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Parklife 2022 Sunday review: Tyler, The Creator, Megan Thee Stallion, Lewis Capaldi and more


How do you top a marriage proposal, a US rapping icon and lots of pyrotechnics? That was the question on everybody’s lips following a stellar Saturday at Parklife 2022.

A jam-packed bill of acts awaited festival goers who gradually fed through into Heaton Park this morning – many of whom were presumably still recovering from yesterday’s festivities.

Hopes we’re high for a dry day on Sunday morning, and while it got off to a belting start, it was only a matter of time before the rain descended on Heaton Park. Cue people running for cover wherever they could find it – though some decided to fully embrace it, and fair play to them.

Early on in the day, as crowds slowly started to build up, Grammy nominated producer Jayda G brought her boundless enthusiasm to The Valley stage. Mixing everything from Crown Heights Affair to Rhyze, her set helped set the tone for the afternoon.

From the top of the hill, two woman – one dressed in shorts and a Hawaiian t-shirt, the other in a purple bikini top and skirt, skipped hand-in-hand down the hill to Jayda G’s beats – it was then that we knew the party had really begun. The masses soon arrived, and it was soon clear why, as Parklife favourite Annie Mac took the stage – and she didn’t disappoint.



Annie Mac at Parklife 2022

House music veterans Defected Records have been part of Parklife pretty much since year one, so it probably wouldn’t be quite the same without them. Taking over their own spot behind The Valley stage long-time Defected family member and New York icon Louie Vega – of Masters At Work – took to the turntables mid-afternoon, rebuilding the crowd after a swift but decisive rain storm which saw festival-goers running for shelter.

It didn’t take long for the crowd to swell again, though, thanks to his set of deep, US garage, sliding in some Daft Punk before bringing things to a thunderous climax with a remixed version of Hacienda classic Where Love Lives By Alison Limerick. A master indeed.

Over at the Hanger, the sun returned and as it did, out came ‘the guns’ for Skream. Perhaps his sturdy brand of muscular tech house is better consumed with your top off, judging by the largely stripped-to-the-waist crowd.



Raye at Parklife 2022

Meanwhile, at the Parklife stage, the very glamorous Raye took to the stage, thanking crowds for bringing the energy and giving her the confidence to be her true self. From here, she launched into Secrets, letting her perfectly coiffed red hair down.

And then the sunflowers came out. Arlo Parks’ set dressing for their main stage set showed the true nature of this dazzlingly brilliant lyricist. “Everyone including myself got up at 3am to be here,” she told adoring fans, and kept straight into firm favourite ‘Caroline’. Her sacrifice of a good night’s sleep was appreciated by those festival-goers. Shrieks of delight were also delivered for ‘Eugene’, ‘Black Dog’, and ‘Too Good’.



Arlo Parks performs on the main stage on Sunday

Throughout her time on stage, the 2021 Mercury Prize winner, only surviving on two hours sleep, was accompanied by a digital sunset. That, coupled with the easy, slow, meandering of her voice carried fans away from Heaton Park – and it’s noise, litter, and wind – to a place, ultimately, where things were okay and will be okay.

And once more into the breach, the main stage was alive again. Following Arlo Parks an hour after they wound up, Lewis Capaldi took to the mic.

The Scottish singer drew in thousands, with a crowd swelling past the engineering tent, encroaching into the Hangar’s turf. He started off with Grace and kept landing blows.




There was Over The Line just as a kick off, which induced so much phone filming it became apparent that – to a lot of people, he means a lot. It was the Scot’s first UK show in three years, joking: “I don’t know what to say in between songs, it’s been so long since I’ve done it”.

If there was any question over his popularity remaining – something he admitted he was nervous about – this was a ringing endorsement that Capaldi is here to stay. Long live Lewis.

Over the crest of the hill, the Valley was asking ‘do you remember house?’ Fortunately, The Blessed Madonna was there to remind us.



Crowds at Parklife 2022

Her set pulsed through waves of ravers. A steady groove abounded that had all the vitality of a TikTok dance craze – and soon, it had swept through the hundreds who turned out to see the American DJ.

And then, without warning, she unloaded a tribal horn which signified that the Valley was really on to something.

The end was in sight for Parklife 2022, and this was the beginning of the final chapter. Unfortunately, there will be a Monday – but Sit back, relax, and the Blessed Madonna took us through. She made that journey so much more painless.



Megan Thee Stallion performing on The Parklife Stage

Not for the prudish (seriously) Houston’s Megan Thee Stallion jam-packed the main Parklife stage just after eight, joined on stage by a crew of both male and female dancers clad in black. And let’s just say some of the male dancers may have grounds for some level of workplace complaint.

That said, the set was electrifying, with filling-rattling bombshells like Body and her, erm, feted duet with Cardi B WAP, and the truly x-rated Eat It among the bass-loaded highlights causing a roadblock across the site in every direction.



Not for the prudish (seriously) Houston’s Megan Thee Stallion jam-packed the main Parklife stage just after eight

This is where it all ended, in the Valley at least. Parklife 2022 will be remembered by everyone who went forever – for good or for bad. Bicep’s closing set, beginning as the sun dipped away for the first time today, ensured that there would always be some good memories.

The electronic duo were thronged by thousands of the never-say-die, just-one-more-song section that so often pay homage to events like this every weekend. As more people arrived, more phones came out to capture the moment, the moment that there was one final dance. One last roll of the dice before the humdrum of Monday kicked in.



Fans watch Megan Thee Stallion performs on the main stage on Sunday

The lights mesmerised, the bass pounded, and the fans cheered. So, To say this Bicep performance was a music set is true.

This year’s Parklife has been special for a lot of reasons. But its final night headliner will live long in the memory. The best – the best – set of the weekend, Tyler, The Creator created something astonishing tonight. With a grassy, Sound of Music-esque mountain set built on stage, he emerged, knapsack on his back, complete with mountain jacket, furry hat and a pole to scale the heights other rappers fear to. And all while wearing shiny black loafers.



Tyler, The Creator brings Parklife 2022 to a close

It was expertly bonkers from beginning to end, encompassing choreography with on-screen dancers, bucolic sunsets and classics like She, with Frank Ocean, Lumberjack, 911/Mr Lonely and the magnificent Yonkers. Showing hip hop acts up the world over for daring to perform with nothing much more than a DJ and a microphone, you need to try harder. Like Tyler.




Parklife 2022 has been, for want of a better expression, a lot. There’s been proposals, pyrotechnics, and a return to much longed for normality. But most of all, it’s been one huge celebration of our city. And thank heavens for that.

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