“It’s going to rain all weekend," they said.
"You’re all going to be miserable at Parklife this year,” they said.
They being the weather-officials who predicted floods, storms and lightening for the weekend and the ticket holders who bungled off their tickets for fear of a wash out. Wusses.
Indeed, the weather was against Parklife partiers compared to 2013’s scorching temperatures. Yes, the rain came. Yes, we got drenched. Hair got soaked, shoes were lost, clothes were ruined with crude-oil thick sludge, yet 70,000 partiers returned to Heaton Park defiant and armed with ponchos to rave on.
Long laborious queues; as ubiquitous to the festival scene as women exposing under bum in revealing shorts and as unavoidable as the eye-watering stench of rancid porta-loos and ravers finger-pointing with massive pupils and wide eyes. Parklife was no different.
The first day of the festival was a bit of an organisational nightmare.
With only two small box offices containing guestlist tickets, standard tickets, tickets for sale and press accreditation for the thousands of festival goers, mayhem was bound to ensue. And it did.
Crowds of people crushed the tiny box offices, screaming guests were pushed up against the windows and even the workers inside ended up in tears as security struggled to regain control and bring order back. Police were called and fights broke out. A shakey start, undeniably.
Once tickets were sorted and wristbands were on, the festival could begin.
For some the day had all got too much, and by 3pm there were numerous festival goers bailing into the mud after too much alcohol and, or, other substances. Many came, saw and fell flat on their face.
Still, stepping over those you could go and see Foxes play a lively set that saw the singer (real name Louisa Rose Allen) sway and jump around the main stage with gusto.
Mainstage acts drew the majority of the crowd. Festival frequenter Katy B turned up with her UK Garage smash hits, from high charting album, Little Red.
There’s no Parklife festival without drum and bass four–piece, Rudimental. They’ve become beloved furniture for the Parklife weekend and they did not disappoint on the main stage. Uniting with talented upcoming vocalists they lifted the mood from bright to elated with their popular singles, Feel The Love and More Than Anything. “Did we bring the sun out for ya?” said the shirtless MC.
By this time the weather was glorious.
On smaller stages such as the Now Wave tent, upcoming act MNEK played a soulful set to a packed out crowd. The 19-year-old singer performed popular single Ready For Your Love and his standout hit Every Little Word.
Compton OG rapper, Snoop Dogg, brought his DJ entourage to perform his old hip-hop classics and encourage a mass head-bobbing session for the closing set. Dressed in patriotic stars and stripes (plus scantily clad lady), D-O Double G brought his certified laid-back cool to end Saturday's proceedings.
Of course, for every highlight, there were a few issues to ruin the mainly positive atmosphere. The crushes, the mud and even at some points the violence (Police reported two men stabbed at the event on Saturday) soured the day for some.
The teething problems from the first festival at Heaton Park in 2013 had been improved but not entirely fixed.
Most festival-goers spent both days with a low phone signal and sending and receiving messages was near impossible. As a result many partiers lost friends and were unlikely to be found until the end of the evening. It’s a difficult issue to resolve - time for network provider EE to erect a telephone mast at the top of the tree house, maybe?
Also, transporting 70,000 muddied partiers back home was no easy feat.
After last year’s reported difficulty returning home, the efficiency test laid with the Metrolink service. Leaving Parklife just before the last song at 10.30pm after a long walk to the Bowker Vale tram stop (they close the Heaton Park station as it's too cramped) there was a quick tram ride back to city centre for 11.40pm.
Homeward bound and ready for more.
The Sun Gods answered the prayers of the gun-fingered ravers and provided moments of glorious weather and no storm for the second day.
With much whizzier access to the park and much more use of the VIP section for ease of bar and toilet queues, the Sunday was a sunnier day on a whole.
The VIP section (separated bar areas, dedicated stage and food by the likes of Solita), did not stop the ‘very important’ females relieving themselves by the ‘K’ of the Parklife sign, however. The festival filth is not only reserved for the non-VIP wristband holders.
Sunday’s DJ populated line-up provided a consistent pulse of ‘duff-duffs’ from SBTRKT, Jamie XX, Ryan Hemsworth and plenty more.
An electronic highlight came from DJ EZ who warmed up the gigantic ‘Wildlife’ stage before DJ/Producer duo Disclosure took to the stage for an animated performance of their hits including You and Me and Fire Starts To Burn.
Propelled from Disclosure’s shadow as a celebrated solo act, Sam Smith, provided opportunities for pause on the main stage. Performing a mellowed down version of Disclosure’s Latch, lighters were lit, arms waved and couples decided to declare their love with full on tongue kisses to ballad Stay With Me.
London Grammar also showcased a vocally exquisite set on the main stage, although the tepid-tempo admittedly sobered the raucous crowd. Lead singer Hannah Reid’s ethereal voice succeeded in captivating the crowds, as the trio flowed through their ‘trip-hop’ meets soul album, Metal and Dust.
Other main stage highlights came from rock bands Bastille (lead by the prettiest of pretty boys, Dan Smith) and festival favourites, The Foals, who closed the weekend with blustering energy, leaving the crowd in high spirits.
While Parklife's return to Heaton Park came up against possibly the worst festival weather, the weekend was a triumph as much as it was marred by occasional torrential rain.
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