Review: Parklife 2016
Wellies on, dance routines nailed and two-fingers to the drizzle, Exposed headed to Manchester to take in the delights of Parklife Festival 2016.
For a festival largely dominated by dance music, it’s Stockport indie rockers Blossoms that stand out early on in The Big Top tent. With the appropriate level of Manc swagger, it soon becomes clear that Blossoms are one of those bands whose set list is unexpectedly recognisable; tracks like ‘Charlemagne’ and ‘Getaway’ are instant crowd-pleasers as those in attendance (some just sheltering from the never-ending onslaught of rain) realise this is the band behind the song that’s been stuck in their head for the last few weeks.
Making our way to the main stage, next up we catch dance duo Sigma, an act that epitomise the rise of electronic music into mainstream pop. It’s all a bit cheesy and predictable, but from the show of hands in the air and excitable girls singing along to the likes of top charting ‘Glitterball’ and ‘Coming Home’, they do the job.
By marked contrast, next act Jamie Woon is considerably more chilled out, with a live set blending soul, R&B and elements of dubstep. Not someone we had initially planned to see, Woon ends up being the highlight of the day for some of the Exposed team, as he showcases a level of raw talent that stands head and shoulders above many of the button-pushing DJs of the day.
Todd Terje’s disco-tinged set is another stand-out moment, transforming the Now Wave tent into dancefloor euphoria with the Norwegian DJ seamlessly blending electronic basslines with feel-good funk. The Daft Punk-esque set culminates in a lot of happy faces partaking in a mass sing-along (if you can call it that) to well-known anthem ‘Inspector Norse’.
The rest of the day passes flitting between stages until we discover the outdoor Circus Stage, which seems to have an unrivalled atmosphere at most points during the day. Despite the characteristically damp weather the vibe here is electric – and stays this way for the whole festival. It’s a new addition this year, and certain to be a more permanent fixture in years to come judging from today.
As the day begins to draw to an end it’s back to the main stage for headliners Chemical Brothers – and they do not disappoint. Jaw-dropping visuals, lights, lasers and a set-list of back catalogue tunes like ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’, ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’, ‘Do It Again’, ‘Galvanize’ and the more recent hit ‘Go’ make for an unforgettable first day festival closer.
Day two doesn’t offer up quite as many highlights as the first, though Tiga is on form early on, ensuring the entire Bugged Out tent is packed to the rafters, and Danny Howard too offers up huge party vibes with a mix of Crystal Waters’ ‘Gypsy Woman’ towards the end of his set, helping to make up for a rather lacklustre performance from Julio Bashmore.
Deciding to skip the main headliners, we take to the Sounds of the Near Future stage first for Flume.Following that Jamie XX is predictably masterful in giving the crowd what they want, starting with a mix of Joy Division before moving into a set comprising of some of his best work: ‘Gosh’, ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be’ and ‘Loud Places’ causing the biggest stir as the dancefloor swells and people no longer bother to steer clear of the mini-flood that makes up a large portion of the tent. A fittingly euphoric end to the weekend.
Where we stayed
Perfectly located across the road from Manchester Piccadilly Station, Motel One is a budget hotel with the ethos ‘great design for little money’. Walking into the building, the stylish surroundings consist of Britpop-themed décor – LPs, musical instruments and posters of some the city’s finest musical exports adorn the walls. The rooms also continues the smart, modern feel and provided more than adequate comfort for our aching limbs following two longs days. Low prices for high quality surroundings and service along with an ideal location, it’s the perfect place if you’re looking for somewhere to relax whether you’re on business or leisure.