Parklife Weekender 2013
Heaton Park, Manchester
Reviewed by Rebecca Singleton
With glorious sunshine beaming down on Heaton Municipal Park in Manchester the setting couldn’t have been more perfect for the fourth annual Parklife Weekender Festival. The entrance gates were clearly marked and the queues moving quickly, crowds donned out in their best festival gear were in high spirits as we anticipated what lay beyond the gates ahead. Once through the rigorous security checks we made our way up to the main field to see the vast array of tents, stages, rides and stalls that lay before us.
The Park was well laid out and easy to navigate and just when you thought you had seen it all you would go over a little hill and there would be another massive circus type tent and stage it was seemingly endless. No matter your music preference there was always something going on somewhere for you to enjoy.
The artist line up had categories ranging from Alternative electro, Indie, Hip-hop to Dance and Dubstep to name but a few, with Headliners including The Temper Trap, The Maccabees, Plan B, Jurassic 5, Rita Ora and Example. The changeover between artists was seamless with the atmosphere never being broken. Whilst the stages were being prepared and instruments being placed classics such as Will Smith’s ‘Summertime’ blared out to the ever dancing masses.
If you fancied a break from the thronging dance tents or the blare of music from the live stages there was plenty of weird and wonderful stalls to entice you in for a look. These including Flavoured oxygen hits, decorating your outfits with sequins and florescent paints to crazy ping pong tables that had even the non-tipsy skewing their eyes, and as if the vast array of stalls wasn’t enough there were also several fairground rides including a log flume and one that threw you upside down in the air however I gave this one a miss the screams from above were enough to put me off. You could also stop and watch one of the many little displays that sprouted up around the arena. I caught glimpses of an American Football Team and Cheerleading Squad, along with a brass band wandering through the crowds.
Food stalls were plentiful around with choices such as Indian, Mediterranean, Nandos and Thai to your basic Burger bars plus several sweet stalls. Prices weren’t too bad either ranging around £4-6 for a wrap/burger and the portion sizes were decent. Queues for the bars were on average only around 3-4 deep for a venue containing approximately forty thousand people (over the weekend) I thought this was excellent we only had to wait about 5 minutes.
The VIP garden had a calmer more relaxed atmosphere as people sat in the outdoor cocktail lounge bars and danced to the exclusive DJ’s but the real bonus being they had REAL toilets, ok so they were in a cabin but they were actual toilets not Portaloo’s. I would have paid the extra money for that alone.
Travelling to and from the venue was made easier with special buses being put on from the city centre and from Didsbury and with traffic police out in force the traffic moved easily during the day.
The only downside to the festival was that security were not even allowing in sunscreen or water. With the weather in the mid-20s this was just promoting health problems. I couldn’t find one stall selling sunscreen and with bottles of water costing £2.50 and the tops being taken off before they were given to you I’m sure there would have been hundreds suffering from sunburn and sunstroke by the end of the weekend.
All this being said the question is would I recommend this to my family and friends?
Yes I would, but I would suggest you go as a group that way if you want to see different artist you can split up and reunite later after all not everyone you go with has the same music taste. Thoroughly enjoyable weekend and the tan was an added bonus.
For full listings of the events and artists please take a look at the following link: www.parklife.uk.com