Parklife preview: Who to see and when as stars and fans flock to Heaton Park festival

Tens of thousands of music lovers will descend upon Heaton Park this weekend for the two-day music festival which is now into its eighth year.

Parklife has come a long way from its roots as a student summer blow-out at Platt Lane Fields in Fallowfield.

With an impressive line-up bringing together some of the leading artists from a variety of genres, this year’s festival is set to further cement Parklife’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading festivals.

Sadly, tickets are sold out, but if you’ve been lucky enough to get your hands on one and you’re wondering who to watch, or what the best way to get there is, you’ve come to the right place.

Who to go and see?


There is no shortage of well-known acts to catch on the first day, but make sure you head down to the main stage to see the musical legend that is Chaka Khan in the late afternoon. The prospect of seeing her sing classics ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and ‘I’m Every Woman’ in the North Manchester drizzle is one not to be missed.

A host of popular UK artists will also be performing including George Ezra, Two Door Cinema Club and London Grammar, while grime fans are in for treat on the Temple Stage, with sets from Ghetts, P Money, AJ Tracey, Giggs and Boy Better Know.

Manchester’s very own The 1975 will headline the main stage and are sure to prove popular among the younger members of the crowd. For those wanting something a little more lively to end the weekend, look no further than Fatboy Slim’s set at the Hangar stage.

The Sounds of the Near Future stage is also worth heading to in order to catch Californian rapper Anderson Paak, Swedish electronic band Little Dragon, and Australian psychedelic dance band Jagwar Ma.

The former supported Tame Impala on their European tour last year and have previously been championed by Noel Gallagher. After his conspicuous absence from last weekend’s One Love concert, it is probably unlikely that the former Oasis star will be returning to his home city to watch them this weekend.

Pick of the day – Chaka Khan


For many, the Sunday will be all about Frank Ocean. The booking of the highly-sought after R&B star represents a massive coup for the festival and its organisers. After the release of his second album, Blonde, last year, Ocean’s headline slot is one of just two UK appearances that he will make this year.

But if Ocean isn’t your bag, or you are simply wondering how to occupy your time before his set, there are plenty of other great acts performing throughout the day.

American hip-hop duo Run The Jewels were added to the line-up as sub-headliners last month and should draw a large crowd to the main stage with a rambunctious set.

As well as chart-toppers Rag’n’Bone Man, Jess Glynne and Zara Larsson, Sunday’s bill also features one of the stars of 2017 so far in Sampha.

Best known for the song ‘Too Much’, which was later sampled by Drake, the London-born singer has started to make a name for himself following the release of his critically-acclaimed debut album, Process, earlier this year.

Expect a mellow vibe at the Sounds of the Near Future stage for his early evening set, which is certainly worth catching, if only for the magnificent (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano.

Another Sunday must-see is grime sensation Stormzy. The 23-year-old MC’s appearance will be his second in as many years, and fresh of the back of the release of his debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, his set will surely be one of the highlights of the entire weekend.

However, the bad news is that his closing set on the Sounds of the Near Future stage will clash with Ocean.

Pick of the day – Frank Ocean

What’s the weather going to be like?

In true Mancunian spirit, wellies and raincoats will almost certainly be needed on Saturday, with rain forecast throughout the day. However, with temperatures expected to hit 18°, make sure you don’t wrap up too warm.

Meanwhile, Sunday is expected to be slightly drier, and after a cloudy start there may well be the opportunity to bask in some sunshine later in the day.

How to get there?

Heaton Park is situated in Prestwich, five miles north of Manchester City Centre, and can be accessed via the Bury Metrolink line or the 135, 59, 64, 484, 495, 164 or 165 bus services.

Heaton Park tram stop will close at 6pm on each day so people wanting to get back into the city centre will need to board the Metrolink at the Bowker Vale stop.

For those travelling via road, Heaton Park can be accessed via junctions 17 and 19 of the M60.

A Parklife shuttle bus will also run straight to the site from Aytoun Street (corner of Minshull Street, near Piccadilly Station) in the city centre from 9.30am to 5pm on Saturday and 10.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Return shuttle bus services from Heaton Park to the city centre start at 6.30pm until late.

Image courtesy of Parklife Festival via YouTube, with thanks.

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