The Parklife Festival Weekender, Heaton Park, 8th-9th June 2013
What do you get when you let 40,000 music-lovers loose on a beautiful summer's day with some of the world's finest bands, DJs and producers? We'll tell you - Manchester's Parklife Festival - which took over Europe's biggest national park - Heaton Park, last weekend. Daringly cut shorts, low vests, tattoos and tinted sunglasses were all the rage at this year's sun soaked event, with the occasional morph suit thrown in for good measure. Bigger and better than ever, the site was transformed into a wonderland of large festival tents, fairground rides and obscure attractions - and we were there to witness it all.
Festival goers soak up the scorching saturday sun at Parklife Festival
We made our way down nice and early on a very sunny Saturday, hoping to catch a diverse selection of this year's stellar line-up. Though the main-stage was brimming with big name headliners, it was the outside tents that provided the most magic. Fast-rising DJ and culprit to providing one of the biggest remixes of 2012, Cyril Hahn, let loose his eclectic mix of electronic hip-hop and down-tempo mixes early in the day.
The views from the main stage at this year's event
Bondax have been simmering below the surface for a while now, but there's little question that last year's "Baby I Got That" took the teenage duo to a new level of recognition. The duo's set couldn't have accompanied the rare scorching sun anymore fittingly. Other highlights throughout the day included the voice of this past year, Jessie Ware, letting the large main-stage audience sample her smooth vocals with hit songs including "Wildest Moments" and "Running".
As the evening drew to a close, Parklife Festival took on a magical glow thanks to Men of the Moment Disclosure, who began performing to a packed-out Now Wave tent. Dropping tracks from their recently crowned number one album, Settle, the duo provoked anthemic chanting from the crowd which echoed throughout the festival site - a highly appropriate way to christen a new location and of course the setting sun.
The crowd go wild For Disclosure's Saturday set
As Sunday dawns, so does a reignited batch of youthful teenagers spreading across the park as if it was home. With a line-up that would completely spoil lovers of any genre, main-stage highlights on Sunday included Example, Iggy Azaela and Riot Jazz - all of whom played exhausting, energetic sets in typical festival fashion. Rita Ora's set was in need of a little rework with fans seeming slightly underwhelmed, though an added addition of a Notorious B.I.G classic was enough to keep things moving. London teenager King Krule impressed with his spoken world melodies set back amongst trademark melodic guitar playing and electronic beats - showing why he's one to watch for 2013.
The talk of the day seemed to lie in the hands of a certain American rapper. Action Bronson brought the festival to life with an astonishing performance showing his natural showmanship. After parading maniacally around the outskirts of the tent Bronson was delighted when an audience member reunited him with his lost phone... so delighted in fact that he awarded the hero a £2000 reward - not bad for a day's fun.
Plan B closes the first day of action with incredible views at the main stage
Not many festivals offer such a comprehensive line-up such as Parklife Festival, unearthing a fine balance between the electronic/house club kids and indie cult followers that it attracts so well. It would be dismissive of us to suggest that the weekend ran smoothly; sure there were teething problems caused by the new site - including some acts performing early (meaning that fans missed the start of their sets) and the gigantic queues on arrival. The festival has clearly found its niche however, and things can only get bigger from here. We can't wait to uncover more antics at Heaton Park for summer 2014 - we'll see you there!
If Parklife got you in the mood for festival season, check out our Manchester Festivals guide for more field-based music fun in your area, or enter our competition to win VIP tickets to see New Order live from Jodrell Bank!