This year over 80,000 people travelled north to Manchester’s, Heaton Park for a fun filled weekend adventure. The city is known as the birthplace, of the industrial revolution. Also the worker bee symbol, which is featured on their coat of arms can be seen everywhere when walking around the city.
After starting as a small festival in Platt Fields Park, Parklife has since then become one of the UK’s most anticipated festivals. Having what can be classed as, an array of some of the most internationally recognized artists. Parklife is bigger and better that ever.
PHOTO: VINCE STAPLES
PHOTO: SHY FX
Opening day of the festival, had people flooding through Heaton Park in over temperatures of 20 degrees. Especially as, in true festival nature torrential rain is usually the outcome therefore making for a nice change. Early afternoon on Saturday saw performances from various acts and DJ’s, one being Manchester’s very own MVSON Collective. A trio of DJ’s known for their sell out event Tektu, the Tektu event has recently taken over both Manchester and Birmingham’s music scene.
When speaking to the trio, they collectively agreed that “people asking for guest list on the night of the event, is one the most annoying aspects about hosting a night”. It’s no wonder when they draw in hundreds of students and locals, packing out a venue that facilitates 1,500 people. Everything about the night is always well thought out from carnival, boat cruise and even festival themed rooms. MVSON performed a remarkable set on the Smirnoff House Stage.
PHOTO: A$AP ROCKY
Day one of the festival definitely started with a bang, with performances from New Zealand sensation Lorde, Sampha, Jessie Ware to name a few. The Valley Stage saw a set from American DJ and the recently appointed art director of Louis Vuitton’s Menswear, Virgil Abloh. His set showed a mixture of UK music and sounds from American trap, of course it wouldn’t have been complete without playing a track or two of long time friend Kanye West. Virgil elevated his set further by trying to appeal to a UK crowd, bringing out rising star Octavian.
N.E.R.D came through with an extraordinary performance on the main stage, inviting a mob of fans on stage to jam out to some of their most popular hits. Once the sun had set the majority of the festival go-errs headed to the Valley stage to watch a somewhat delayed performance form A$AP Rocky, Rocky had to have a police escort from the airport. Half way through his set saw grime veteran Skepta come out and perform Praise the Lord from A$AP’s new album Testing. Rocky shouted that he didn’t care that he was meant to be off stage, which was later followed by his mic being turned off.
Taking in all other features of Parklife, it only felt right to explore other aspects of the festival on day two. From oxygen bars, clothing stalls to a bright stand out pink Pretty Little Thing bus, located in the VIP area. An area closed off with a small white picketed fence, is where getting bedazzled with glitter was a nice touch hosted by Gypsy Shrine.
Dave put on an energetic performance in the the Future Sounds tent, it was clear that the final day of Parklife was going to finish with a bang. Following this performance in usual UK festival style the heavens opened up with no sign of stopping, the same tent was then filled with JHUS fans as well as people trying to take shelter from rain. Known for his extravagant stage designs, HUS emerged from a huge fisherman inspired prop.
PHOTO: J HUS
However, even with the rain showing no sign of letting up that wasn’t going to stop people from having fun which was evident by those who were running around shirtless with beers in hand. Whilst the festival was filled with fresh and emerging UK talent, nostalgia was received from no other than a Manchester’s music legend Liam Gallagher. Prior to his performance the once Oasis band member, took to Twitter to say how this year he wanted to rename the festival “Parkalife” for obvious reasons. Closing Parklife was a privilege, given to BBK member and one of the few grime artists to receive mass appeal worldwide. Skepta, showed why he’s still pioneering the UK scene, even a decade later.
PHOTO: LIAM GALLAGHER
PHOTO: AJ TRACEY
Parklife has now become one of the most youthful, diverse and energetic festivals with the ability to just get better and better each year. It will be interesting to see how they can top it in years to come.