Some 72,000 music fans – 8,000 short of a sell-out crowd – woke nervously under gathering storm clouds yesterday morning, as biblical rain was predicted to threaten the massive Punchestown arena which is home to 2% of the Irish population for the weekend.
Nothing can be done about the weather – and Oxegen has a track record for heralding rain as much as it does for drawing the biggest bands in the world to Ireland's shores.
One of those bands, Blur, reformed after spats and side projects, proved the biggest draw on the main stage on Friday night. Fresh from a series of concerts at Glastonbury and London's Hyde Park,
they played a crowd-pleasing set, dedicating the song 'There's No Other Way' to the late Irish music writer Leon Finlay, whose wedding reception in
1990 provided the band with their first Irish gig.
Although the headline acts are macho big-hitters – American rockers Kings of Leon headlined last night and their Vegas cousins The Killers take to the main stage tonight – some of the best performances came from female acts who are dominating the festival circuit this summer.
Lily Allen, whose large Irish family contingent were in attendence, delighted the main stage audience on Friday afternoon. Her recent hit 'F**k You' was censored for her young Irish cousin in the audience, with the F-word changed to "banana".
Brooklyn rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, one of the most in-demand bands in the world, played the main stage yesterday, with the shining talent of front woman Karen O. Controversial pop stars Lady Gaga and Katy Perry play today.
Unfortunately, another female performer never made it to stage. Ladyhawke cancelled her gig at the last minute despite being on site. She was
seen in the artist area suffering from
either illness or a serious bout of nerves, and pulled her subsequent concert at Oxegen's Scottish sister festival, T In The Park, too.
Irish bands faired well, with Fight Like Apes securing a massive crowd on Friday afternoon in the Heineken Green Spheres tent, a marquee that holds 11,500 people. The Script, Republic of Loose and Heathers also got a great reception.
Over in the Dance Arena – a massive warehouse spray-painted by Dublin graffiti artist Maser – Irish acts Bitches With Wolves and Philth also drew crowds.
Promoters MCD avoided any criticsm over transport unlike recent gigs at Slane and AC/DC with buses running remarkably smoothly, taking just 40 minutes to get back into the city centre on Friday night for day-ticket holders. Security staff, who have often been criticised at previous festivals, also appeared to be in chipper form.
At the time of writing, the flooding had yet to start.