I have mixed feelings about Parklife: it’s my local festival, and perhaps the most significant date in Manchester’s music calendar, attracting crowds of 80,000. Yet it’s been beset with organisational issues in the past. The state of the toilets this year reminded me it’s not always the most comfortable experience, though the selection of food, whilst still overpriced, seemed to have improved. Entry searches were noticeably more rigorous following last year’s murder, and thankfully it appears to have passed without incident in 2015. Chronic delays on entry were resolved too, only for the exit to be utterly chaotic and protracted, owing to a failure to separate cars and pedestrians. Most importantly, the sound was inconsistent, lacking presence further back on the main stage and surprisingly weak on the second (indoor stage), though it was fine on the Now Wave stage where I spent most of my day. The budget also failed to stretch to screens on anything but the main stage despite the size; in comparison to Primavera the facilities were sorely lacking, and it is for this reason I bought only a day ticket. Yet, its greatest strength is surely the sheer youthful enthusiasm of the crowd, which is invigorating, and the line-up this year was the strongest to date.
1) Ghostpoet 9/10
2) Jamie xx 8/10
recent article compared Jamie xx's position to Sam Smith's in soul music: dance connoisseurs consider him to be overly populist. Yet, the cheers at the end of the set when he played tribute to his outstanding new album In Colour will remain in my memory.
3) James Blake 8/10
4) Nicholas Jaar 7.5/10
5) Lapsley 7/10
in April in a small railway arch venue, and this set confirmed my love for her music. The set started tentatively, not aided by severe sound bleed from surrounding acts and the less them optimal PA system on the Big Top Stage. Yet, her delivery gained in confidence as the set progressed, and, unlike me, didn't seem to be distracted by the constant shouts of 'Holly' from the crowd during quiet passages in the music. There's perhaps too much subtlety in this act for it to be experienced optimally on a large stage at a boisterous festival, but I'm excited to see how Lapsley progresses towards her début album release.
6) Mac Demarco 6/10