Longitude Friday review: No festival for old men

I was apprehensive about attending Longitude as I had heard how young the crowd were. However, the amazing line-up convinced me to buy a ticket for the Friday. I have been listening to J Cole since I was around 16 or 17, and had never seen him live, so my main draw to the festival, was him.

The main problem with Longitude is that people who are aged 16 and 17 are allowed to attend the event when accompanied by an 18-year-old. I understand that there isn’t much for 16 and 17-year olds to do bar attended concerts, as they are too old for teenage discos. However, this leads to people, some as young as 13, getting in due to lax security and ending up completely intoxicated by 1 pm.

I walked past so many hysterical 14-year old girls, glitter streaming down their face, crying into their phones. I also walked past some boys who literally looked as if they had been given a ticket as their Confirmation present. I came to Longitude to have a good time, not to be worried by the number of young people lying on the ground not moving. The stewards and the Gardaí seemed indifferent to their plight. Make the festival over 18 and be done with it- and stop letting in 1st years.

Marlay Park is a decent venue, with the festival being spread out over two large fields, the Main Stage in one and the Heineken Stage in the other. There are also plenty of food and drinks options, all slightly overpriced, but that is what you are expecting at a festival. Card payments are accepted everywhere. Food options included Mexican, BBQ, burgers and chips, southern fried chicken, Asian and even vegan. My favourite drink stall was the Bacardi Bar. The barmen were all fantastic and drinks ranged from €6 for a Bacardi dark or white with a mixer, to €8.50 for a Bacardi-based cocktail. Not bad at all when you consider nightclub prices.

Most importantly, the acts were amazing. I saw Princess Nokia on the Heineken stage. She was really energetic and knew how to work the crowd, coming down to meet with fans in the front row afterwards. She also sang one of my favourite songs acapella: Blink 182’s I Miss You. This song was a bit lost on the crowd considering they were born in the year it was released, but I appreciated it.

I also saw Post Malone who was very good live. The crowd who went to see him were definitely the youngest and the roughest, there was a lot of pushing, shoving and catty comments. I am not sure if it was the age or the demographic, but it was the worst crowd I have ever experienced. I was at the second barrier in behind the pit and around five people were carried over it, crying after being crushed. The fighting got so bad we actually left and moved back, something I have never had to do at a gig before.

For Migos I went to go and get food because trap music isn’t really my thing. After they went off stage, I got quite close to the front for J Cole and was very surprised by how many people cleared out and went to see Khalid. J Cole came out to rapturous applause. What really surprised me was that he was accompanied by a live band and backing singers.

J Cole was one of the best live performers I have seen on stage, and I have been to a good few concerts. The energy he had was just unbelievable, and you could see how hard he was going. He also sounds exactly like he does on the albums and his flow was uninterrupted. He was really good at getting the crowd to sing and go mad.

His set list was gold too, and he had no problem performing his older songs like Nobody’s Perfect, a personal favourite of mine. Kevin’s Heart was also another favourite he sailed through with ease. When we chanted for one more song at the end, he certainly delivered, with a rendition of Fire Squad. My favourite moment of the concert occurred when he substituted Macklemore with Post Malone in the infamous lyric about white people capitalising on and appropriating traditionally black people’s music. He had a slightly mischievous look when he said Post Malone too, considering Posty had been on stage just two hours before him… the absolute shad! His performance alone made all the day’s annoyances fade into insignificance.

Exiting the concert proved to be very time consuming, due to there being only one exit towards the coach park, and one to the main road. This was because the entrance barriers couldn’t be taken down as it was only the first day of the festival, but it literally took us about forty minutes to slowly shuffle out of the venue, something which could have been avoided if they opened up more exits and had more staff to man them. So, in conclusion: only go to Longitude if you really love the line-up, because you probably won’t enjoy it otherwise.