I made my way to the first edition of Parklife Festival for 2014 on Friday last week. The Two Bitches and I arrived at the venue (Marks Park near Emmerentia Dam in Johannesburg) fairly early and settled in to enjoy the soothing sounds of Lacey May, Holly and the Woods and Shaun Jacobs before kicking off a fun filled day of fun in the sun.
The third edition of Parklife Edition since March 2013 started out fairly slowly. A steady stream of people arriving at the venue and excellent performances by Jay Bones, The Plastics, Matthew Mole, Josie Field & Laurie Levine and Al Bairre ensured that the festival pace started picking up after noon. I have to say that I was blown away by the crowd that Matthew Mole pulled at the main stage. Hearing the crowd singing along to almost every one of Matthew’s songs was definitely one of the highlights of the day and that I was pretty impressed by the amount of energy that Al Bairre displayed on stage. It turns out that there’s more than just a mountain in Cape Town, apparently there’s people who can sing, dance and play instruments as well. (Ok ok, that was a low blow Mother City).
Phase 2 of Parklife Festival followed with The December Streets (who surprised me with how much they’ve grown up since I first saw them perform in 2010), Wrestlerish (who recently released their third studio album) and Frank Turner (who proved to be a lot better live than I expected him to be) providing the musical entertainment for mid afternoon. Then it was time for Shortstraw (who probably pulled the biggest crowd for a local act at the festival and who were up to their usual “Bikini Weather” style antics), Newtown Knife Gang (who rocked a crowd and reminded me that rock ‘n roll was still alive) and Donovan Frankenreiter (who reminded how cool folk music could sound).
After this it was time for the final phase of Parklife Festival. This phase kicked off with a brilliant performance by Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall (who actually had a wider vocal range than I imagined), was followed by Durban rock band Gangs of Ballet (who are slowly but surely moving up my chart for the best live acts in the country) and Jack Parow (who gave the crowd a taste of the acoustic tracks he has on his new album). Unfortunately I couldn’t watch the whole Parow set, but I have to say that I did like what I saw and heard and that Loki Rothman really knows how to play guitar.
This edition of Parklife Festival was well-organized. The bar service wasn’t poor, there were enough bathrooms, I didn’t have any major complaints about the sound and the crowd were well-behaved. Marks Park is one of my favorite venues for live music and I think that is the route that live music has to go in Johannesburg in order to survive. I’m only seeing bigger and better things in the future. For the next one I’m just tying my ear in a knot to remember sun screen or a cap – I was a lobster after RAMFest but I think my skin tone can best be described as Lobster 2.0 now.
What did you think of Parklife Festival? Did you enjoy it? Was it well-organized? Did you have fun? Or did you have a bad experience? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed reading my article and viewing my photos, feel free to check out my full album on the Henno Kruger Photography page on Facebook and feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is caring after all.
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