The View from Far Out: Parklife Festival 2019

On the run up to Parklife 2019, Manchester’s Heaton Park was predicted to face wash out conditions across the weekend. As excited revellers turned out in clothing fit for the best Ibiza parties, they happily grooved on the mammoth grounds despite the two day downpours. In true Mancunion fashion, nothing wouldn’t be dampening anyone’s spirits.

With the Saturday well under way, Heaton Park’s usually placid fields became barely recognisable. Jam packed with immense stage design, world class artists from across the globe and that feel-good festival atmosphere, Parklife had finally arrived. One of the early highlights warming up the weekend crowd was famed Radio 1 DJ; Annie Mac. Placed on The Valley stage, which was new for 2018, her hypnotic blend of house music had the crowd dancing the rain away, and her eclectic taste in dance music was the perfect beginning to a weekend full of dancing. 

Over at the temple stage, the Drum and Bass king Andy C was stepping up to give Parklife a dose of 175bpm chaos. Now refered to as one of the most talented DJ’s of the century, Andy C tore through his hour-long set; twisting all styles of jungle and drum and bass with double drops and hand in the air moments at every corner. His technical ability and genuine affection for the dancefloor translated perfectly to the crowd of Heaton park, making him one of the most standout dance artists of the weekend. 

As Saturday drew to a close it was time for the headline act. Following complications from surgery, the original headliner Cardi B pulled out leading to an emergency reshuffle. With headline clashes left right and centre, we were forced to choose between Disclosure, Chase and Status, Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz, Chistine and the Queens and Mark Ronson, tough, right?

We opted for Mark Ronson, who was chosen to fill in Cardi’s boots, but unfortunately, his set felt absent as he toured through a DJ set of his own pop hits. It felt unexciting and translated poorly to the audience who craved more of a live presence from the headline act. Nevertheless, the stage design was an impressive heart shaped DJ booth and some of the of the small crowd that attended seemed to enjoy it.

As the Sunday rolled around, Manchester was greeted with some early morning sunlight, with queues begining to elongate as the hardened revellers came back for round two. As quick as the promise of sunlight came, it wasn’t long before the typical Manchester weather returned, leading to several hours of heavy rain, however Mabel’s performance brightened up Sunday afternoon.

Amassing millions on Spotify alone, Mabel drew revelers in from far and wide as she elegantly strode through her catalogue of pop hits. With blue touseled long mermaid hair and a possy of talented and backing dancers, the crowd screamed the infectious lyrics back to the singer songwriter, belting out the lyrics to hits like ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ and ‘Ring Ring’.

Fellow Mancunians (Stockport if we’re going to be precise) Blossoms were also a highlight of Sunday afternoon. As the heavens opened once more and people packed into the overcrowded tents like the Palm House and The Hangar, the brave bunch left outside made their way over to the five-piece’s set. Embracing the torrential rain and donning their best bucket hats, the crowd erupted into several mosh pits and nothing was going to stop them in their tracks. Making their way through the classics, highlights of their set included ‘Honey Sweet’ and ‘My Favourite Room’; the latter resulting in frontman, Tom Ogden, encouraging the crowd to comically sing Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’.

Drenched head to toe, it was time to get inside a tent to warm up, so we headed into the ‘Sounds of the Future’ tent to get in early for Guernsey-born electronic music producer; Mura Masa. As they wheeled his live set onto the stage, the crowd’s anticipation was immense. Being one of the most celebrated cross over artists to date Mura Masa delivered the best performance of the entire weekend. With multiple guests for each tune and a plethora of live instruments and synths it was the perfect set for Manchester’s Heaton Park. One major highlight was Slowthai’s guest appearance to perform their collaboration ‘doorman’. Their combination of energy had the crowd bouncing up and down to every word.

As the energy-fuelled weekend drew to a close,  the Sunday headliner was the UK’s national treasure; George Ezra. Filling the mainstage with his big band, George’s smile beamed across the audience as he performed some of his colossal pop hits. With a church like décor installed in the background, George’s performance felt more personal and direct than ever. After all the rain Manchester experienced that weekend, his positive feel-good vibes felt like the perfect end to the weekend. As confetti blasted out of cannons and people held hands singing harmoniously, it ended Parklife 2019 on an unforgettable note.

Abi White

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