Feature: The five best sets from Parklife 2019

We spent the weekend dancing in the rain, here's what we saw.

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“What kind of music do they have at Parklife?”, enquired the Uber driver on the way to Heaton Park for Parklife 2019. “Everything!”, came the reply. Parklife is the festival embodiment of the wave of genre-less music pioneered by the millennial generation. Everyone can like and listen to everything, regardless of where you come from and what you look like.

Faced with a major artist pulling out days before and a less than ideal weather forecast, you’d be forgiven for a mindset of negativity creeping in ahead of the festival… not a chance. If there’s one thing Manchester knows how to do best, it’s how to have a party. Parklife 2019 will go down as one of the festival’s greatest outings yet.

Here are the five best sets from the weekend:

Photos by Sara Emerson 

slowthai eats his Weetabix 

According to the Northampton hip-hop maker, there is nothing great about Britain. Well, according to us, there are a lot of great things about slowthai. The musician almost blew a hole through the roof of the Sounds Of The Near Future tent during his Saturday afternoon slot. His wildly energetic and self-assured set cemented the rapper’s place as one of the hottest acts in the UK right now. If you’re on the hunt for an artist to truly believe in, slowthai is your man.

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An injured Dave showcases his No.1 album

An unspecified ankle injury was not going to let London rapper Dave halt his quest for world domination. With a set comprised predominantly of tracks from his wildly successful debut album Pschyodrama, even with a slight limp, the rapper brought his A-game to the main stage. Ode to his hometown Streatham was a stand out highlight of a very accomplished set.

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Mabel intensifies the hype for her upcoming debut album 

Drawing one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, Mabel lit up the Parklife main stage on Sunday afternoon with a whirlwind 35-minute set. The Londoner used her platform to debut a new song from her upcoming album, always risky move at a festival, but by the second chorus the crowd treated it like it was already a hit. Highlights from the set included a special appearance from NOT3S, performing their collab single My Lover and closure mega jam Don’t Call Me Up finishing a truly memorable show.

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Blossoms feel the love

Hailing from less than 20 miles away, Stockport’s Blossoms have always been shown love from Manchester, and the indie pop makers have always returned the favour. A smoke bomb wafted purple smoke through the air as the heavens opened, unleashing the heaviest rain of the weekend onto the crowd. Not that anyone was remotely bothered, they were too busy singing and dancing to the band’s hits I Can’t Stand It, There’s a Reason Why and their breakthrough single Charlemagne. 

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George Ezra proves his status as a headliner  

Ingratiating himself to the crowd immediately by coming on stage to the classic Oasis track Don’t Look Back in Anger, George Ezra demonstrated just how much he’s grown as a live performer in recent years on Sunday night. Closing the festival is no easy task and the singer-songwriter didn’t once look overawed by the job. Kicking off the set with Don’t Matter Now, the lead single from his sophomore No.1 effort Staying at Tamara’s, the musician had the Heaton Park crowd in his hands from the word go. Ending the show with his huge single Shotgun as fireworks lit up the Manchester skyline, it felt like a real moment for George. His transition from quirky singer-songwriter to a full-blown pop powerhouse is complete.

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