The Piccadilly Rats have become a Manchester institution in recent years, busking their unique style of rough-and-ready cover versions of old pop and rock songs in Piccadilly Gardens every Saturday.
This time last year the band, comprising of Gaz Stanley on lead vocals and guitar, Ray Boddington (known for his signature dance moves), Dave Davis on tambourine, and Tommy Trouble the dancing policeman, were nervously awaiting their main-stage performance at Parklife – we got behind the scenes with them a few weeks into the lead up and captured the magic.
The story of how the big gig actually came about is testament to how powerful social media can be. Lead singer Gaz put out a direct tweet to Parklife’s head-honcho, Sacha Lord, asking for a 5 minute slot on the main stage…
@Sacha_whp Hi Sacha can you get us a 5 minute slot on the main PARKLIFE 2018 stage we don’t want paying Just need a few butties and a bottle of dandelion and burdock for Tommy 😎👍🎸🐀💋❤️👌RAT FANS PLEASE RT 👍
— PICCADILLY RATS (@GPiccadillyRats) February 2, 2018
Sacha kindly responded by putting out a video on Parklife’s Twitter account of the band busking outside Harvey Nichols, with the message “Thinking of getting these local legends involved this year, what do we reckon?”
— Parklife 2019 (@Parklifefest) February 3, 2018
After a quick and huge positive reaction to the tweet, Sacha made the band’s dreams come true by revealing that he would be adding them to the line-up.
— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) February 3, 2018
Parklife, a festival that boasts 16 stages of music across 2 days and around 140,000 visitors was certainly the band’s biggest ever gig to date. Watch our documentary above to see how the band’s beautiful spirit was captured during this momentous occasion and throughout it’s build up.
Sadly since the filming, Ray unfortunately lost his life in a road traffic accident earlier this year, so we want to dedicate this to his memory. Ray was a true gent and was a true Manchester legend who is sorely missed.