The Parklife Weekender
Festival Highlights and Essential Tips
By Laura Whitehurst
I’m admitting to you all upfront. I am a Mancunian gal, born and bred, but I am a Parklife Weekender virgin. I personally have travelled far and wide to a variety of festivals all over the UK yet never ventured so far as Heaton Park in the past few years it has graced our lovely city.
Absolutely no idea.
Having looked at the ridiculous line-up, the incredible variety of tents and music on offer, I am currently kicking my past self with my still mud-caked welly from last year’s exploits.
Parklife Weekender has often been shortlisted for Best Major Festival in the UK Festival awards, alongside Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, V Festival and Bestival, and with an equally impressive line-up to its larger counterparts, even my rain-proof poncho is getting giddy with excitement.
So, I’m going to use this article to sum up what I believe will be the highlights of the festival, and also some hints and tips for the weekend ahead if, like me, your Parklife cherry has yet to be popped.
#1 SNOOP DOGG
Are you kidding, Parklife? You must be having us on. THE Snoop D-oh-double-G? Formally known as Snoop Lion? Snoop Doggy Dogg? Or Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr if you’re nasty. (No joke, that is his full name. Definitely making a sign with that on.)
Whatever you want to call him, THE DOGG will be headlining Main Stage on the Saturday. What a way to end the first day of incredible music? I know he’ll put on an amazing show, and best of all, we all know Snoop Dogg has a massive love for Manchester. Why? His no-shame love for Coronation Street. The rapper said: “People always think I’m playing when I talk about Coronation Street, but I swear it’s my favourite show on TV. They got everything – sex, murder, transsexuals. There ain’t no other show that can touch it.”
Word, Snoop. Word.
If he loves Manchester’s finest street, then we will welcome him with open arms.
What better way to warm up to the majesty of Snoop Dogg than with the epic jungle collective that is Rudimental. Absolutely storming the charts with their fan base expanding faster than Kim Kardashian’s hips on her honeymoon, we know that the crowds are going to be huge and (rudi)mental. Fusing their influences of soul and bass, the outcome of their music is epic and bursting with energy; energy which will surely infect the tightly knitted Saturday night crowd.
#3 HIP-HOP KARAOKE
IS THIS WHAT I THINK IT IS?!
Having done some extensive research, it appears that it is. In the Desperados Detonate Area on Saturday at Parklife, it appears that there will be HIP-HOP KARAOKE.
Having started in London as the UK’s first and original Hip Hop Karaoke event, they seem to have created an excellent concept, now taking place all over the country, and, best of all, at Parklife on Saturday!
So if you ladies out there fancy yourself as the next Salt N Pepa or you want to be wooing your very own Queen Bey like Jay Z, then get yourself practicing! Who knows? Snoop Dogg may hear you and make you his very own Snoop Puppy protégée.
Only a few days until you get your hip hop on. If you need me, I’ll be the one hogging the mic and being escorted out…
Follow Hip Hop Karaoke on Twitter @hiphopkaraoke
#4 SOUL II SOUL
I’m not sure why Parklife isn’t calling Sunday “SOUL II SOUL SUNDAY” because, really, I don’t know how the rest of my Sunday will compare to these legends, as special guests of Venum Sound System.
Describing themselves as ‘the funki dreds with a happy face, a thumpin bass for a lovin race’, you may best remember these absolute beauts for their huge hit ‘Back to Life’ back in 1989. It’s R&B/Soul as it should be, guaranteed to take you back to the early 90s and ease that aching Saturday night hangover. Catch them on Sunday in The Collonade because there is absolutely no way you lovin’ race don’t need that thumpin’ bass.
#5 ALL THE ACTUAL DJS EVER
I wish I hadn’t limited myself to 5 highlights. I wish I really could go on about the line-up for the next 80 pages, HOWEVER, if I did that, it’d be time to go to Parklife and I still haven’t picked up my wellies from my mum. SO, I’m just going to cheat and say, highlight number 5 is of course all the incredible DJs bringing us great sets all weekend.
The whole Weekender is run by The Warehouse Project, the heart of all Manchester club nights, so we always knew the DJ sets were going to be awesome, but now they’re just being big-headed about it. Just to name a few who I know will be ridiculous are Andy C, Shy FX, Annie Mac, Disclosure, Jamie XX and of course a special DJ set from Bonobo. Kiddies, we are in for a TREAT.
