Sunday, 13 June 2010

Park Life - Platt Fields Park, Manchester

What’s better than sitting in park having a few beers with friends? Park Life is an Electro Music Festival in Manchester and an amazing way to spend a Saturday. As I write this my head is screaming out for the cooling power of after sun, yeah I might start peeling soon but it was bloody worth it.

I’ll be honest, when we got there I was pretty disheartened. The queue was huge and populated by lots of gents with their tops off, already on the beer and wearing England flags on their backs. The flags reminding us that today was England’s first match in the world cup and there was no getting away from it.

When we finally made it to the front of the queue we realised why things had moved slowly, everyone was being searched for drugs. Surprisingly they were actually finding quite a lot, the only thing I was carrying was my jumper for later but having a nosey in the bins you could see bags of various powders that had been confiscated.

The Police presence was discrete and being fairly mature about the process so it was being well managed. You know the kids are going to want to let their hair down so fair play to them, just hide your stash somewhere creative.

Platt Fields is fairly huge so the festival was nicely spread out, it had some of the usual problems i.e. too few toilets for the girls. People didn’t realise where the bars were so the nearest one to the entrance was heaving and the others fairly quiet.

The Urinals quickly became a mire as the lads stopped waiting for them to come free and just started using the floor. It happens, you can’t let this stuff put you off though. The sun and the music basically put these problems to the side and moods were really high. Everyone was buzzing in one way or another.

The music was immense, so many bands that I hadn’t seen before so I was really spoilt for choice. Basically I wanted to see it all but we went in a fairly large group so our line up was pretty much by committee. As I was happy seeing any of it I more than pleased to just go with the flow.

We ended up seeing some old favourites as well though, Kissy Sell Out was awesome as usual, I love that he drops old school tracks in with that signature Kissy sound. Sadly I got the “Bet you loved this first time round” comment from a stranger as I was dancing around.

That’s the second time someone has said that to me, first was at Glastonbury last year. Fair enough I’m getting older but don’t rub it in. Erol Alkan was amazing as ever and he had whole of the Big Top tent rocking out.

I have to say I enjoyed the big names more as I knew what to expect, all the other artists were amazing but I didn’t know enough of their stuff to properly enjoy it as I was trying to take everything in.

Onto the food, oh the awesome food. Festival food is getting so much better these days, people are putting more effort into their product and it really makes a difference.

Byron Burger has taken it’s product on the road and I have honestly got to say it was the best burger I’ve had from the back of a van and probably the best burger I’ve ever had full stop. I know they have a fair amount of competition in the capital but it tops anything on offer outside.

The meat was really good, the burger juicy, well cooked and well put together. Yeah I know it’s a meat sandwich but when you’ve had a few beers it’s just what you need. If you know of a better burger let me know as I want to try it. It wasn’t cheap mind but I think it was well worth it.

There was some vegetarian van (no relation) that sold everything but… it was veggie so I stayed well clear, it was doing a brisk business though as they sold chips and gravy. Everyone knows Northerners love chips and gravy so they had cornered that market anyway.

Later in the evening I needed some more sustenance and we headed over the German Style sausage hut, I didn’t catch the name as the beer was beginning to take hold but It couldn’t top the burger from earlier. The glowing coals of the grill were clearly attracting people like moths and they had quite a crowd of people around.

The night ended at 11 with Friendly Fires closing the day and we were frankly knackered so rather than carry on we caught a bus into the centre of town to get a train back to Leeds.

I’m much more reach for a cuppa than reach for the lasers these days but It was an awesome day out. You cannot beat festivals when the sun is shining and being able to go home after a day is pretty sweet.

It was a perfect warm up for Glastonbury. So to answer my question earlier, what’s better than having a beer in a park with a few friends? Well to put it simply having a beer in a park with a huge stage in the middle. Have it!


  1. The burger looks great mate!

    The last time I was on Platt Fields was after the common wealth games, I was employed to remove security fencing from the athletes village and take it to the fields.

    We did more sunbathing than working and no one seemed to care... the good old days!

  2. Why the change in career? That sounds like a sweet job!