Up to 25,000 expected in Kildare for Oxegen at Punchestown

The organisers of this weekend’s Oxegen 2013 at Punchestown Racecourse are confident there will be no repeat of the violent scene’s which marred a Swedish House Mafia gig at the Phoenix Park a year ago.

The organisers of this weekend’s Oxegen 2013 at Punchestown Racecourse are confident there will be no repeat of the violent scene’s which marred a Swedish House Mafia gig at the Phoenix Park a year ago.

This year’s event - and it’s hoped similar concerts will be staged at the racecourse next year and in 2015 - is being organised by UK-based Festival Republic.

Between 20,000 and 25,000 people over 21 years are expected.

The Leinster Leader was told at a press conference this afternoon (July 31) that MCD, which organised previous Oxegen events and the Phoenix Park gig, is a shareholder in Festival Republic.

MCD was widely criticised in the wake of the Phoenix Park event.

Naas-based Garda Superintendent Ian Lackey said the gardai would not tolerate anti social behaviour and people attending will be searched on the way into the event which take place this weekend (Friday-Sunday).

Some 600 gardai will be on duty in the Naas area and he said anybody behaving illegally, including carrying weapons or illegal substances will “be dealt with severely” and detained at Naas or a nearby garda station.

“We will be looking for illegal substances or weapons and we ask people not to bring these or engage in anti social behaviour,” said Supt. Lackey.

Apart from the gardai (and there will be extra patrols in Naas town centre), there will be up to 1,000 security personnel.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, said he is “very happy” with the security arrangements and added that Punchestown is particularly suited for hosting it.

“I suspect there will be very little trouble; we have a terrific line up of entertainment and this will be a really relaxed weekend. We want people to enjoy themselves and we’re happy with the response of the gardai, the local authority and local people,” said Mr. Benn.

He also dismissed the suggestion that the recent heavy rainfall would cause problems, saying that the racetrack could well cope with the water.

Concert goers are being advised that traffic delays are inevitable on Friday evening and Saturday morning and the advice is to use public transport.

Traffic information will be available via AA Roadwatch and those driving to the event will be directed to car parks from the N7 Northbound, N7 Southbound, N81 and M9.

There is no pedestrian access to the event and visitors are asked not to attempt to walk. Many roads around Punchestown have are unlit and have neither pavements nor verges.