conversation held on these issues. These issues are going to be a huge problem in the near future, and we feel like music, as it is a universal language, is the most powerful tool. The time is now to make the world change, it’s now or never. It’s our time.”
Another group that were amazing was Niall Morrissey and the Hostages; siblings from Dublin with impeccable voices that sounded beautiful together.
Niall (23) told the Council Journal that his efforts for climate action began when he realised he could use his music to spread a message of change, saying, “I wrote a song for climate, specifically to try and aid in the CAN effort. Even if it’s a small step to try and further a change in this world, it’s still worth doing. Together we are stronger.”
Eoin Davies from the Davies Brothers shared similar sentiments and echoed the need for protecting our global home, saying, “we all feel the same about how important it is to keep what we have, and we’re all in danger of losing our home and losing what we have. The last week has been an incredible week for me. Rob Stephenson has brought a load of musicians together, and it has just been amazing. I’ve met musicians from all over, and together we have written songs for climate, which has been such a great experience. I’m just delighted to be able to do anything to help. I’m so delighted to be here to be able to spread the word through song and music, it’s powerful.”
Eoin’s songs ‘This is our Home’ and ‘Children of the Forest’ were both exquisite tributes to the Earth and the West of Ireland, as the Davies brothers hail from Doolin in County Clare.
Immensely moving, these odes to our planet spoke of getting back to our roots and expressed hope for the younger generation who will inherit the earth.
Over the weekend, each of the acts painted lush green pictures of hope, resilience, and positivity in the hearts and minds of all who entered.
The complete list of acts included the Tinta Tribe (South Africa and Mozambique), Citadel – from the Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre (Burundi, South Africa, Ukraine, Angola, Tanzania), Adam Mohammed (Ireland / Sudan), Jack Blackman (UK), Roman Lewis,(UK) Laurie Wright (UK), the Davis Brothers(IRL), Voilventine (IRL), Niall Morrissey (IRL)
Each group sang with heart, integrity, and a burning passion to help the climate, which created a truly inspiring experience.
Hundreds of souls were exhilarated, excited, and inspired to create, paint, sing, or advocate for our Mother Earth and that’s something that these artists should be very proud of.
For more information about Climate Actions Now, see climateactionsow.org, and be sure to check out the below video!