When the line-up for Longitude was announced last month, it was so shockingly fantastic that all hopes of the EP line-up being in the same stratosphere were abandoned. EP has struggled with their demographic over the years since the demise of Oxegen meant younger people started attending Electric Picnic and wanted different acts. Despite all of this and against all expectations, the E.P line-up was announced a couple weeks ago and it’s fantastically shocking.

Kendrick Lamar is possibly the biggest rapper in the world right now, fresh off producing the soundtrack to one of the biggest films of the year – Black Panther and enjoying Grammy success with his 2017 album DAMN. As well as that he’s fresh in the minds of his Irish fans, having played here in the 3Arena only two months ago. Adding him to the line-up is a triumph that will catapult EP into the festival spotlight.

Filling out the rest of the headliners are Massive Attack, who are returning for a third time, and N.E.R.D, the American hip hop band fronted by Pharell Williams. Both bands will pull older crowds who will remember Massive Attack’s older singles such as ‘Teardrop’, as well as remembering the slew of singles that N.E.R.D released in the early 2000s, including ‘She Wants to Move.’ N.E.R.D returned last year with No One Ever Really dies, collaborating with huge names such as Ed Sheeran and Rihanna, the latter producing ‘Lemon,’ a huge hit that didn’t get a lot of airplay this side of the water. .

The brilliance of this year’s line-up is that there are headline-worthy acts outside these trees. Also on the bill is Dua Lipa, who has had such a massive six months she could easily be second on the docket. With an upcoming Olympia gig, she is sure to excite her Irish fans and make her one of the most popular performers at the festival. Similarly, Swedish singer Sigrid, who is enjoying massive success with her single Strangers and who has the same high-tempo pop vibe as Dua Lipa ,has been announced on the bill.

The list contains more laid-back singer-songwriter acts are Ben Howard, who returns to the spotlight after 5 years with a new album due out just before the festival, Jessie Ware, who was meant to play EP in 2015 and had to cancel and George Ezra, who victoriously returned with his new album Staying at Tamara’s. There are a number of other exciting artists on this docket, with honourable mentions going to The Kooks, Chvrches, Friendly Fires and Jorja Smith. The general response to this line-up has been overwhelmingly positive, with many seeing it as a step in the right direction for Electric Picnic. With this being the first wave of announcements, the festival is set to have it’s biggest year yet.

Caoimhe McParland – Music Writer