Longitude have increasingly turned it into a hip-hop festival over the last number of years, and Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Cardi B, Skepta, and many more have graced the stage in Marlay Park.
These are some of the biggest names in music who have played some epic shows here down through the years. It’s a far cry from the days when the odd rap act would be taking part in a festival that had a huge indie and electronic leaning.
That’s all changed in recent years, and with hip-hop remaining a commercial juggernaut in 2022, there was never really any doubt that it would dominate the billing here.
This is what the youngsters want, and this is what they’ll get this July! Longitude is what I often call the graduation festival, and the crowd consists largely of those who have just done their Leaving Cert a week or two before.
In a similar way that Oxegen was once the first really big festival that youngsters went to after they left school, Longitude now provides a big taster of huge acts with big crowds.
The most notable difference here is that Longitude is a lot more specialised than Oxegen, which is probably a sign of the times, seeing that hip-hop is a far bigger commercial force in 2022 than indie and rock.
For the moment, the days of The Killers, The White Stripes, and Kings of Leon are gone, and rap and pop-rap acts seem to be the order of the day.
The other main difference is that Longitude is not a camping festival, but the leafy neighbourhood of South Dublin is well policed by a huge Garda presence, and hundreds of buses take the crowds back to the city at the respectable time of 11pm.
Music fans are in for a big treat. This year Longitude will finally host ASAP Rocky, who has had a number of false starts here, and Tyler the Creator will return once again, too.
Both of these artists have excellent catalogues, and both are very good live. Tyler the Creator’s last show here was epic and ASAP Rocky will hopefully finally overcome a cursed few years where he was first cancelled by his detention in Sweden, and then by the pandemic in 2020. And then again in 2021, too!
Other huge names include Megan thee Stallion and Doja Cat, while Dave and the Kid Laroi are sure to draw big crowds to the main stage, too. Megan and Doja are excellent rappers who have turned into huge pop stars during the pandemic, while Dave is one of the UK’s most capable spitters.
Further down the initial list it gets really interesting too, and the critically acclaimed Baby Keem is one of the most exciting additions to the Irish festival calendar.
Kendrick was originally booked a couple of years ago, but his pal Keem is the next best thing. Central Cee and Aitch are two of the UK’s finest artists right now, but there are plenty of Ireland’s finest too, including Offica, Sello, and Denie Chaila.
This trio is amazing, and Offica is probably the most successful rapper in the country right this minute. Sello has been the subject of a featured article by yours truly last year, and he’s stolen lots of hearts with his unique version of Gaelic drill, while Denise Chaila is as good a rapper as you’ll see anywhere in 2022. Ireland is ready to make some big moves.
Add in commercial-crossover heavyweights such as Polo G, Jack Harlow, plus afrobeats star CKay, and we have a huge festival, with D-Block Europe, Ski Mask the Slump God, Arrdee, Digga D, Enny, Ivorian Doll, M Huncho, Knucks, and Pa Salieu making up the first wave of announcements this week.
I’d imagine that many more artists will be added, particularly Irish ones, so it looks like a big weekend in Marlay Park this July. We’ve been through a lot, and it’s great talking about music festivals that look more certain to happen.
Longitude is one of this summer’s highlights. Many young Cork hip-hop fans will no doubt be making the trip!