‘London gotta lot to learn’: youthful energy buoys Longitude

Three-day Dublin music festival gets off to flying start despite heightened security

The Crowd watch G-Eazy at Longitude in Marlay Park. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Crowd watch G-Eazy at Longitude in Marlay Park. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

There was a moment midway through the opening day of the Longitude festival at Marlay Park, Dublin, on Friday when it looked like the day was about to turn.

As fast-rising London pop princess Dua Lipa tore into her smash hit Hotter Than Hell, the heavens seemed unable to resist the temptation to cool the capacity crowd of 35,000 with a light drizzle of rain.

Thankfully the threatened shower didn’t materialise and the light ponchos that were hastily pulled over carefully-put-together festival outfits were just as quickly removed.

Aisling O’Neill and Ruth Bessell from Cork. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Aisling O’Neill and Ruth Bessell from Cork. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

“The atmosphere here has been amazing. It’s very hippyish and chilled out. I love it. The rain won’t stop us if it comes,” said Beth Waters (17) from Dowra, Co Leitrim, who had travelled up for the day with her friend Geraldine Halley.

“I love Stormzy. I’m obsessed. I love his looks and his voice. He’s such a good person. He always gives a lot of money to charity.”

It was 23-year-old UK grime star Stormzy who closed the festival’s main stage on Friday night. He capped off a day dominated by the explosion of exciting grime and pop artists coming out of London.

Anna Butler from Cork at Longitude in Marlay Park. Photograph: Alan Betson
Anna Butler from Cork at Longitude in Marlay Park. Photograph: Alan Betson

Grime godfather Wiley and the soul stylings of Loyle Carner shined on the Heineken stage. Dua Lipa drew a huge crowd to the main stage, while London dance-pop star Raye was also an early highlight. The 19-year-old Londoner was so flabbergasted by the youthful energy pouring back to her during her 3.30pm set that she remarked: “This is the best crowd I’ve ever f***in’ played to. Oh my God. London gotta lot to learn.”

Tight security

Security was tight in all aspects, as it has been at concerts of this scale since the Manchester terror attack in May. Large bags and backpacks were not permitted, while the young age of the audience meant many were subjected to three ID checks before those over 18 were served at the bar.

“Some of them are 18 all right when we look at their passports,” said one bar man of the teenage audience, “but some of the passports were issued six or seven years ago when they were kids, so it can be hard to make some of them out.”

Tight security on the way in made for long queues, and while some complained, the majority of those spoken to praised the procedures.

“It makes you feel safe,” said Peter O’Neill (18) from Mohill, Co Leitrim.

The Red Cross said they treated only minor incidents, mostly alcohol-related, but that the event was quiet relative to other concerts of this scale.

As well as security guards, there were four lifeguards on duty due to access to one stage being via a bridge over the river Slang.

Jack Pierce, Sophie Keane and Clodagh Quirke from Wexford and Tipperary enjoying the first day of Longitude. Photograph: Alan Betson
Jack Pierce, Sophie Keane and Clodagh Quirke from Wexford and Tipperary enjoying the first day of Longitude. Photograph: Alan Betson

“We’ve had some people looking like they might try jump into the water,” said lifeguard Eoin O’Malley-Daly from Bundoran, Co Donegal. “I really hope no one goes in, though, as I’ll have to go in after them. The water looks absolutely filthy.”

Longitude continues on Saturday with Canadian singer The Weeknd headlining. The festival concludes Sunday night with Mumford and Sons. Met Éireann are forecasting dry, sunny weather both days.