Parklife - Brand new dance
David Pollock chats to the folk behind the inaugural Parklife festival featuring the likes of Eddie Halliwell, Judge Jules and Anne Savage across five arenas
This first-ever instalment of dance music festival Parklife should take attendees back to the mid-90s glory days when T in the Park was still young and finding its feet, and Strathclyde Country Park was big enough to contain it. It’s not like the Park hasn’t played host to music events since – Parklife’s co-organisers Stereofunk have used it themselves for that very purpose – but this is an attempt to take things to a whole new level.
‘Myself and Craig Kelman started off DJing around Scotland,’ recounts Stereofunk’s co-organiser Stevie Lennon about he and his DJ partner’s beginnings, ‘and running overnight parties in castles up and down the country for our friends. Demand for these grew to the point where we started booking outdoor venues and eventually settled in Strathclyde Country Park, although these parties were for about 2,000 people – Parklife has a capacity of 7,000, which is still intimate by T in the Park standards, but a massive jump for us.’
Parklife certainly has the backing to ensure that nothing is done by halves. The trio of promoters involved are Stereofunk, who have the experience of outdoor events on the site, Simon Foy’s Inside Out, who are one of the biggest names in mainstream Scottish clubbing, and Manchester’s Goodgreef, which has a list of big contacts at a national level.
At what Lennon describes as ‘the tougher end’ of the house spectrum is the Inside Out meets Fire It Up arena, which boasts the only Scottish appearance of the year by Eddie Halliwell as its main selling point, although Judge Jules and Sander Van Doorn are also on the bill. In the Goodgreef Xtra Hard arena meanwhile, the Tidy Boys, Showtec, Anne Savage and an exclusive Alex Kidd set back-to-back with Kutski should keep the proper ravers happy.
The Clubland arena is there to scoop up all the more commercially-minded partygoers, with the likes of Kelly Llorena headlining while Flip & Fill prop up the bill alongside members of Ultrabeat.
‘At Stereofunk,’ says Lennon of his own fourth arena, ‘we like to think we’re aiming at the cooler end of the house market. Judge Jules will be playing another set for us in there, a straight-up house one, and you can expect to hear all sorts of minimal techno and dirtier stuff at Stereofunk.’ Also on Lennon’s bill are My Digital Enemy, Mark Mendes and Gareth Sommerville.
‘I don’t think we’re here to compete with Coloursfest,’ says Lennon when the obvious comparison is made, ‘or if we are it’s a friendly type of competition, because we offer a different style of music and we’re at the opposite end of the summer. A lot of people I’ve spoken to who go to Coloursfest have been impressed with how good our line-up is, though.’
There’s something that just appeals to our primal instincts that makes dancing in the open air so appealing. And of course the smoking ban has meant that outdoor clubbing is even more of a draw for some punters. ‘A lot of the big clubs don’t put large bills on over the summer thanks to things like T in the Park and Coloursfest. I’m sure the emphasis will switch back in the autumn, when the aim for us is to get planning next year’s Parklife if this one goes well.’
Strathclyde Country Park, Glasgow, Sat 13 Sep.