Six Standout House and Techno Sets from PARKLIFE 2022
Over 150,000 festivalgoers descended on Manchester’s Heaton Park last weekend for the city’s flagship summer music festival, PARKLIFE.
The weekend-long independent festival is a joint venture between Live Nation and one of Manchester’s premier dance music venues, The Warehouse Project. Founded in 2010 (which, at the time, featured a lineup of only five artists), PARKLIFE now hosts a unique combination of 100+ artists—from heavy-hitting house and techno DJs to some of the biggest names in pop and hip-hop, including Tyler, the Creator, 50 Cent, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lewis Capaldi as this year’s headliners.
Across the festival’s dozen distinct stages, we chose standout sets from Manchester’s musical gem.
Returning to PARKLIFE for the first time since their initial appearance in 2016, British electronic duo Gorgon City (consisting of North London producers Kye “Foamo” Gibbon and Matt “RackNRuin” Robson-Scott) delivered a high-energy set at the festival’s Temple stage. Gorgon City has had a massive international run throughout the pandemic. Their third studio album, Olympia, peaked at #1 on the UK dance charts. Their subsequent 2021 tour saw the pair perform at venues including London’s Printworks, Brooklyn’s Avant Gardner, and Washington DC’s Echostage. At PARKLIFE, spinning on a monstrous stage built out of illuminated storage containers, Gorgon City pulled a massive crowd and curated a vibe of ethereal tech house tracks with heavy, crowd-hyping basslines.
Back for her second consecutive year, the Korean-born Berlin-based artist flaunted her unique flair for energetic yet subtle techno during an earlier-than-expected daytime set at the festival’s massive open-air Hanger stage. Despite a last-minute set time change (which allowed Gou to jet off to close out Germany’s MELT Festival that same night), the 30-year-old DJ proved why she earned status as an internationally-acclaimed artist. Spinning crowd-pleasers from her “Starry Night” to Armand Van Helden’s dancefloor classic “I Want Your Soul,” Gou masterfully wove together house hits with underground techno elements in a two-hour set on the festival’s biggest EDM stage.
Low Steppa laid down one of the biggest sets of PARKLIFE 2022. On the festival’s first-ever Defected Stage, the British DJ and producer proved why he’s been such a creative force in dance music for so long. He played to an overflowing crowd and dropped hits, including his recently released vocal house track “Dig Deep” and the ever-classic “Renegade Master” by Wildchild. One of the many successes of Low Steppa’s career to date has been his label, Simma Black, which has risen to become one of the most well-respected imprints around. The artist’s ability to bring classic sounds and samples onto the main stage was apparent at PARKLIFE, where he seamlessly mixed in decades-old house music motifs, including vocal samples from Jon Culter’s “It’s Yours” and Sweet Pussy Pauline’s “Work This Pussy” to the excitement of the crowd.
Under the jammed-packed FUSE tent, dance music legend Seth Troxler offered a masterclass in classic house for the modern audience. Troxler, who’s been at the forefront of the evolution of dance music for decades, efficiently undulated between upbeat, fast-paced classics and hard-driving tech house. Over the years, the Michigan native has been a staple of internationally-acclaimed parties and clubs such as Ibiza’s Circoloco and DC-10, and peers like Skream laud him as an artist influential in bringing house into the EDM mainstream. On his final track, Troxler sampled the iconic line from Blaze’s 1998 classic house hit “My Beat,” which got the crowd moving: “As you struggling to find the rhythm with your feet, ask yourself, can you dance to my beat?”
Sam Divine has earned her place on the throne as one of Britain’s leading house DJs. Perhaps the most well-known face associated with the UK’s prolific house label, Defected Records, Sam Divine left no doubt as to why she’s been steadily climbing DJ Mag’s Top 100 Alternative DJs list for the past two years. Serving samples from Crystal Water’s iconic “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” and Angela Washburn’s “Run to Me,” Sam Divine undoubtedly dropped one of the most classic-house-driven sets of the festival. The “Divine Tribe” showed out at PARKLIFE’s Defected Stage to dance to the soulful set and celebrate the beginning of a summerlong multi-continent tour from the DJ.
Closing out the festival Sunday night at the Eat Your Own Ears stage, the up-and-coming DJ made his PARKLIFE debut and took the crowd on a journey of eclectic disco and contemplative deep house. The French DJ and producer made a name for himself by blending the bright elements of disco with a hefty dash of groovy-ness. At PARKLIFE, he presented “Folamour: Power to the People,” a tour and project that demonstrates his passion for playing music rooted in unity. PARKLIFE was one of the first stops on Folamour’s summer festival circuit, with additional appearances at Otherlands Music & Arts Festival in Scotland, Lost Village in the UK, and Karrusel in Denmark.