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Parklife Weekender 2013: Review & Gallery

Sunshine and beats swathe 60,000 rapturous revellers at Heaton Park

Written by . Published on June 10th 2013.

Parklife Weekender 2013: Review & Gallery

WHAT a bloody scorcher.

Parklife 2013 may very well take the crown for best (luckiest) festival weather of the summer after a weekend of revelry that rarely dropped below 20°C, especially considering the laborious bogs and mud baths of Platt Fields last year.

In terms of weather, high jinks, trendies, ambience and amount of flesh-on-show (I witnessed at least three full boobs out and a countless amount of under-bum) this year’s Parklife Weekender will be very hard to beat.

Cherry pick elements of Ibiza: The sunglasses, the sunbathing, the muscles, the tats, the vests, the tans, the under-arses peaking from beneath tiny denim hot pants, and add it in with facets of the city's peerless Warehouse Project with beaming lights, vacant eyes, pulsing bodies and pumping fists.

Mix in a big wheel, sizzling meat, dodgems, a log flume, ice-creams, an inflatable phallus or two and a DJ in a tree house. Throw it all in with 60,000 party-goers in a green field five-miles outside of Manchester city centre and you’ve just about got yourself a Parklife.

Tree House DJTree House DJ

As the majority of people rolled in between 2pm and 4pm on the Saturday, Manchester’s own Delphic and Australian indie-rocker-choirboys The Temper Trap warmed up the crowd (not that they needed much warming) before jungle collective Rudimental took to the stage and became the first act to truly get the party stomping, with mega-hit Feel The Love producing an ecstatic and elastic reaction in the crowd.


Later on breakbeat-soulstress Jessie Ware took to the main stage before one of very few bandy bands, The Maccabees lit it up with crowd-and-radio pleasers Pelican and Love You Better. 

 But it was in the tents where the hardcore were headed.

There’s always something much more intimate about the festival-tent experience as opposed to the main stage, it’s the reverberation of the lights and sound, the temperature, the smell, people hiding dead-eyes behind sunglasses even though it’s pitch-black.

The MaccabeesThe Maccabees

This was the setting for the surprise highlight of the whole Saturday, in the Drop the Mustard tent came an eighteen-year-old French electro-producer and all round whizz-kid going by the name of Madeon. His mad maximalist mash-up, Pop Culture, which samples no less than 39 artists in 3m26secs has amassed nearly 20m hits on YouTube and is a painstakingly assembled piece of electronica. It’s harder to get your ears around than Scatman – but frantically uplifting.


Madeon was followed in the tent by Fake Blood (Theo Keating) who polished off the Saturday stint in the Mustard tent with a horde of sonic eccentricities, while Disclosure potentially pulled in the largest crowd of Saturday’s apex with a storming set in the Sounds of the Future tent. While for those that weren’t partial to the dinge, musk and sweat of the tents, out in the open-air Plan B brought an air of swag and threat to the main stage, backed up by a troublesome looking rabble.

Belting out fan-favourites from no.1 albums Ill Manors and The Defamation of Strickland Banks, flare-smoke and pulsing lights licked the crowds as the chorus of She Said was propelled back at the stage with as much force as was harking from it.

Plan BPlan B

If Saturday had set the precedent, Sunday certainly didn’t disappoint. Although many of the full weekend attendees had started to lag by the morn, the sunshine did its best to charge up that depleted energy.

In the Big Top tent, after years of travelling alone, Norwegians Todd Terje & Lindstrom produced a corking live duo set, whilst on the main stage 22-year-old sultry Australian rapper Izzy Azalea (imagine a tall, white and blonde Nicky Minaj – slightly less junk in the trunk) brought her rhymes, fishnets and a touch of hip-hop to the main stage.

One of the most hotly anticipated performances of the weekend came from Jurassic 5, the American alt-hip-hop group who seem to have been around for ever (since 1993 anyway), brought some old-timer heavyweight credibility to the festival with a bold and energetic set on the main stage, as did Manchester and Smiths stalwart, Johnny Marr over in the Now Wave tent.

Jurassic 5Jurassic 5

One of the hottest properties in UK music right now (and the bezzie of that model with the eyebrows) Rita Ora played out the penultimate set on the main stage before Sunday headliner and perpetual hit-maker Example, went head to head with The Horrors, DJ Fresh and the most outlandishly named artist of the festival, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (TEED if you’re hip) for the last of the weekend lasters.



In terms of weather, high jinks, trendies, ambience and amount of flesh-on-show (I witnessed at least three full boobs out and a countless amount of under-bum) this year’s Parklife Weekender will be very hard to beat.

However, the festival certainly wasn’t without its flaws, mobile coverage was a real problem – which at a festival, when you lose your friends at least 487 times, can become particularly frustrating (I thought they were meant to erect temporary mobile masts at these things?).

However, it was queuing that was of primary concern. The queues for the Parklife Express, particularly by Victoria Station and on-site post-festival were gargantuan, as were the queues for entry to the festival, the bars and the post-event trams at Bowker Vale - which all-in-all became a real issue of contention for many a reveller.

Mammoth queue for entry on SaturdayMammoth queue for entry on Saturday

Indeed many missed out on the later acts and left early on the Sunday to miss the queues that had plagued those on Saturday night, when hundreds if not thousands of party-weary attendees had made the nightmarish five-mile trek back into the city-centre just because they weren’t willing to wait nine hours for public transport (we thought this may have been remedied after a very similar experience at the Stone Roses’ Heaton Park shows).

The walk back to the city was like a scene from The Walking Dead – all staggers and beat-down expressions. Having said that, all the shops and takeaways en-route did bloody well out of it – Red Bull and kebab anyone?

Parklife’s debut at Heaton Park was a swealtering belter (due in no small part to the weather); but there are certainly a few kinks to be ironed out before next year’s musical debauchery.

Follow David on Twitter @david8blake

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paulsouthernJune 10th 2013.

My lad went to Parklife this weekend and thought it was ace. I'm a veteran of Glastonbury too but a bit concerned about people in 'Parklife' Hi Vis jackets selling what my son thought were poppers. Was he correct, did anyone else see this? In my opinion not on :-(

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 11th 2013.

It's true, they're not illegal though. Kell

paulsouthernJune 11th 2013.

Yeah I realise not illegal. Just though not the sort of thing the organisers should be pushing.

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