Stevie G: Longitude finally makes fab return  

Festival came back with a bang, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
Stevie G: Longitude finally makes fab return  

Longitude 2022

Longitude came back with a bang this weekend, and a largely hip-hop related line-up brought huge crowds to the leafy South Dublin area of Marlay Park. I was up there on Sunday and it was wonderful to be back enjoying so much great music outdoors in the sun.

The setting up of such a big operation at Marlay Park means that economies can be made by using the venue for other shows, and the previous week had brought big shows by the likes of Green Day, Gun’s N’ Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and any traffic problems that were reported seemed to be ironed out by the weekend, which was superbly run.

It’s a much younger demographic and most travel by bus but access to the festival on Sunday was incredibly smooth and over the years I’ve gotta say Longitude has always been very efficient in my experience. Longitude is very much a rites-of-passage/gateway festival attended by those pretty much of Leaving Cert age (lots were younger and some were older too). There is no camping, which means it’s much easier to manage, and the youngsters up there were very well behaved and in great spirits.

The security and organisers also set the tone here, and it’s no coincidence that there are many viral clips on tik-tok of stewards dancing and just enjoying the moment. Impressively, Longitude also had many information stands encouraging good behaviour, and I was delighted to visit the Safe Gigs stall, run by Mary and Dola from the Sexual Violence Centre in Cork.

Mary Crilly, fresh after being awarded Freedom of the City in Cork, told me that they are going to be appearing at many more festivals soon, including the Electric Picnic. This initiative aims to make gigs and nightlife safer for everyone by creating a zero tolerance environment for sexual violence and it’s important that they are visible and active at festivals. Well done to Safe Gigs Ireland on their tireless work.

As a rap fan, this festival really is always gonna be a feast. Unlike larger festivals, such as the Electric Picnic, Longitude is streamlined and more focused, with much of the action revolving around both the Main and Heineken stages. The site is pretty compact and you don’t have the nagging feeling that you are always missing something. A weekend that already showcased Tyler the Creator, Megan the Stallion, Dave, Rejjie Snow, Denise Chaila, Baby Keem, Aitch and many more had plenty more on the bill as I eased in on Sunday morning.

Before my own set, I got a chance to enjoy some great shows, and I was delighted to see some of my own favourites on the bill.

I’ve been writing about Sello here for 18 months now, and I’ve always felt he had the personality to make such stages his own. Joined by guests such as Cork’s JRilla and Dundalk’s Reggie B, Sello delivered a high energy set full of his biggest jams, the only drawback being that the mics and sound didn’t seem to be at an optimum level out front. Still, it’s another landmark for a great young talent, and it was the same for Offica and the A92 crew, as the sun came out on the Irish Drill massive.

The brilliant UK artist Central Cee was next and the huge crowd moshed it out in style on the main stage.

Exiting for my own DJ gig I got to quickly catch Coi Leray on the Heineken stage. She was one of my highlights, and a simple but effective set up showcased her charisma and skills to an appreciate crowd. I missed Playboi Carti, Slowthai and Kojaque, all excellent acts I’ve seen previously, but I managed to catch the excellent Becky Hill before proceeding to A$AP Rocky on the main stage.

This gig had seemed cursed for a few years. Locked up in Sweden he missed his original date, before Covid prevented not one but two visits. He finally played the main stage on Sunday night and again, the crowd went crazy. The balmy sundown provided a perfect backdrop to his many hits, and even though he is without a new album for a few years now, A$AP remains high profile and current enough to rock the crowd for the finale to another great festival!

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