Doja Cat brings her best, most unpredictable self to Parklife 2024

From a bright and breezy Four Tet to an utterly unique Doja, all the highlights from Parklife 2024

The Manchester torrential rain was out in full effect at this year’s edition Parklife Festival, but that didn’t stop thousands of electronic and pop music fans from heading down to Heaton Park for Manchester’s biggest day festival. From Doja Cat singing Hilary Duff’s ‘Come Clean’ in the rain to three-way B2Bs with some of the best DJs to Horsegirl’s horse-themed techno, this year’s festival was not short of showstopping moments. Here are our highlights from Parklife 2024.


Nia Archives

“All the junglists, put your hands up!” A cocktail of live DJing and live vocals, Nia Archives graduated from an overspilling crowd at the Eat Your Own Ears tent last year to the big stage in Heaton Park’s Valley for an outdoor rave. Complete with visuals showing off her Union Jack nails – a reminder that Jamaican diaspora-led subgenres such as Jungle and dub are woven into the fabric of UK history – Nia’s sunshine set was a junglist’s dream, closing with Brazilian-influenced mega hit ‘Baianá’.

Four Tet

Kieran Hebden (aka global electronic star Four Tet) had a relatable casualness during his Parklife set at The Valley Stage – a simple T-shirt, a breezy demeanour, and a satisfied smile on his face. It was almost jarring to see how relaxed he was while playing an experimental dance music set fit for the biggest party we’d all ever been to, but it’s a testament to how much Four Tet was in his element.

Peggy Gou

Is there anyone cooler than Peggy Gou? Her Parklife set on The Valley Stage proved that the answer to that question is no, as she breezily took over the decks after Four Tet finished – and gave us a preview of what it would be like to experience Peggy Gou B2B Four Tet. Rick Owen shades on, camera angles giving us different views of Peggy at work on the big screen, and a healthy dose of deep-tech, tech house and more; Peggy’s party in the Valley was the coolest party we’d ever been to. Don’t miss her live show at Gunnersbury Park this August.


At The G Stage, Jazzy guided us through a set of UK garage, groovy house, EDM and everything in between, turning a regular festival tent into Parklife’s very own underground house party. With the crowd sprawling out across the surrounding hill, we’re sure that Jazzy’s next Parklife performance will be on a bigger stage – and Jazzy is definitely an emerging DJ to watch.

Disclosure closes out The Valley

Their first UK show in eight years, Disclosure spared no expense with their Parklife headline set; lasers, lights, cinematic visuals, switching between different instruments to play on stage, and a setlist that was equal parts nostalgic and future-looking. Kicking of their performance with ‘F For You’ and ‘When A Fire Starts to Burn’, the house duo planted us firmly in their catalogue, and a BPM fit for dancing. The pair were soon joined by their own brass section, before taking us through newer and older work, electric guitar and drum solos, then finishing on a live rendition of the Flume remix of ‘You and Me’ as the sun set.


Barry Can’t Swim

“Thank you for coming out in this weather,” the Edinburgh DJ and producer told the rain-soaked crowd during his afternoon set on the Parklife mainstage. And it was easy to forget that our plastic ponchos were doing a terrible job of keeping the rain at bay while experiencing Barry Can’t Swim’s disco-inspired dance hits. Barry may not be able to swim but he can play drums, keyboard and DJ all in one show, and celebrate his triumphant debut album, When Will We Land?.


Berlin-based DJ, singer and model horsegiirL turned a regular rainy Manchester Sunday afternoon into a taste of a Berghain night. Clad in the most impeccable bleach blonde hair extensions and sparkly silver outfit, the self-described “girlie from the barn” was unrelenting in her techno, eurodance, Ghettotech and jersey club set, playing ‘My Little White Pony’, ‘My Barn My Rules’ and more horse-themed hits under the intense strobe lights of the Magic Sky stage. Personal highlight, a horsegiirL eurodance flip of Lady Gaga’s ‘Just Dance’ – just as Gaga would’ve intended it.


Fresh from the release of his latest album, Timeless, Canadian DJ and producer Kaytranada was joyful, full of an infectious and ebullient energy that was more than welcome as the rain flooded us at the Parklife stage. But despite the cold and dreary weather, Kaytranada reminded us that he wanted to make us dance, and that he did, playing a mix of hits from 99.9% and BUBBA before – “who wants to hear some new sh*t?” – playing some of the new sh*t. Hearing ‘Please Babe’ and ‘Hold On’ in a sea of dancing people as the sun set in the rain speaks to the title of Kaytranada’s latest album – a truly timeless experience. Before closing with his breakout hit ‘Be Your Girl’, Kaytra treated the crowd to his own remix of Beyoncé’s ‘Cuff It’. A pitch perfect performance.

Doja Cat lights up The Valley Stage

There’s no one quite like Doja Cat. The staging alone – platforms built out long blonde hair to match her boots (also adorned in long blonde hair), a commentary on the frenzy surrounding her choosing to shave her hair instead of maintaining her Hot Pink and Planet Her aesthetics. If it’s long cascading hair you want, it’s long cascading hair you’ll get – just not on her head because with Doja Cat, you should always suspect subversions. Her latest album, Scarlet, as well as songs from its deluxe, CLAUDE, and recent B-sides with The Joy, were all front and centre in her Parklife setlist, which comes as no surprise seeing as the popstar has been clear that this era was about shedding her old projects for a sound more fitting to her current evolution. ‘ACKNOWLEDGE ME’, the opening track on CLAUDE served as the opening track for her performance, followed by more Scarlet/CLAUDE hits such as ‘Demons’, ‘Shutcho’ and ‘PISS’. Her backing vocalists also served as backup dancers, and her own Doja-fied Hercules-like muses in all-white outfits.

“This rain is majestic!” Doja Cat tells the crowd as she stepped onto the catwalk part of the stage, before singing the very apt lyrics of the chorus to Hilary Duff’s 2003 ‘Come Clean’, “let the rain fall down and wake my dreams”. This all comes before realising that a lot of the crowd were probably born in 2003, and never grew up with Hilary Duff’s pop career or Lizzie McGuire. After this realisation, Doja introduces ‘Say So’ with “well, you’ll know this one”, and goes on to perform her Hot Pink hit with a confidence and joy of feeling completely comfortable leaving that era behind. She’s in a new realm of stardom, one on her own terms and her Parklife set is just the beginning. See Doja Cat on the UK leg of her Scarlet tour here.

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Photo credit: Anthony Mooney, Jody Hartley, Sam Neill