Into its fourth year and now at Heaton Park, Parklife is fast becoming a date in the calendar to kick off a summer of festivals.
First up for 2015 was Loadstar, hosted by Manchester’s own Tonn Piper, whose drum and bass exploded out of the Ram Records tent as festival-goers came flooding through the main entrance to kick off their weekend.
Over in the Now Wave tent Novelist, an 18 year old grime MC from London, took to the stage nervously, but once things got going he proved that there’s that there’s still a big demand for the genre.
Back at the Ram Records tent there was time to catch a glimpse of Jaguar Skills before heading to watch one of the most anticipated acts of the day – Wu Tang Clan on the main stage. Those who chose to watch Jaguar’s full set chose wisely – he delivered a highly charged, frantic set. But the hip-hop legends sadly didn’t deliver. Devoted fans turned out to see the legendary rap collective and were sorely disappointed. With little energy, the Clan they performed a mediocre set and left us all feeling somewhat duped.
In a weekend packed with DJs of varying genres, next to the Main Stage was the queen bee herself – Annie Mac. Even with a limited view you could spot Mac’s beaming smile from behind her booth – her enjoyment reflecting in her set and colourful stage set-up.
As evening drew in James Bay’s stunning vocals drew a crowd to the Big Top tent. Even from the back of this packed-out space the crowd’s enthusiasm was infectious.
Next up was Devon-based electronic group Metronomy – a tastefully stylish band that played an enjoyable and refreshingly entertaining show with a great sound – before Mark Ronson on the Chibuku stage. His music provided the energy he lacked, as he focused deeply on providing a sensationally funky set that gave the crowd the chance to get up and groove down to some great music.
In the Strongbow Tent was a hidden gem in the Parklife line-up. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Izzy Trixx is a half-Indonesian half-Irish DJ classically trained in music. Her abilities shone throughout her set and even in one of the smallest tents of the festival, she made one of the biggest sounding shows. A tough act for anyone to follow but Disclosure – who have made a massive crater with their impact on the music scene – earned their headline spot. They took to the stage on podiums and provided a fantastically visual show. The electro duo were on top form, showing off their impressive skills alongside some amazing vocalists.
Completing Saturday’s line-up, a DJ of great legacy and reputation – Fatboy Slim. His choice of tunes exploded out from the stage while next to him a sign with a delightful reference to the festival’s name, which ideally summed up Saturday…
“A sense of enormous well being!”
Words and pictures: Scott Wight