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"This Rain is Majestic!" - Parklife 2024 Music Roundup

Credit: Ciara Aston

Doja Cat, Anne-Marie and Disclosure were amongst the artists that appeared at Parklife this year and with the festival now over, let's recap everything that happened across the two days.

Day 1 (Saturday) consisted of a range of acts mainly from the dance world with a little sprinkle of naughties magic. The two headliners were Disclosure (The Valley) and Becky Hill (Parklife Stage) and while Becky had a decent audience, the crowd's overwhelming favourite was Disclosure which looked to be the biggest congregation of the weekend. Hits like "White Noise" and "Latch" were played to an audience that held on to every single note that was played live by brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence. It's rare to see an electronic dance artist these days play their music live using instruments as they usually opt for a set of decks but the pair had a full set of instruments including drum pads, pianos and a full drum set that just made the set magical and a highlight of the festival. 

On the topic of drum pads, Kenya Grace also opted to use one during her set. Her skill on this drum pad though was highly impressive and reminded me of a female Fred Again becoming a one-woman band. The crowd were immersed in her talent and her soft vocals all the way through her set until the final song which was a performance of her chart-topping hit "Strangers" which sounded exactly like the track itself. She is definitely an artist to be excited about with a bright future ahead of her. 

Credit: David Murphy

Credit: David Murphy

Eliza Rose knows a thing or two about chart-topping hits and her set in the Palm House stage felt incredibly immersive. The stage itself was something I had never seen before with the audience gathered all around her as she was in the middle entertaining the ravers that had gathered to see her. Admittedly I struggled to see her but I was at the back and came in halfway through her set but it felt like you didn't need to see her to feel her presence as she was electric on the decks using the music as her way of speaking to the gathering around her. 

Talking of immersive DJ's, South Korean superstar Peggy Gou had the audience moving as she looked very cool wearing sunglasses while on the decks. Most people would know her from her top 5 track "(It Goes Like)Nanana" but her set made people realise that she is more than just that song. She is starting to become highly respected in the dance world and it isn't hard to see why. She made the crowd feel like they were on a journey through the world of dance and every soul in that field was with her and her set. 

There was a few Radio 1 names that appeared on both days but Saturday was the turn of Danny Howard and Arielle Free. The hosts of Radio 1's Dance Party and Radio 1's Rave Up respectively drew quite a crowd as they went one after another on the Shein presents: G Stage to a crowd that was up for a good time. I was fortunate to get to the barrier for both and they made that tent their own. One thing that makes Arielle so interesting to watch is the movements her body makes while she DJ's as she feels every single beat as she plays it. Danny on the other hand just opts for the classic pumping of the hands during his set but both of them clearly love dance music and it is a joy to watch.

Credit: Ciara Aston

A friend of Becky Hill's in Wilkinson appeared on the Magic Sky stage with Adapt and the pair nailed their set. Adapt knew just how to hype up the crowd as the "Afterglow" star showed off his skills to the few thousand listening. The crowd was the biggest I saw at that stage all day and seemed appropriate for an artist of his stature. 

I know you have been waiting for me to "Push the Button" on talking about the naughties superstars that are the Sugababes who received a huge welcome to Heaton Park. The audience was full of people of all ages dancing and singing so loudly. I'm sure a few of you will have seen the viral videos of the crowd singing "About You Now" but if you haven't it was like being in a choir who had trained all their lives to be part of this moment. The trio of Mutya, Siobhàn and Keisha sang all their greatest hits including "Round Round" and "Too Lost in You" to what was probably the loudest crowd of the weekend who sang every word back. Their vocals were the cherry on the cake with every single harmony as smooth as butter and they were a real standout of Saturday.

Credit: Ciara Aston

From the sunny Saturday to the rather wet Sunday, Day 2 seemed to have more of a variety of genres on display. Another Radio 1 star took to the stage in Future Dance presenter Sarah Story but this time at Hangar where the few brave souls who were braving the rain enjoyed her set that pleased every type of dance fan. Sarah is a good DJ in her own right away from the Radio 1 name and she definitely showed. 

There was still a few DJ's about on Sunday with Salute and NOTR attracting a gathering of ponchos and raincoats to the Parklife Stage and Rudimental who appeared on The Valley stage and peformed a drum and bass set which was a change to when I have seen them in the past as they usually possess a band and singers but the set still managed to attract a decent audience with their set not just including drum and bass remixes of their songs such as "These Days" but also a nod to Drum and Bass giants Chase & Status incorporating in "Badadan." 

Someone who is known in both the dance and pop world is Ella Henderson who blessed the crowd with dance tracks like "Alibi" and "Crazy What Love Can Do" which her voice appears on while also professionally dealing with technical difficulties. However, the biggest moment of her performance was number 1 single "Ghost" being performed on its 10 year anniversary. Every person in the crowd knew every word and created a memory not just for Ella but for themselves that will last a lifetime. 

Credit: David Murphy

Credit: David Murphy

Ella wasn't the only pop girl there, Anne-Marie performed a set that was similar to her Unhealthy Club Tour from late last year incorporating props such as a bed and a bus stop which made it feel like you weren't watching a musical performance but instead, a theatre stage show which made it not just an interesting listen but also an interesting watch. Donning a yellow suit and tie (Which she said made her look like she belonged to The Simpsons) she sang all of her hits from her breakout single "Alarm" to newer hits including Psycho where Aitch made a surprise performance that made the crowd lose their minds. Anne-Marie is a homegrown artist to be proud of and she deserves every inch of success that she gets.

Credit: David Murphy

Credit: David Murphy

This was a huge weekend for women in music and women across the genres got to show off their talent with Hannah Laing part of that list. Hannah's name had been mentioned several times as I walked around the park so it was no surprise to see a huge crowd turn up for her even in the heavy rain. The electrifying 90-minute set showed why she is one of the best rising stars out there currently. 

Last but not least, a set that lots of people had been looking forward to in Doja Cat. The 75-minute set that flew past the curfew included tracks from her album Scarlett but also old classics like "Need to Know" and "Say So". Doja arrived on stage wearing what looked to be a luxury poncho before revealing a matching white outfit that she dawned as she performed a rather incredible stage show that included fire and lifts and a quartet of backing singers that moved around the stage with her. She even addressed the weather by exclaiming "The rain is majestic!" before singing a song by Hillary Duff which seemingly none of the crowd recognised. For the crowd that braved the weather, she put on a show that will live in Parklife history.

Heaton Park once again held a festival to be proud of with a range of incredible acts that make the crowd come back every single year. 

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