Parklife 2015 – An eclectic crowd for an eclectic lineup

Parklife 2015 (Credit: Justine Trickett)
Early on Saturday morning, under the grey clouds of Manchester, thousands of people tossed away chugged cans of cider and entered the gates of Heaton park to make their yearly pilgrimage through mud baths, metal detectors and sniffer dogs, following the call of the throbbing bass to the infamous large pink letters spelling ‘PARKLIFE’.

The eclectic line up resulted in an eclectic crowd, with headgear ranging from bucket hats to snapbacks to flowery headbands, and more people travelling to the festival from far away towns than ever before.

For those disheartened by the showers, the dominating peeks of the tents offered shelter and warmth, with body heat emanating from the mosh pits in the ‘Andy C Presents Ram’ drum and base tent with Jaguar Skills, the shuffled dance moves at acts such as Jackmaster or Jamie XX, and the chilled out vibes in the Big Top tent with Everything Everything and James Bay. The outdoor crowds, armed with wellies and mac-in-a-bags, danced undefeated to popular acts such as Annie Mac at the main stage and Julio Bashmore at ‘ The Temple’ Warehouse Project stage, with the familiar whistle and cheer emanating through the park at the drop of a beat.

As darkness fell and the fluorescent fairground lit, one man and his quiff set out to enchant the audience preceding the highly anticipated headliner Fat Boy Slim. Opening with Ooh We, Mark Ronson energized the flagging crowd with modern classics such as Uptown Funk, raising spirits and voices louder than the track. Despite being just him and his turn tables, he captivated the Chibuku tent with a mix of hip hop and his own tracks until closing on Valerie, with the words chanted back to him like a gospel to a pastor.

The fragile second day attendees were blessed with the unusual appearance of Mancunian sunshine.

To mark the 15th Anniversary of Chibuku, Fat Boy Slim delivered a crowd pleasing theatrical performance set affront his usual animated back drop and explosive light displays. By launching Eat Sleep Rave Repeat bouncing first from his decks, the pace was set at an ecstatic rate, with anthems such as Right Here, Right Now continuing to pump up the tent. As the recognizable beat of Praise You began, the congregation cried out and lifted their arms, every body’s faces mirroring the smiley animation behind the decks. Joining together singing and swaying the tent became entranced, until the beat dropped and Norman Cook swung his microphone triumphantly above his now manic crowd.

Disadvantaged by not having camping facilities, after Parklife finishes the options are limited to an ‘afterlife’ event in central Manchester or the long journey home, only to wearily return to the park in 12 hours time. Dressed in their Sunday best, the fragile second day attendees were rewarded with not only another stellar line-up featuring the likes of Jamie Jones and DJ Ez, but were also blessed with the unusual appearance of Mancunian sunshine.

The image at the top of this review was taken by Justine Trickett.

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