DAY ONE - 19th July 2013

It was perhaps the most blissful conditions for a music festival in Ireland since, well, ever. A sunny Marlay Park provided the perfect backdrop for the inaugural Longitude festival – and, let me tell you, the new boy on the festival scene has announced itself in fine fashion.

A fine selection of artists has been lined up for the three-day festival, but it was Friday headliners Phoenix who completely stole the show and are likely winging their way back home towards Paris (or wherever their next live date is) secure in the knowledge that they played the best festival set seen in Ireland in many a year.

Playing a 90 minute set comprised mostly of songs from their recent album ‘Bankrupt!’ and their 2009 masterpiece ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’, Thomas Mars and his band launched through hit after hit, with standouts being ‘Lisztomania’, ‘Love Like A Sunset’, ‘The Real Thing’ and, to be honest, just about every other song they played.

Mars, as he is wont to do, took a couple of sojourns into the crowd including, on the second occasion, crowdsurfing directly over your writer who was dutifully holding him up by his shins.

Beforehand, Foals galloped through a pacey set of up-tempo material from this year’s release Holy Fire, including its standout track ‘My Number’. Yannis and co. seem to be heading directly towards full-on arena indie rock, a setting which you feel might suit them down to the ground.

The eclectic Scots/Irish/English hybrid of Django Django made a welcome return to an Irish stage at 6pm. Not seen at an Irish festival since the 2012 incarnation of Body & Soul. ‘Hail Bop’, ‘Storm’ and the outstanding ‘Default’ were notables.

Saturday’s Longitude promises more of the same, with hugely-anticipated performances from Vampire Weekend, Villagers, Local Natives and Kodaline on the agenda. The sun doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere, either. More of the same tonight, please.

DAY TWO - 20th July 2013

There was noticeably more people on hand for Day Two of Longitude compared to the day prior. It was the first day of the festival to sell out every ticket of its 10,000 allocation, meaning that the extra bodies added to the festival’s already vibrant atmosphere but also extended the waiting times for the bars, toilets and food stalls. Scroll down for photographs.

Performing in front of a flowery backdrop looking kinda like your nan’s wallpaper, Vampire Weekend looked every bit the part of festival headliners. The New York afropop collective have fashioned for themselves a unique style all to their selves, and with their new album Modern Vampires of the City being one of the year’s best so far, the stage was set for them to churn out on of Ireland’s more memorable festival performances of recent years.

The band’s setlist was taken in equal measures from their three albums thus far. Set opener, the raucous ‘Cousins’, the incredible ‘A-Punk’, ‘Oxford Comma’ and ‘Hannah Hunt’ were particular standouts, ensuring that Marley Park’s revellers raised their arms and danced their feet in unison. Excellent stuff.

Villagers’ placement as second to last on the main stage reinforces popular opinion that Conor O’Brien and his band of Village People are currently Ireland’s finest musical export. The Domino signees are one of Europe’s most in demand live acts, having garnered a reputation of masterfully crafted songs entwined with outstanding live performances.

Opening with the gentle melody of ‘Meaning of the Ritual’, O’Brien (looking every bit the rock star in his shades) seemed giddy to be home, especially in such blissful conditions, after being on the road constantly for the best part of seven months.

The setlist was filled with songs from the band’s second album {Awayland} but they still found a place for old favourites like ‘Becoming A Jackal’ and ‘Twenty Seven Strangers’.

Brief visits to The Maccabees and VANN MUSIC yielded mixed results (the latter being far more impressive than the former) but it was Local Natives on the Main Stage at 4.30pm who were arguably Saturday’s most rewarding band. We last saw the Californian band under very different meteorological conditions at Other Voices in Dingle last December and vocalist Taylor Rice was the first to say that our current sunny spell is not the weather he associates with Ireland at all.

The set was heavy with tracks from the band’s second record Hummingbird, with a few from Gorilla Manor thrown in for good measure. The monumental ‘Breakers’ was a particular favourite of ours.

We’re not done yet, either. The final night of Longitude includes much-anticipated sets from Hot Chip, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the incredibly intriguing prospect of a Kraftwerk 3D show. Check back tomorrow for our report…

DAY THREE - 21st July 2013 


As an exercise in mammoth on-stage visuals Kraftwerk's 3D show on the final night of the Longitude festival was a spectacle to behold. Not being sure exactly what to expect, the first 45 minutes of their show was accompanied by howls of giddiness as giant robotic arms, space stations and a winding autobahn reached out to the audience from the backdrop of the stage.

The 3D effects complimented the music expertly, adding texture and verve to the synthpop being blasted from the PA system, though the exercise did drag slightly when the initial wave of novelty eventually began to dissipate somewhere around halfway through.

Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were in suitably fine form for their set just prior to the evening's main event, too. Unlike one or two of the other acts who found themselves on the cavernous main stage over the weekend, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs filled the space - both physically and sonically - with ease, belting out an assorted mix from their three albums to date with assured swagger.

If Kraftwerk were all about the more sombre and sober elements of electronic music, Hot Chip's performance just after 6pm on the main stage was just the opposite - a bouncy, celebratory party in the sunshine. Bulletpointed by the excellent 'One Life Stand' and 'Over and Over', this was one of the most enjoyable sets of the whole weekend.

MCD will be very happy with how the first Longitude festival developed. Of course, there were a couple of teething problems which, for the most part anyway, can't be foreseen in the planning stage. The queuing times were a little overlong at times but any seasoned festivalgoer should be used to a little waiting around by now. We could have done with a few more food stalls and, particularly, a wider range of vegetarian options.

The placement of bands was a little too heavily weighted towards the main stage, too. A few main stagers, Django Django & Jake Bugg for example, could have been placed in the Heineken Tent to encourage a bit of wandering because, for the most part, we were parked exclusively at the main festival arena.

Still, these are minor quibbles in what was a great weekend of music. Let's hope we get the weather next year, too.