Achtoon Baby cartoons

Achtoon Baby

New U2 album

New U2 Album Info

Joshua Tree Tour Dates

Joshua Tree Tour 2017

"As regards Zoo TV, it's so logical for U2 to do this -- I don't think they understand exactly what they are doing and I like that. It takes guts."

-- Gavin Friday

@U2 home page

Column: off the record..., vol. 14-634

@U2, August 31, 2014
By: Arlan Hess


off the record, from @U2

I am writing this week from a laptop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which means I am not up to my knees in mud enjoying the 2014 Electric Picnic festival in Ireland. Though most of my life I ached to go to Glastonbury, I have become slightly more realistic since I entered my 40s. For several years, I have considered ending my summer by attending the annual arts and music festival held at Stradbally, Co. Laois. But, held at the end of August, it interferes with the start of a new school semester in the U.S. and I have always chosen to stay closer to home.

Recently voted the best medium-size European festival, Electric Picnic has more music choice than other iconic festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella and supposedly is more accommodating for those of us who prefer access to a warm meal and a comfortable air mattress. The big names at this year's festival include Outkast, Beck, Blondie, Simple Minds and Sinead O'Connor -- as well as some perhaps lesser-known and regional performers such as St. Vincent, Jenny Lewis and the Dublin Gospel Choir.

This year, Electric Picnic sold out four months in advance. With significant rain in the forecast this weekend, I am somewhat glad I didn't actually buy tickets. I am not quite sure I have the stamina for that kind of adventure anymore. Unfortunately, a young couple was injured over the weekend when their tent caught fire. I hope that the rest of the festival is safe for everyone in attendance. For those who want to follow events via Twitter, check out @EPfestival and #EP2014.

Another annual music festival, Lisdoonvarna, on the west coast of Co. Clare, ran from 1978 to 1983. However, the town is now famous for its annual matchmaking festival, which also starts this weekend. The Lisdoonvarna lovefest (@lisdoonfestival/#lisdoonvarna) attracts more than 40,000 people of all ages and backgrounds from every corner of the world. Matchmaking occurs for six weeks this year from August 29 through October 5 with special events featured each weekend.

This year, the final weekend will be permanently dedicated to LGBT matchmaking (@theouting_ie/#TheOuting) -- which may be especially triumphant in the context of the upcoming marriage equality referendum in Ireland, the popularity of drag queen and gay rights activist Panti Bliss, and the announcement last week by the very popular 2014 Rose of Tralee winner, Philadelphian Rose Maria Walsh, that she is a lesbian. To be sure, between Stradbally and Lisdoonvarna, the spotlight is on Ireland this week.

Speaking of spotlights, Bono has certainly been avoiding one this month. Despite several public Ice Bucket Challenges over the past couple of weeks, and the viral phenomenon becoming as big a hit in Ireland as it is in the U.S., he has conspicuously declined to hop on the bandwagon. I'm not saying that I blame him or question his choice to avoid the craze; surely, he is too busy in the studio finishing the next album to be bothered with such commercial displays of philanthropy.

Given Bono's influence, reach, and let's face it, ego, I do wonder why he has decided not to use the viral fad to draw attention to causes closer to his heart such as the ONE Campaign or Amnesty International. Matt Damon, by using toilet water instead of fresh water in his interpretation of the challenge, links the ALS cause to his own project,, which he co-founded with Gary White to provide clean water and sanitation to communities in Africa, South Asia and Central America. In the video, Damon's concern for water waste is genuine and his decision to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy is admirable and authentic. At the end of his video, Damon challenges George Clooney, Bono and Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, to join in the icy fun. However, all three men have yet to join the juggernaut.

I would have thought this kind of marketing was something Bono could personally endorse. He hasn't been challenged only by his famous friends. Fans and children have thrown down the gauntlet as well, including 3-year-old Elijah O Riain, who challenged both Bono and Spiderman to a cold shower. Unlike Bono, Spiderman accepted the dare. And so, once again, the band finds itself embroiled in Spiderman controversy. Will the third time be the charm?

(c) @U2, 2014.

More U2 News

Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Instagram icon Flickr icon Apple icon Android icon
@U2 Tours
@U2 Calendar

October 21 2017

The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Tonight in São Paulo

October 22 2017

The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Tonight in São Paulo

Full Calendar