Review Parklife 2015
Exposed ventured across the Pennines to check out Manchester music festival, Parklife.
Parklife 2015 proved that this is no longer a simple soiree thrown together for students celebrating the end of the summer semester. Moving from its humble Platt Fields Park abode in 2012 to make way for its now 70,000 strong capacity at Heaton Park, the fest boasts some of the biggest names on the house and dance scene, and many more besides.
Now with eight stages, Parklife offers up the very best of both upcoming and established dance, drum ‘n’ bass, house, electronica and alternative music. And, as it’s thrown by the guys behind the legendary Warehouse Project, you can assured that they know a thing or two about how to put on a good time.
So after getting used to the alarming level of drunken revelry the punters were already embroiled in early afternoon on the first day, we joined the party and flitted between the acts that were warming the crowds up. DJs like Julio Bashmore and Ben Pearce pulled in hefty crowds early on and chart-topper Mark Ronson brought an eclectic array of hip hop and funk to the forefront of his early evening set. A slight disappointment was the sound on the main stage – perhaps it was the strong winds or where we were in the crowd, but the volume of Annie Mac’s set was frustratingly low – more like the filler music between sets than a headliner warm-up.
As a result, we decided to forego headliners Disclosure for a guaranteed good time with Fatboy Slim. With hits ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat’ and ‘Star 69’ sending the tent into frenzy – induced further by the lights, lasers and acid-house visuals – the dance veteran certainly did not disappoint.
Heaton Park was basking in an unlikely ray of sunshine for the majority of the Sunday at Parklife, resulting in an absolutely glorious set from Craig Charles, playing his own finely-tuned brand of funk and soul and showcasing some serious dance moves to go with it.
Next up was probably the most entertaining set I’ve ever seen at a festival. It was always going to stand out against the DJ-behind-deck set-up that smattered the majority of the weekend’s line-up, but, at 67, Grace Jones brought her A-Game. Naturally, a costume change per song added to the theatrics of the set and the audience saw the use of masks, a grass skirt, bone necklaces and a cape appear on and off until just her painted bare breasts, corset and a hula hoop remained. The finale of ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ was more than impressive, in part due to the fact that the singer was able to hula-hoop for the entire track, whilst wearing heels and dancing on top of a speaker. Now that’s entertainment.
Soul collective Jungle were also a highlight, showcasing their lauded debut album with precision and power in a sound that was remarkably accurate to the recorded version itself.
Other stand-out sets included Joy Orbison, who packed out the Bugged Out! tent with his own unique blend of house/garage/dub, and Oliver Heldens also drew a hefty crowd with his hit 2013 ‘Gecko’ going down an absolute storm in the Drop The Mustard tent. Finally Rudimental closed the festival on Sunday evening with a highly energetic and crowd-pleasing set whereas elsewhere Caribou brought the fest to a more chilled out conclusion, utilising a full live band and stunning visuals.
For more about Parklife Festival, head to www.parklife.uk.com.