As the wellies, tents and (for some utter clowns) Native American headdresses are packed away for another year, Sean Hayes takes a look back at Marlay Park’s Longitude festival, in the first of a series on the best Irish festivals that took place over the summer.
LONGITUDE – 18th – 20th July 2014
Glorious sunshine an equally glorious line-up resulted in the success that was Longitude this summer. As up to 15,000 festival goers descended into Dublin’s Marlay Park, the emphasis was most certainly on the new, the exciting and the young.
Eighteen months ago, one would’ve been hard pressed to recognise many of the names taking to the main stage. Yet relative newcomers George Ezra, Bastille and Hudson Taylor set the standard for the weekend. Audience members greeted each act with wild and delighted excitement. One girl was so delirious that it was left to her friends to keep her standing upright as she wailed at an empty stage, tears running down her face, “Oh my god! I can’t believe it’s Bastille.”
Elsewhere in Marlay, the Red Bull Music Academy Stage was the place to be seen in, provided a samurai haircut adorned your head. Pounding beats and electronic synths could be heard throughout the forest, where local lads I Am The Cosmos and Swedish DJ Axel Boman kept the crowds disdainfully swaying throughout the night.
The only minor disappointment came as Ben Howard came on stage. The combination of an overly excited crowd post-Bastille and the effects of daylong alcohol consumption led the crowd to leave Howard’s guitar picking and soothing melodies quite under appreciated.
Saturday truly demonstrated Longitude’s target audience of 18-22 year olds as anybody over the age of 25 was peered at as if they had wandered in by mistake. Highlights of the festival came on Saturday’s Main Stage in the form of Haim and Chvrches. Disclosure turned the park into a giant rave as they played a nonstop 90 minute set that left the crowd both euphoric and dazed. Sam Smith returned after his own well-received set to close the night with his hit, ‘Latch’.
If one managed to escape from the mass of the Main Stage crowd, other peak moments of the festival came with performances by O Emperor on the Whelans 25 Stage and Cyril Hahn on the Heineken Stage.
In contrast to Saturday, Sunday attracted a much more relaxed crowd, with many lying out on the grass to take in Swedish folk duo, First Aid Kit and a standout vocal performance by Banks. Elsewhere, the relaxed and chilled mood trickled into the Heineken and Whelans stages with performances by exciting new names Kyla La Grange and Broods.
Sunday night became the mature audience’s redeeming moment with Massive Attack taking to the stage and demonstrated that they, too, can party just as hard as their younger counterparts.
Beyond the set-list, the success of Longitude 2014 was ensured by ample facilities and a strong security presence. Organisers of the festival are to be praised for their strict security policies, the setting up of a big-screen which showed the Longitude twitter feed, the provision of food stands and vendors as well as good toilet and sanitising facilities.
Verdict: Excited for what’s to come.