Here’s what went down when Ticketmaster’s Daisy Jackson headed down to Heaton Park, Manchester, to get her festival fix at Parklife 2015…
1. No-frills talent from Jessie Ware
When it comes to huge festivals, most artists turn to crazy costumes, massive production props, or at the very least, a few pyrotechnics. Not Jessie Ware. Taking to the stage in a simple black suit, she was modest and awe-inspiring from the get-go. Her soulful sound was interjected with the occasional pause to blow kisses and express genuinely sincere gratitude for the crowd’s adoration. We’ll be following her every move across the festival scene this summer.
2. A tent full of fan girls for James Bay
James Bay’s astronomical rise to fame is testament to his skilled songwriting, charismatic live shows and, let’s be honest, some very recognisable branding. He belted out soulful song after song in front of a 10-foot-tall sketch of his already iconic hat. Biggest hit Hold Back the River went down a storm with the packed-to-capacity Big Top tent, and his cover of Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You is one that has cemented his position as one of the most exciting and surprising live acts in the UK.
3. Organised chaos at Rudimental
As the sun set over the final day of Parklife 2015, the energy in Heaton Park was feeling a little tired. Rudimental seemed unaccepting of this, exploding onto the main stage in a jumble of musicians, special guests, and high-energy anthems. A surprise appearance from the legendary Dizzee Rascal, and a finale of Feel The Love, meant that Rudimental’s set became one of the most talked-about slots of the weekend.
4. Sass overload with Ella Eyre
The main stage was brought to life on Saturday by the firecracker that is Ella Eyre, sporting a loud catsuit and an even louder voice. This injection of girl power issued the assembled crowd with very clear instructions: “Ladies I want to see you singing and dancing along. And if you don’t know the words, make them the f*ck up”.
5. Sunshine vibes from Jungle
Listen to their self-titled album and you’d think Jungle have employed an abundance of clever vocal effects. It’s only when you see them live that you realise their incredible sound is down to note-perfect harmonies and sheer talent. The duo’s latest release, Julia, was the perfect soundtrack to the first sunshine of the weekend and had bare-footed revellers dancing in a heartbeat.
6. Disclosure ending day one with a bang
From their elevated perch on the main stage, the Disclosure siblings must have felt pretty pleased at the sheer size of their following. With a steadily revolving set of special guests – including exclusive peeks at new collaborations with Kwabs and Lion Babe – the entire set was full of twists, turns, and (of course) dancing. A high-energy and crowd-pleasing way to end day one of Parklife.
7. A huge turn out for birthday boy George Ezra
Ezra is a man in possession of a folky voice that has blessed him with a main stage slot less than a year after releasing his first record. Sauntering on stage in sunglasses and a coy smile, he opened with the jaunty Cassy O, and kept the huge crowd toe tapping until the very end. The instantly catchy and recognisable Budapest was a clear favourite, leading to a Mexican wave of group hugs and cider-fuelled expressions of love.
8. Sneak previews from Everything Everything
You want songs that are insanely catchy but impossible to sing-along to (at least tunefully)? These are your guys. Fronted by untouchably talented falsetto Jonathan Higgs, Everything Everything charged through their dynamic back catalogue and debuted exciting new material from upcoming album, Get to Heaven. Their November UK tour dates are top of our to-do list.
9. A unicorn dreamland at Metronomy
Metronomy have built quite a name for themselves on the live circuits, and their clean electronic sounds at Parklife easily lived up to expectations. Frontman Joseph Mount – flanked by two glowing white organs and a backdrop of fluorescent pink clouds – guided his band through their extensive archives as well as new material.
10. A gentle wind-down with Ben Howard
This festival favourite headlined the Big Top stage on Saturday night, vying for the crowd’s attention against some weighty competition on other stages. The small but dedicated gathering were treated to a beautiful taste of Howard’s recent release I Forget Where We Were, as well as tried and tested favourites from debut album Wolves. Catch his gorgeous set live at Citadel festival this summer.
Were you at Parklife 2015? Let Daisy know who you saw (and loved) at @daisyellen91.