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Parklife Music Festival 2013 (Manchester)

Parklife Music Festival 2013 (Manchester)

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Parklife at Heaton Park was set out to be a disaster.

Usually the event is hosted at the Platt Fields park in Fallowfield, the centre of Manchester’s large student district. For the first year ever the event was moved to the famous Heaton Park that has played host to legendary gigs by Oasis and Travis as well as 100000 for the visit of Pope John Paul ll. However, Heaton Park is 8 miles from Fallowfield. Looking around the festival it is clear that Parklife is the must see music event of the year. How do the majority of Parklifes 100000 make it across Manchester? It doesn’t seem the event organizers had a great answer. The offer was £12 for the shuttle bus to Heaton Park and a return to Manchester City Centre.
Approaching Owens Park car park to catch our shuttle bus on the first day of the event, whisperers passing by us were reporting waiting times of 3 hours where some had waited an hour before deciding to abandon their hope for a shuttle bus and opting for other means of travel. Upon seeing the queue of wary fellow students, as did we.
Upon reaching the event via a bus and taxi journey we were pointed in the direction of the entrance and herded in by stewards warning the crowd to consume the remains of their food, water, alcohol and other narcotics. Receiving our entry wristbands and merely wondering past security not a single one of my groups’ 5 rucksacks were searched suggesting a severe lack of security at the event. Although, earlier in the day security had been so strict they were confiscating water and Sun cream on entry despite the 23 degree heat, blue skies, £2 fee for a bottle of water and depleted stock of sun screen on site.
The journey home to Fallowfield was more of a nightmare as trying to get to the the event site earlier in the day. 100000 people poured onto the streets of North Manchester at 11pm Saturday night and funneled onto a main road guided by signs for transport. Stories of people collapsing in the queue for the taxi rank circulated which made us opt for the tram into Manchester as a means of escaping the mayhem around us. People clambering over one another, cars, garden fences and barriers to reach the tram ticket sellers were only repeated upon reaching Piccadilly gardens, Manchester city centre as the shuttle buses from the event delivered its passengers at the Printworks in order to encourage them to attend the official Parklife after parties – Afterlife.
All this on day one of the event had us reviewing our plans to return for the second day. We got the shuttle bus day 2, which ran much quicker than the previous days reports and we used the same means to leave the event. The second day also saw a heightened police presence, presumably in reaction to the numerous fights that I witnessed as festival goers of both sexes grew irate waiting for an available port-a-loo.

To quickly summarise, my experience of Parklife was extremely poor and I’m surprised there was no media report of the shockingly poor organisation. As much as I would love to return for an undoubtedly superb line up next year, I can’t go through it again until I’m sure it’s much better organised.

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