Having just arrived back from The Parklife Weekender festival in Manchester’s inner city Platt Fields Park, I am still exhausted, still covered in mud, and still wishing I was still in Manchester.
I really had no idea what to expect from The Parklife Weekender. I was told only a week ago that I was going – I didn’t know who was playing or even where I was going to stay! The festival, however, exceeded all my (limited) expectations, with an excellent line-up, facilities, setting and value-for-money.
Because of its setting in central Manchester, in the student-dominated district of Fallowfield, The Parklife Weekender is a unique festival. Firstly, well over 50% of the guests were students – the University of Manchester is one of Europe’s biggest universities, with roughly 30,000 students – and this is surely good news for other students going to the festival.
Secondly, it is a non-camping festival. This works wholly to its advantage, as it reduces ticket prices considerably (it was roughly £60 for a weekend ticket) and means that the guests can stay with friends, shower, eat and drink comfortably, and be protected from the rain overnight.
Finally, being located in Manchester meant that when the festival finished at 11pm, there was still a lot to do. It may seem like an early end to the festival, but when the music ended and the festival was over, the Manchester nightlife – famous anyway – was only just getting into full flow. As well as the official afterparties, the whole Fallowfield area was teeming with house parties on both nights if you’re not the clubbing type.
The festival itself covered all areas. The line-up was incredible, particularly given the £60 tickets, with acts such as Chase and Status, Mystery Jets, Two Door Cinema Club, 2ManyDJs, Mark Ronson and Boys Noize to name a few. Not only was the music good, but it was also varied, with everything from drum’n’bass in the Hospitality tent, to hip-hop and Grandmaster Flash in the Juicy tent, to pop and rock on the Main Stage.
The facilities were as in any other big festival, with plenty of overpriced food and drink, and easily enough accessible toilets and water fountains for all. The park itself was beautiful, a great size for the festival, and the nearby Church only made one stage turn off its speakers for half an hour during evensong.
After enjoying two incredible days in the festival, I somehow managed to find places to stay for both nights – thank you Phoebe Janner! I can honestly say that, having been to quite a few festivals in my time, The Parklife Weekender really was one of the best, with excellent music, cheap tickets, and a great setting in urban Manchester. I would definitely go back. A 5* festival all-round.