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In Review: Parklife Festival 2018

In Review: Parklife Festival 2018

Jonathan Coll | Reviews

This year’s Parklife was one for the record books. Maybe it was an intoxicating cocktail of sunshine, music and the anticipation of England’s second round penalty shootout defeat in this summer’s World Cup. Whatever it was the atmosphere was excellent. The choices on offer over the weekend meant that any two people’s itineraries for the day were unlikely to match up. For a party of this size it’s maybe best just to run through a few of the highlights.

Denis Sulta played to a typically gargantuan crowd, with nobody having much of a clue what to expect. Buying a Denis Sulta record and hearing Denis Sulta DJ are two very different experiences. He’s been known to mix sleazy house into cheesy pop and this weekend was no different. Patrick Topping’s ‘Be Sharp, Say Nowt’ received an airing alongside Kylie’s ‘Love at First Sight’. There really aren’t too many who would get away with that, let alone be adored for it. It really is difficult to know where to look next, such was the stacked nature of each of the stages.


Image courtesy of Carolina Faruolo

Right now it seems that the Identification of Music Group ought to be temporarily renamed ‘Four Tet at Parklife’. Hebden’s musical knowledge is second to none, as is his ability to win over huge festival crowds with obscure white labels and his own unreleased tracks. His edit of Selena Gomez’s ‘Bad Liar’ was nestled alongside an outrageously heavy unreleased record from Taraval. Eclectic may well be the most overused term in electronic music but it surely applies to Four Tet.


Image courtesy of Andy Hughes

Is there currently a bigger festival DJ in the world than Eric Prydz? Because none immediately spring to mind. He’s a performer who has become tied intrinsically to the incredible productions which accompany his shows. His performance in the Hangar was spectacular. A visual audio assault on the senses which culminated in Opus, accompanied by what felt like a million lasers.


Image courtesy of Max Miechowski

With sensational music once again ticked off the list, some of the less tangible parts of Parklife also left a positive impression. The festival again took forward steps this year with the design of the areas. The Drive-In Cinema made its debut and the Temple stage had morphed into a dystopian city skyline. Just as popular was the Power Tree which, as the name suggests was a tree shaped structure which allowed the Parklife crowd to charge their phones free of charge. Whether you think this is also a dystopian look into the future is for you to decide, but for most it was a thoughtful addition to an excellent weekend. Even the busses back to the city centre were properly managed, which had long been the festival’s Achilles Heel.


Image courtesy of Jenna Foxton

The only challenge Parklife faces now is how to progress from here. Heaton Park is stretched to its limits and the design of the stages is as intricate as they come. The lineup has just about everything you could want from a contemporary music festival. The selection of electronic artists measures up against any other festival in the world and main stage acts always appear to be on the crest a wave by the time they arrive in M25. So where to next? Perhaps Noel and Liam put their scissors and tambourines to one side for a headline show. Maybe Daft Punk pick their helmets up and take us around the world. Parklife however would be well within their rights to carry on just as they are, by throwing urban music’s biggest & best summer party.

Main image courtesy of Andy Hughes.

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