Revellers have flocked to Manchester’s Parklife since 2010, come rain or shine; and there’s been plenty of the former. From the first Parklife Weekender, the lineup has featured some of the biggest acts across pop, hip-hop and electronic music. The first couple of years starred almost exclusively British acts such as Calvin Harris, Chase & Status and Everything Everything; with De La Soul being the first stellar overseas talent to grace the stage.
For it’s eight year the organisers have gone all out, drawing in BRIT and Grammy Award-winning acts from around the world to the legendary Heaton Park. Two days jam-packed with established and emerging talent, playing to one of the loudest (and rowdiest) crowds on God’s green earth — or in this case, God’s squelching, mud bathed fields. And this year promises to be the biggest yet
Where to start…oh yes, the absolute question mark of a man that is Frank Ocean. He’s a bit of an elusive one is ‘ar Frank after, forget his recent spate of festival withdrawals– I’m still reeling from him cancelling Primavera last weekend– it only took him four years to follow up Channel ORANGE, but what an album Blonde was! For the past few weeks, us Frank fans have been gnawing at our fingernails, hanging on Twitter’s every character for news, with a growing fear he could repeat this trick. But with only three days to go, and my long held belief in “no news is good news” I think he’d have be a special kind of arsehole to cancel now. BUT if he does grace Heaton Park with his magnificent presence (and fresh pink hair) it will sure to be the set of the festival.
The Saturday night sees tmrw favourite’s The 1975 become festival headliners for surely the first of many occasions. With the exception of their recent Sade cover of “By Your Side” and a standout performance at the BRITs, 2017 has been a bit of a quiet one from the boys but I can guarantee they’ll be keeping the nearby residents up for just a littler longer than usual — especially if my friend Katie has anything to do with it, the words “too excited” don’t even come close…
This year’s lineup is arguably the strongest, and most diverse yet. Parklife’s organisers are showing their support for the UK’s rising grime scene(NOT rap as many publications have begun to dumb it down to…seriously, have a word). Boy Better Know headline the Temple stage on Saturday– after earlier performances by Giggs, Ghetts and P Money– before godfather of grime Wiley and the genre’s poster boy Stormzy take to the stage on Sunday. For those thinking about not going to see ‘Big Mike’, don’t be a donut.
If grime doesn’t tickle your fancy there are welcome returns by Two Door Cinema Club, George Ezra, Chaka Khan (oh yes) and London Grammar on the Saturday; or you could indulge in the quiet tones of Japanese House and the more colourful vibes of Jagwar Ma and Anderson .Paak.
Sunday is just as littered with jaw dropping talent and fear inducing potential clashes. Run The Jewels, fresh from literally breaking the stage at Primavera, are on before Frank for a set absolutely not to be missed; contrasting against the rest of the predominately pop fuelled mainstage lineup including Rag’n’Bone Man, Zara Larsson and Nao. Hip-Hop/R’n’B flows over the rest of the day: from Damian ‘jr gong’ Marley to the experimental genius of Flying Lotus; a surely outstanding DJ set from Fabric saviour Goldie, to the once in a generation vocals of Sampha — Sunday is almost too good for it’s own good.
Still splashing around in the post-Primavera blues, Parklife will be the perfect tonic for me, but it’s just the beginning for this summer’s UK festival season. And we’ll be with you every step of the way; look after one another and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year…if Frank shows up.
Words by HQ