Longitude: a festival that feels free of the usual hassles

Main stage shifts to west, making arena feel bigger and letting crowd soak up setting sun

Now in its third year, Longitude at Marlay Park in south Dublin is regarded as one of the better organised festivals on the Irish calendar.

Maybe it’s the suburban location; maybe it’s the lack of soggy-tent accommodation; or maybe it’s the early finish, but Longitude feels like a festival free of the usual hassles.

This year, MCD has tweaked the main stage set-up, shifting it around to the main arena’s western edge, making it feel bigger, and letting the crowd soak up as much of the setting sun as the blustery conditions allow.

As the end of day one approaches, the ground is holding up well. Having the woodland paths largely tarmacked this year certainly helps.


On the Heineken stage, Leon Bridges gets things moving shortly after 4pm with a little rhythm and blues. A muddy sound mix takes time to sort itself out, and lets the clean edges of his dapper country soul shine through. The early-doors young crowd lap it up.

Electro funk

Over on the Whelans stage, Josef Salvat is cutting through his stylish electro funk set with no little swagger. He dances a fine line between spare pop with smart hooks and rockier anthems with big-calibre choruses.

Throwing a Rihanna cover into the set is always going to get the crowd, and he has the drama to do it justice.

Hubie Davison might just be a chip off the old block. The DJ and producer puts in a cracking set of funky house music on the RBMA stage that, in style if not quality, is a world away from his father Chris de Burgh’s work.

Meanwhile, back in the Heineken tent, French-Cuban twins Ibeyi are bringing their Yoruba-flavoured folk music to an impressively full tent.

The harmonies are gorgeous and the piano and percussion playing is on the money. At a summer festival, though, their straightforward two-person set-up feels too slight to hold the tent’s attention for long.

From there, Metronomy pick up the main stage baton and put in a solid set, but Young Fathers tear it up and put in an early shout for set of the festival.

And to finish it all off on the main stage is Wicklow's favourite son, Hozier.

Hozier predictably gets a huge crowd and there’s a level of professionalism here that’s been missing from previous performances.

In the first few tracks, there’s no chat with crowd, but there a pin sharp edge to the band that make up for it.

His success might have come at rocket speed but now he’s stepping up to the plate of being a genuine global phenomenon.

Expect it to get even better from here on in.