Parklife celebrated a triumphant tenth anniversary this weekend with a host of electrifying performances from Solange, The Streets, Mark Ronson, Migos, Christine and the Queens, Dave and more.
Charged by Manchester’s party energy, 80,000 festivalgoers descended upon Heaton Park each day for the milestone event, with rain unable to dampen spirits as the very best in pop, hip-hop, electronic and rap dazzled fans.
Saturday’s Main Stage boasted an array of stellar talent across Saturday afternoon. Yxng Bane’s breakthrough remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” brought the heat, whilst Little Simz gave an emotional rendition of “God Bless Mary” with a live band, and Loyle Carner’s set synthesized an intimate connection with his audience. Dave’s sprained ankle didn’t stop him wowing the crowd with tracks like “Streatham”, as the South London rapper told Manchester “I wouldn’t miss this for the world”. slowthai lit up the Sounds of The Near Future stage with his high powered performance – seeing him invite a fan onto the stage to fill in for Skepta for their ‘Inglorious’ collab – before Christine and the Queens and her spellbinding dance troupe wowed fans as they gave renditions of tracks from both albums as well as an unexpected breakdown to Travis Scott’s ‘Sicko Mode’.
More day one highlights included DJ Koze who filled the dancefloor with his uplifting rework of Lapsley’s ‘Operator’, plus David Rodigan’s rapturous set of jungle and drum & bass, and Kaytranada who brought a lively vibe to crowds with a set that was backed by impressive visuals. Northern powerhouse Patrick Topping proved a party favourite as well as local boys Solardo, with MK immersing himself into the crowd and taking faces with the hedonistic partygoers. Over on the Valley, Disclosure transcended into the moonlight with a thundering bassline hook of ’White Noise’. The crowd was sent ablaze to originals and fiery bass house numbers like Lorenzo & Lake’s ‘Piano Hand’, while Mark Ronson gave a slew of big-hitting tunes to bring a euphoric end to Parklife’s first day.
Sunday saw JPEGMAFIA kickstart the day with a raucous display filled with stage dives and mosh pits, followed by a silhouetted Pusha T on the Sounds of the Near Future who started off strong with the acapella-d first bars of ‘If You Know You Know’ and flowed into an awe-inspiring performance which riled fans. BBC Sound of 2019 winner Octavian demonstrated exactly why he was deserving of the honor. Across a swift 40-minute set, the genre-bending rapper displayed stage presence and energy akin to an international superstar. The Palm House welcomed electronic talent in Daniel Avery, Helena Hauff and stage hosts Bicep, with in-demand DJ Amelie Lens keeping the energy high. A colorful set from Todd Terje followed, while Black Coffee commanded the masses with his South African infused beats and the festival’s house and techno-focused ‘Hanger’ stage continuing the rave energy with a takeover from Adam Beyer’s ‘Drumcode’.
Manchester’s very own Blossoms overjoyed revellers on the main stage with their anthemic sounds, as well as hip-hop supergroup Migos who had the Parklife crowd in the palm of their hand from the moment they arrived breezing through mega-hits ‘Motorsport’, ‘Hannah Montana’ and ‘Bad and Boujeee’. The anticipation for the notorious trio was more than palpable. The Streets reeled in a rapturous crowd as frontman Mike Skinner performed hits ‘Dry Your Eyes’, ‘Blinded By The Lights’ and closed with ‘Fit But You Know It’ sending the audience wild. The genre-defying veteran proclaimed he ‘bought the sun’ for his performance, and as he sprayed the crowd with Dom Perignon, the spontaneous Mike Skinner leapt into the audience ending the performance on a high. With George Ezra ensuing uplifting arms in the air moments, and Stefflon Don bringing summer vibes, a cataclysmic closing set from Major Lazer saw sparks fly as they stood on the DJ deck hyping the crowd with Diplo at the helm.
With a decade under its belt, Parklife shows no signs of slowing day and proves its well and truly a jewel in Manchester’s musical crown. The 2020 edition is confirmed to return to Heaton Park on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th, with a limited run of Earlybird tickets on sale now via the festival’s website priced at just £119 for weekend general admission, and £145 for weekend VIP.