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The Big One & the Little One Go to a Festival


Everyone in my family loves to dance…

…whether it’s my granny and my great aunt Lillian bopping to some Jungle Book style jazz, my dad jumping up and down to Chumbawumba after a couple of ciders, or my mum getting her wiggle on to Stevie Wonder.  My sister’s first dance was to I Wanna Dance With Somebody -shimmying across the floor in her big dress, my little brother organised a fantastic live band for his twenty first, my middle sister does a good hair flip when disco is playing and then there’s those of us who sweat a lot when there’s some drum’n’bass or house music amped up somewhere – the middle brother, me (the Big One) and the youngest (the Little One).

The Little One is the festival veteran in the family at the tender age of 21 – she’s been to more festivals that anyone else and keeps a finger that’s probably meant to be typing essays firmly on the pulse of latest line-ups.  A couple of months ago we all received a text message from her urging us to convene in Manchester for the Parklife Weekender.  With a few false starts and vague commitments – it turned out to be me and her – ready and set for dancing to Jurassic 5, Andy C, Julio Bashmore, Shy FX and Disclosure.

parklifeyoungThere’s twelve years between us – and four other siblings in the middle – I’m the Big sister, she’s the youngest.  We get on well, we’re similar in our appreciation of clothes and accessories, nightlife, music, humour and quiet time – yet we’ve also had vastly different experiences of life so far.  I grew up in the half of our family’s childhoods that was stricter, noisier, less fashionable with bushy eyebrows and frizzy hair – as many older siblings will agree it seems that the Little One got to be more groomed, drink more, date more and shop more than I ever did.  She works pretty hard to be taken seriously and not always treated like the baby – and I think one of the things that I learnt from our many conversations this weekend was that the older siblings in the family don’t always know more or have more experience.  She knows stuff, she has opinions, she’s smart and articulate – and I/we don’t always get the chance to experience this part of her or perhaps we don’t always allow this part of her to shine through.

I’ve listed some awesome things about the Parklife Weekender here:

  • The scorching sunshine and blue skiesparklifeoutdoorstage
  • Manchester
  • Summer fashion looking good on both girls and boys
  • Music everywhere
  • Cider
  • A ferris wheel
  • Dancing until your feet hurt
  • Dancing around a treehouse
  • Dancing in the dust
  • Dancing till sweat gets in your eyes
  • Dancing


There were 50,000 people there – it was busy, noisy, fun and crowded.  My highlights aside from the list above were spending some good old fashioned quality time with the Little One.  We laughed and people watched and danced, we planned, we budgetted and spent money, we schemed about food, we tried to make our alcohol purchases look respectable in Asda by buying mentos too, we walked miles, we paid a lot of money for VIP toilet passes (soooooo worth it), we chattered about family, friends, significant others, we talked about partying culture, gender, fights and figuring out your dreams.  Oh and we danced – a lot.  It was so good.


I think I was anxious that the weekend would be too different a festival for the Little One having me along with her – I’m sensible and inexperienced don’t you know- I was worried about holding the party animal in her back – but we got tired and broke around the same time of night and there were lots of firsts for both of us.

The Parklife Weekender:

Gave me time with my sister

Reminded me of how awesome the Manchester music scene is – a big part of my life when I lived there

Gave me the inclination to discover what (if any) urban dance music scene there might be in Belfast

Made me resolve to go again next year


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Filed under Culture, Gender