Sunday, 8 June 2014

Parklife '14

Parklife is an annual music festival held in Manchester's Heaton Park, over a three-day period. I got a Saturday ticket and attended my first ever music festival. God knows why it's taken me so long. I knew the weather was going to be horrendous but I took every precaution I possibly could.

The event holds a number of simultaneous performances across sound stages scattered around the huge field, mostly hidden under huge circus-style tents. Each location featured a range of dance and hip hop acts, from the obscure to the internationally recognised. I also found a fairground, places to eat, a square corridor of portaloos and the World's Smallest Club. 

It was also one of the world's busiest and warmest clubs.

We were quite far from the main stage but most acts that we caught we could see on the huge LCD screens on either side. We found an incline in the field not far from the VIP area, with a good view of the main stage. The acts didn't come up too well on my phone's videos, though- the changing light emitted from the stage and the screens doesn't suit an Xperia's focus. You can't film it all, I thought. Just enjoy it.

I think the highlight for me and my group was the Desperados stage- a smaller area at the back of the field sponsored by the tequila-infused beer. 

Corrugated Iron sheets formed the small penned-off area, complete with a tower for the house music DJ. The crowd was smaller, friendlier and there were a few stunners knocking about too.

Even though we are all in our early 30s I still got ID'd for booze at one stall after a power-trip supervisor practically forced a young barman to ask us. He was NOT happy. I felt sorry for the guy. It surprised me that they were being so rigid about ID when there were enough people chewing their faces off anyway.

Here's a shaky Annie Mac from Radio 1, filmed by another attendee:

Honestly not sure if I saw any of her set myself.
In this video of Rudimental, who I'm sure I did see, you can see the flying remote-controlled CCTV cameras scouting for troublemakers and drug users.

Here's Keizsa performing Hideaway

Missed MK... if I remember rightly- he clashed with Snoop Dogg! 

I've been listening to Snoop's music since I heard him on Tim Westwood's Radio 1 rap show in about '96. There was no way I was missing him. I was impressed that- to close the events at Parklife- he mixed in some of his older 1990's material along with the more recent songs that the young'uns would know him for (and to my relief, Katy Perry wasn't involved.)

Snoop is known for his collaborations, as is hip hip singer and Snoop's cohort Nate Dogg, who featured on some of the tracks played.

Is Nate doing the vocals live?” I asked my mate. “Oh shit wait, no he's dead. No, that was a genuine question!” It did sound like Snoop was backed up by a live PA though.

Exiting the event was a complete and utter farce. Social media this morning has been awash with complaints to the Parklife organisers that there were nowhere near enough stewards, buses, Police or information on the day. As the smaller stages shut down towards the evening most of the punters flocked to the main stage to watch Snoop Dogg, so once his set finished and the stage lights went down, 40,000 drunk revelers flocked down one park road towards a small handful of buses. Police presence was virtually nonexistent, and the stewards were rude and incapable of stopping people pushing the fences over and taking shortcuts across the grass. Both men and women broke out into fistfights, there were tears and there were a plethora of stragglers roaming like zombies towards the city centre. Transport was a complete farce and TfGM- local public transport company- missed out on a huge amount of money by not putting on buses or trams after midnight. Both Parklife and TfGM need to put their heads together to stop this happening again- too many people now know how to shame an organisation using social media. Besides, it's not 1992. My advice to them: do not give us a reason to.




My first festival experience was a positive one. Good company, good music, hilarity, mental behaviour, a bit of unashamed celeb-stalking, music played and performed by small upcoming names that were every bit as talented as the most successful artists also appearing at the park, challenging weather and even a small amount of sunshine towards the evening. God knows how I made it back to my mate's house with this in my pocket when I don't even smoke.

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