Parklife 2013, Heaton Park – Manchester
A change of location can be a tricky feat for a festival to overcome. As seen last year with Bloc looking to up size to the London Pleasure Gardens, a site now evidently never ready to take on such an occasion. Though with Parklife homed up in Manchester, moving to the largest municipal park in all of Europe, there was never going to be a problem with over filling the site. Heaton Park has already played host to sell out Stone Roses reunion shows, where avid fans came from a far to see the veteran rockers, but for Parklife, the focus was certainly on the diversity of the sounds and sights on show for all to enjoy.
The sun was shining and the weather was sweet and everybody was moving their dancing feet from the moment they stepped onto the site. AlunaGeorge were an early highlight the Sounds of the Near Future tent, curated by local promoters Now Wave. The duo’s hands on performance, accompanied by their ever so sultry take on the poppier end of electronic music, made for a real joyous experience for those watching.
Over on the main stage Quadron, a band I’d previously never heard of really elated the on lookers around them. The lead vocalist was a thoroughly engaging songstress, backed by her bands obvious musical prowess, they performed a lot of material from there as yet unreleased album, which will certainly be one to look out for in the coming months.
In a city where the night life offerings are overflowing with deep house it was no surprise that it was to be the main order of the weekend and there probably wasn’t a time where somewhere on site a DJ wasn’t playing deep grooves. Though it seemed very plain that people weren’t in a judgmental mood, so called foot shufflers and the avid musical train spotters united to party as one, and the bitching was left to those who didn’t come.
With arena’s hosted on the Saturday by huge house music brands, Circo Loco, The Jackathon and Hot Natured, they brought in some huge acts, but particularly early on in the day, the atmosphere was kept a quite a lull. Lee Foss played to a packed out tent that at times remained at a standstill, though his innocuous array of bassline house did at times get fists pumping.
Drum and Bass main head Roni Size, really rocked the Metropolis tent. His feel good anthems were on a constant roll making the whole crowd rock. Wailing ravers could be heard bellowing ‘Jungle is Massive’ as soon as the first bar of the inimitable record was dropped.
As the evening of the first day drew in and the merriness of the crowd became ever more wavy, pop princess Jessie Ware took the stage and for some reason chose to holla ‘Thank you Sir Alex I love you’. Obviously forgetting there would be an equally large blue half to the Manchester crowd, who obviously vented their anger through throwing objects at her throughout her otherwise quite compelling performance. Plan B closed off the main stage for the night with a truly transformative performance that incorporated his many faces of music. Backed by visuals from his film, Ill Manor’s the show progressed through his early more brash brutal tracks, right through to the rather dapper Strickland Banks output where he came out all suited and booted and cooed at by the ladies.
Sunday came around and the sun was still brightly shining as the masses again made their way to the site, hangover’s in tow, that were soon dropped when they entered the realms of the action.
Toddla T Sound System rocked the main stage with a healthy track range, from Disclosure round to Lauren Hill via some bass weight dubstep. MC DRS got the crowd moving with some simple but effective side to side games and Shola Ama performed a few numbers.
Rodigan’s Ram Jam played host to the outside arena at the pit of the hillside, where garage legend DJ EZ’s overtly active approach to mixing kept the atmosphere fizzing throughout his set. MC Majestic called the crowd up onto shoulders and instantly too many torso’s could be seen rising above the rest, but that said, if you can’t go wild at a festival where can you?