And finally, here are some of my special hints and tips for the weekend to make sure you are fully prepared for what Parklife Weekender has to throw at you.
Let’s be honest. It is Manchester. It is forecast to rain this week preceding the festival so please don’t be that guy in the flip-flop trying to flag a taxi because you’ve lost one to a puddle. I greatly recommend some wellies, as this ain’t no Benicassim. Also, please refrain from wearing Crocs. No other reason than they are the ugliest and least practical footwear anybody has invented, and this is coming from the girl who used to have shoes with a chair leg for a heel.
#2. RAINPROOF YOURSELF
This surprised me, but it makes a lot of sense. On the website, it tells you that umbrellas are not allowed. The girl in me that doesn’t actually want to look like a swamp donkey by 11pm on Saturday was mortified by this, however it ensures that people’s view of Snoop Dogg are not blocked should the rain hit us hard. Or it’s for health and safety. Or because the people who organised Parklife have a fear of umbrellas. In any case, it appears they are barred from the arena, so make sure you pack yourself one of those sexy ponchos, or at least a hooded garment so you can still make the most of the main stage whilst keeping your frizz tame.
Travel is a super important element of your day you need to consider. Personally, I’m one of those people who likes to just go with the flow, and if it means hitching a lift on your pals shoulders all the way home, then so be it. But Heaton Park is fairly far from Manchester City Centre (5 miles in fact) on foot (or on shoulder) so I recommend you plan travel well. If you’re one of those lucky souls who can bribe a pal with a tenner to pick you up after the 11pm finish on both Saturday and Sunday, then do so (and save a space for me) but I do recommend they pick you up a good 20 minutes away from the park itself. Organise a meeting place, otherwise you’ll be stranded in a sea of cars yelling your friends’ name like a lost puppy. Tell them to jump off the M60 ring road and find a nice spot to chill. If you are planning on relying on public transport, I’ll see you all on the Metrolink.
Manchester have been really kind and given us some info on travel, which I’ll copy and paste like a lazy reporter for you below:
Travelling by Metrolink to Parklife 7 and 8 June 2014
If you’re planning to use Metrolink to get to Parklife, you need be aware of some changes.
If you’re getting a train to Manchester Victoria railway station, please remember that its Metrolink stop is currently shut for redevelopment, so you’ll need to make the 10-minute walk to the nearby Shudehill tram stop in order to catch a tram to Heaton Park.
Metrolink services are only running on a single line of track through Victoria while it’s transformed, and that means trams from the city centre to Heaton Park on the Bury service will run every 12 minutes rather than every six.
Each of those trams will, however, be a double tram.
At 6.30pm, we’ll close the Heaton Park stop, so on the way back you’ll need to head to the nearby Bowker Vale stop instead. That’s because Bowker Vale has much better facilities for managing queues and there will be lots of demand for trams back to the city from around 9pm onwards.
In order to meet that demand as best we can, we’ll make some changes elsewhere on the network that will let us run trams from Bury to the city every six minutes (see ‘Other changes to Metrolink services’).
If you’re getting a train home, please check the last tram times from Bowker Vale and give yourself at least half an hour to board a tram, as it’s likely you’ll have to queue for a time. Also, be sure to factor in the walk from Shudehill to Victoria.
You can check last tram times here:
Please don’t risk missing your connection home: plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to catch a tram.
There are park and ride sites at the Bury Interchange and Whitefield stops north of the Heaton Park and Bowker Vale stops that provide a great pick-up or drop-off point if you can find someone kind enough to give you a lift! The park and ride facilities are free to use for Metrolink customers.
#4. There’s still a lot of stuff you may need to know about..
I’d recommend to have a look at http://www.parklife.uk.com/info/id/1/General_Information.html so that you know exactly where you’re going when you arrive – you don’t want to be the one that misses Hip-Hop Karaoke, after all.
It also contains some general info about Entrance Policy, what you need to bring with you, and also information to find out if you’re special enough to use the VIP Loos (#soimportant).
Looking forward to seeing you all there, and I’ll be posting a review of the festival itself once my mind has recovered…
Make sure to follow Laura at @ for coverage of the 2014 Parklife Weekender!