The inevitability of attending Parklife is fairly inescapable at this point for us students, even for those who are entering their final years at Manchester, it is somewhat of a no-brainer. While owed partly to being an entirely convenient end-of-the-year post-exams celebration, the festival has fulfilled on its reputation and has kept us coming back with stellar line-ups each year.
From what can be gauged from this year’s line-up there is plenty to indicate that it will do just that, what with being a line-up curated by The Warehouse Project, the expected cast of top DJs is enough to suggest as such. With the usual suspects of the likes of Eats Everything, Jamie xx, Dixon, DJ EZ, Jamie Jones, MK, Andy C, Hannah Wants, as well as many others who have rightfully earned permanent spots on most Parklife, WHP and other UK festival line-ups.
Of course there are those returning who, in relation to the aforementioned acts we have become accustomed to on the British circuit, will be welcomed back as somewhat unfamiliar faces, such as Kaytranada, Todd Terje and DJ Koze. However chances are the most anticipated sets, for those who have already ventured to the Heaton Park grounds before, will be from the interesting back-to backers and first-timers. Notably back-to-back sets from Armand Van Helden and Jackmaster (other Jackmaster sets are available), Four Tet and Floating Points, Seth Troxler and The Martinez Brothers and Mele & Monki’s NRG Flash, as well as the notable first appearances of the likes of Flume, Diplo, Major Lazer, Mura Masa, Black Coffee, and Jasper James.
Yet the weekend will also serve to fulfil the recurring trend of DJs ditching the decks for live performances, a trend set by the absent Disclosure and Rudimental whom have taken leave of their usual headline slots to stand watch over sister festival Wildlife, but whose shoes have been filled by Gorgon City, Sigma, Wilkinson and Maribou State. That being said, those seeking a truly ‘live’ electronic experience would do well to make it to what will probably be an unmissable set from KiNK. This is of course not to mention the homecoming Manchester alumni, The Chemical Brothers, for what has the potential to be a stirring headlining set considering their humble beginnings, playing in the hall above the Owens Park Tower canteen.
While electronic music unashamedly makes up a substantial portion of the acts over the weekend, Parklife has each year continuously sought to bring out even more interesting non-electronic headliners and acts than the year before. With the impressive showing of legendary hip-hop artists last year, the appearances of Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes and De La Soul helps to raise that bar this year. Which is not to say that Skepta and Stormzy’s main stage billings, along with the slew of stellar grime artists on the Radio 1Xtra stage don’t have the UK rap scene locked down as well. A sufficient selection of pop, rock and indie artists are present in the form of Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Circa Waves and Bastille as well as others, yet these feel relatively safe and do not stand out as much as previous bookings of the likes of Grace Jones or The Roots.
The overall line up remains formidable and the festival as whole could seem to surpass previous events if it improves in other areas. With this being the first time a specific theme and aesthetic has been showcased, in the form of the outer-space promotional imagery, it may serve to give the festival some much needed distinctive imagery for ravers to take in beyond the usual Temple and Colonnade stages, where certainly the Elrow stage will most-likely feature some colourful and densely decorated stage design, if the Spanish club brand’s stand-alone parties are anything to go by. Though logistically speaking, the kinks of travelling to and from the grounds with the Travel Pass will hopefully not be as arduous as years past, where trams broke down on the way and buses back to town were delayed to the point where people did not get back in time to gain entry to the Afterlife parties. Either way there is plenty in store here that could see this being the best Parklife to date, let’s just hope it doesn’t bloody rain!
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