Heaton Park is a big place. Spanning six hundred acres – aka three hundred football pitches – the Manchester park saw eighty thousand revelers descend through its gates each day. And why was that? Parklife 2017 baby. With a line up that featured some of the biggest names in hard hitting underground electronic dance music, we thought it’d be unfair if we didn’t give readers the lowdown on the weekends shenanigans. So we packed our bags and headed over to Manchester for the weekend, and boy was it something special.
Walking through the Parklife gates alongside eighty thousand suitably excited ravers was quite the experience. There was a buzz in the air, a proper bit of atmosphere that was enough to get anyone excited. The thud of the drum beat cracked in the air as we queued, and with tapping feet itching to get inside we finally made it in.
We kicked things off by heading over to the Warehouse Projext x Kaluki stage, trudging through mud as we went. Imagine facing the front of a gigantic robotic spider, that’s the closest thing to describe what this stage looked like. It was outside, it was muddy and it was raining, but the sumptuous sounds of Hot Since 82 were more than enough to keep the weather from ruining the vibe. The Knee Deep in Sound boss absolutely smashed it, rolling out some heavy duty house and techno to some very animated looking punters. He dropped a few classics, with Sam Paginini’s ‘Rave’ doing its usual amount of damage. That was followed up with an absolute belter by Ki Creighton and Makanan titled ‘Trivial’, a tech house groover with a vocal sample that hits home hard. Hats off to Hot Since 82, he set the daytime tone up nicely.
We shot off just before 7pm, and made our way over to the Ape and Metropolis tent to catch two of DnB’s most revered DJs: Hype and Hazard. The two Playaz legends were playing their first debut back to back set in Manchester, and it was certainly something special. With heavy rollers and filthy jump up tunes aplenty, the dynamic duo whacked out some tunes that can only be best be described as disgusting. They were joined onstage by MCs Eksman and IC3, two well established DnB poets who spat some seriously good bars over the mic.
After getting our weekend dose of DnB we ambled back over to the Warehouse Project x Kaluki stage to see out the rest of the night. It was about half seven, and just as we were walking in we saw the unmistakable faces of two of the USA’s finest exports: The Martinez Brothers. Their energy behind the decks – as always – was tip top, as they cut shapes and fully had it behind the decks it made such a difference to the crowd. They got everyone stoked, using Honey Dijon’s ‘Catch the Beat’ to inject their infectious joie de vivre straight through to ravers.
Eight o’clock. Still daytime, still at the Warehouse Project stage and still very excited. Why? Because Seth Troxler was about to come on. The US maestro, who’s played at Parklife several times before, rolled out Chris Korda’s weapon ‘Fleshdance’, before night time fell and he was joined by Hot Creations honcho Jamie Jones. The pair were lethal to say the least, inflicting some serious damage with the 2006 edit of Sono’s ‘Keep Control’. It was tech at it’s finest, the chemistry was immense and the mental light shows were just the icing on the cake.
After resting and recuperating from the previous nights antics we headed over to Heaton Park at half 4. Once in we headed straight to The Hangar, a monumental warehouse that housed the dark sounds of Maya Jane Coles. After seeing her at Printworks in February expectations were high, but in true style she completely lived up to expectations. The light shows in this place were unparalleled, as she dropped ‘Cafeteros’ by Macromism and followed it up with Camelphat’s remix of ‘Reach for me’. The vibe was electric and as the sun started peaking through the entrance, UK duo Dusky soon took the floor.
It was half 6 now, and the two lads had the whole crowd in the palm of their hands. After playing a few hard hitting techno numbers they whacked on one of their absolute classics ‘Careless’. This was the highlight moment of the weekend, not just because we’d been waiting to hear them play this in their sets for a long time, but simply because of the atmosphere it built. The sun had just started to peak through, and alongside it was one of the biggest summer belters out there. Tip top stuff from the 27 Steps bosses, and with techno in the air we made our way to The Warehouse Project stage.
Fast forward to nine fifteen, and already instant damage was being done. The crowd perked up as soon as the Intec Digital boss hopped into the booth, and rightly so, because Carl Cox dealt some seriously heavy duty dance-floor weaponry. Day had turned into night, and as Skream’s remix of Riva Starr’s ‘The Basement Shit’ echoed around Parklife there was excitement in the air. Closing time was imminent, but the legend still managed to fit in his very own edit of Pan Pot’s ‘Riot’. It was a finishing set of full of some of the very best minimal, stripped back techno, and we couldn’t have asked for anymore than that.
And that was it! The music stopped, the lights dimmed and we, alongside some very excited looking revelers, made our way over to the gates we’d walked through earlier on in the day. It felt a bit early to be leaving the dance, but the antics over the weekend and the unbelievable stage production more than made up for it. As we ambled back home we reflected, and decided that Parklife festival really had delivered the goods.
It may have been our first time in Manchester for Parklife but we were crystal clear on one thing by the end: it definitely wouldn’t be our last. Manchester we salute you, we’ll be seeing you next year!
Parklife festival 2018 super earlybird tickets are on sale now, tickets here.