This time last week the masses were about to descend upon what has become one of the must attend urban festivals of the year – Parklife. We joined them – got involved and this is what we thought of it.
First we have to start with a slight criticism. We got the shuttle bus service, supposedly, into Heaton Park. The bus dropped us in a Sainsburys car park over a mile away from where we needed to enter – the VIP entrance. There was loads of staff around however, not one had any real idea where to go. It was a bit of a free for all!
The crowds were already a buzz, the roar and thunder of bass was echoing all around and to make things even better the sun was shining.
The site held 8 stages and arenas this year so we grabbed a quick pint and made our plan of attack. We’d float around, take in the atmosphere and try to get a good feel of what the weekend was all about. We weren’t looking to catch anyone specific for a few hours so just going with the flow was the order of the hour.
After popping into a few of the big marquees we headed over to the main stage to watch the delectable Ella Eyre completely take it over. Ella commanded and owned the stage while belting out her own hits as well as crowd favourite ‘Waiting All Night’.
Mid afternoon the sky clouded over which seemed to change the mood a bit. We headed back to VIP to grab some food and take a quick break. It’s got to be said, VIP seemed horrendously over sold. The queues for the toilets we equally as long as outside of VIP, and luxury? Nope. The organisers were selling a VIP upgrade – with a line for the kiosk that didn’t subside all day. It kind of defeats the point of VIP if you can just pay to get in on the day. It’s only a minor complaint but it seemed odd.
We then headed to the MK Arena to catch a big of Ben Pearce – who unfortunately seemed to be playing to a bit of an unappreciative crowd. Nevermind, getting to hear ‘What I Might Do’ blasted out by the man himself was a highlight – even if the pictures I took ended up shit!
We explored the site a little more over the next few hours, interacting with the crowd and capturing some great moment of people fully involved in the music like this chap below. Then it was time for Wu Tang!
Wu-Tang is like a box of chocolates. You never know who you’re gonna get until they’re on stage. Method Man, RZA and Raekwon were missing which was disappointing but the six who made it to stage – Ghost Face, GZA, U-God, Cappadonna, Masta Killah and Inspectah Deck killed it. This was one THE biggest highlights for me of the weekend and the crowd absolutely loved it!
Saturday was a good. There were only minor complaints and everyone seemed relatively happy. We got down on the Sunday about 1pm. The sun was shining bright, there was no wind and spirits were high. As soon as you walked in it felt like a completely different festival. The vibe was perfect, no aggro, no stern faces. Everyone happy and dancing, brilliant! Even the people queuing` were in a different mood.
Buraka Son Sistema gave one of the most energetic stage performances I’v ever witnessed – Blaya, you’re amazing!
Baauer delivered – in my opinion – one of the sickest sets of Parklife 2015 when he got completely TURNT UP on the Ram Jam Stage.
We got up close and personal with the big man, Action Bronson who gave another stand out performance. A true showman, he loved the back and forth with the crown and when the chants of “TERRY, TERRY” rang out, the smile he gave out showed a super star humbled.
But for me, the absolute pinnacle of the weekend and a real long time dream come true was getting to witness one of the original O.G Kings Of Hip Hop, the incomparable, timeless, unwavering Nas recite the classic album Illmatic back to the crowds. It was a phenomenal performance, I predict as good now as it ever was. Nas is a true stoic. He doesn’t change and brought so much fervour and energy to the mic that it was a true honour to witness the legend do his thing from just below the stage.
Rudimental closed out the weekend with an almost weekend stealing performance – which more than made up for that one time not so long ago! 😉
All in the weekend was a success. From what we found, everyone was happy and enjoying themselves. I do have one complaint, and it stems from the opener. The staff, almost everyone we asked, had no clue about anything. No one could point you in the right direction of anything but that didn’t stop them sending you all over everywhere. I also hate being treated like a drugged up party raver, especially when all I’ve managed is a pint between running around. It’s very offensive and again, wasn’t a one off. Indeed, a chap with “Operations Manager” on the back of his grey fleece top almost pushed me out of the way when I asked where the press area was.
Point being, you can have the acts, the weather, the location, the happy people – but inject one or two negatives – especially where customer interaction is concerned – and you can quickly leave your guests with a sour taste.
But all in all, I believe the weekend was a success and can’t wait for its return in 2016, bigger and better!
• A seriously stellar line-up
• Good layout – 8 stages and arenas
• The amazing people of Manchester making everyone feel welcome!
• Massive array of food
• Unhelpful, arrogant staff
• £5.50 pints of Strongbow!
• PA on Main stage wasn’t as good as down at the Temple stage
• The massive walk to the VIP entrance
You can check out our #ParkLife2015 Galleries here! If you see anyone you recognise, tag them!
Crowds Gallery – https://goo.gl/HKxv9U