Longitude 2015 kicked off in south county Dublin's Marlay Park yesterday, and while the weather wasn't what we would want from mid-July, it took a backseat to the music, with headline acts Hozier, SBTRKT, Todd Terje and Metronomy all delighting the crowds in attendance.
But being Irish we will dwell on the weather a little.
The odd shower didn't dampen spirits, and the ground was in considerably good nick considering the torrents that fell on Thursday. Whether or not that remains the case after the crowds descend for Saturday's (now sold-out) festivities remains to be seen. After Friday's events however, we're optimistic that this is going to be a very good year for Longitude.
Here's what we learned this year:
The new site layout, Main Stage in particular, is great and makes getting in and out of the site a lot easier. It may have just been the lesser number of people in attendance on Friday but it feels like there's a lot more space, with good views of the main stage from anywhere.
There's a one way system in place on the bridges from the other stages to and from the Main Stage, which may seem like a chore but it actually only adds about two minutes to your journey time. So relax and don't stress out the security, you'll get where you need to.
It was on one of these two minute journeys that we learned that people will sit down anywhere, with one young Longitude attendee taking a break up in a tree. Standard.
There's plenty of drink options on site, including your standard Heineken, Tiger and Orchard Thieves Cider on tap in the main bars. There's also a prosecco option, with glasses for €7.50 and bottles (pre-poured into as many glasses as you like) for €35, so you can actually feel proper fancy should you wish (and you will).
The Bacardi area once again is where it's at between acts. A staple at most festivals now, it seems that the majority of people have cottoned on to their fine selection of cocktails and even better music, and it was the one area that was thronged from the get go.
We even saw Jordi Murphy here, who is upsettingly handsome in the flesh.
Heineken's Tokyo themed Sound Atlas is also worth a visit in your downtime between acts, complete with a constantly busy photo booth and karaoke room. A word of caution if you decide to play the arcade machines. Don't leave your pint on top of the machine while you play, unless you want it all over your nethers after some rampant button mashing.
As for the music, Young Fathers did what they do best, blasting out a wall of sound with such intensity that you just had to let it wash over you and get on board.
Metronomy kept the crowds gathered at the main stage very happy during the setting sun, and then made a sneaky appearance at the back of the Heineken Stage tent to take in Todd Terje before jetting off to their next date (they didn't know where they were going though).
SBTRKT gathered a decent crowd considering they were up against Hozier, with plenty of groups having awkward breakups. "F*ck Hozier!" was heard more than once.
Speaking of the Wicklow man, a very grateful and humble Hozier performed to a thronged Main Stage, although the mass exodus after Take Me To Church resembled something from The Walking Dead and was less than desirable. It was their loss however as Bryne went on to perform three more songs, including his BBC Live Lounge cover of Ariana Grande's 'Problem' and 'Work Song', right up to curfew, sounding impressive from start to finish.
Back to the weather for one more point. It got cold. Very cold. And there were far too many people in summer attire immediately regretting their outfit choices once the sun went down, so layer up people. You'll thank us later.
The addition of the 3Deck and the Longitude Lounge were worth their weight (and extra few quid for the latter) come Saturday, with the mammoth crowds that poured in from early doors seeming all the more easy to deal with when viewed from a safe distance. The Longitude Lounge was set up for 'posh poos' with actual flushing toilets which as we all know may as well be a golden throne at a festival, although it must be said that the facilities were very well maintained all weekend.
A very humble and energetic Years & Years got everyone going from the start, with radio hit 'King' and impromptu cover of Blu Cantrell's 'Breathe' all going down a storm.The band seemed happy with the turnout (lead singer Olly's shoutout to a hen party calling themselves 'Pussy Patrol' was very well received) and were very vocal about it.
THANKYOU EVERYBODY FOR COMING EARLY AND SEEIG US PLAY AT LONGITUDE LEGIT U WERE AMAZING
— Years & Years (@yearsandyears) July 18, 2015
Next up were one of our country's best live acts Le Galaxie, who did what they do best in their first big outing on a Main Stage, working the crowd into a frenzy and then upped it another notch with appearances by Elaine Mai and Fight Like Apes' May Kay.
From that point on it was just wave after wave of high energy and consistent performances at the Main Stage, with Glass Animals and Jungle both building on what had come before and adding to it.
By the time Caribou took to the stage there was a tiny sense of wearniess in the crowd (which is understandable considering the early start) so that may have contributed to a few commenting on the less than ideal sound coming from the normally ear-gasmic band.
We don't know if we were just overly sensitive and delicate considering it was the third day of the festival but the seemingly younger Sunday crowd brought with them even more 'Go hard or go home' energy, which made us feel both unfit and very old.
— Dave O'Shaughnessy (@ogoknessy) July 20, 2015
This made itself the most apparent at the Heineken Stage for Tove Lo, who was herself blown away by the reaction from the full to capacity tent. If you're in the market for a new favourite pop girlo, get in line. Probably the highlight of the entire festival.
James Blake played a pleasant if subdued set to a crowd that seemed restless and full of anticipation for headliners The Chemical Brothers. There's a time and a place and unfortunately it may not have been his.
Danny Brown had the entire Heinken Stage eating out of the palm of his hand, although half of that was definitely down to his touring DJ SKYWLKR. We can now say we know what 'getting turnt' looks like in the flesh.
From there it was down to The Chemical Brothers to close out the festival, and if it was a bang you wanted it was a bang you got. Things kicked off with dry ice and lasers and the beat finally dropped in 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' we're pretty sure they felt tremors in the Áras. New track 'Go' went down a storm and as did classics like 'Star Guitar', 'Galvanise' and 'Setting Sun', all accompanied by spectacular visuals.
— Dave O'Shaughnessy (@ogoknessy) July 20, 2015
Giant robots shooting lasers out of their eyes, dancing silhouttes, you name it it was in there. You couldn't have planned a finer finale. We even bonded with some awestruck stewards during the performance, who rated it as one of the best they've seen in their decade-long careers. We had to agree.
Will we be back next year? If they keep building a lineup like this year's, then the answer is absolutely.