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Festival review: Creamfields 2011

5th September 2011

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If you’d told me a week ago that Creamfields 2011 and the Boy Scouts would have one fundamental similarity, I would have probably laughed off this ridiculous suggestion, prescribed a strong anti-psychotic, and carried on about my day. Sitting here today, I would understand the core value which linked these two things together; be prepared.

Creamfields 2011Creamfields is one of my yearly festival staples. Having been lucky enough to avoid any seriously bad weather at previous festivals, such as the famous Glade and Glastonbury wash-outs of a few years ago, I had a feeling this would be the rainiest and muddiest festival I had attended. However I don’t think I quite appreciated just how messy it was going to be…

I wouldn’t be in the least surprised to hear that a large number of (unprepared) people didn’t make it through the first day of the festival. Not bringing wellies, pitching your tent at the bottom of the hill and losing key possessions in the mud are the kind of occurrences that would have made even me consider the option of jumping back into the safety of my car.

The music started in the early afternoon on the Saturday. For the DnB and Dubstep lovers there was serious motivation to get started early, with the likes of Caspa, Joker and Mistajam filling the Radio 1Xtra tent throughout the afternoon and evening.

Creamfields has consistently been my top choice for music each year with a mind boggling selection of top DJs filling the various tents from start to finish.

I had three DJs I was eager to see on the Saturday. In chronological order they were; Fake Blood live, Joris Voorn and Eric Prydz. I have seen numerous Fake Blood DJ sets and enjoyed them all but was super excited to see a live version of Theo Keating aka Fake Blood.

Every now and again a set just ticks all the boxes at a festival and this definitely fell into that category. It was exactly what we needed. A lively, energetic introduction into what would be a solid seven hours or so on our feet, as the weather meant there was literally nowhere to sit down other than your own tent, and that seemed like a mountain hike away. The playful electro that Fake Blood plays worked well as a live set, spending a lot more time playing with each tune rather than just skimming through a much larger number of tracks. To no one’s surprise but everyone’s delight, the set built up to ‘I Think I Like It’ and ‘Mars’, both of which went down a treat. I fear though that Fake Blood is going to have to produce or remix another massive hit soon as both of those tracks must be nearing their end.

Next up was Joris Voorn. This was the set I had been most looking forward to after seeing him play the previous week at Space, Ibiza. His set on the White Isle had been without question my highlight of 2011 so far, so it was fair to say I had high expectations. It was a very different pace from the preceding two hours. It followed on perfectly however, allowing us to almost take it down a notch without it being any less enjoyable. The set was completely different from the one at Space, with an overlap of only a couple of tunes. I am always impressed to see a DJ display versatility, knowing that I can see the same DJ over and over again in different places and experience something new each time. All I can add is that Joris is one of my DJs to watch over the next year. He just seems to be getting better and better and after this summer I would have trouble not listing him in my top three DJs in the world. A bold shout, I know.

Time for Eric Prydz. Thankfully we didn’t have to move tents as the rain had restarted. The only issue was that seeing Joris and Prydz meant missing Chemical Brothers on the main stage, which wasn’t an easy decision, especially after hearing from friends how good the Chemical Brothers were in the end.

I have seen a couple of Prydz’s live shows over the last year and been blown away by both the music and visuals that accompany it. As a DJ set though I wasn’t as impressed this time as I was a few years ago when he used to play his resident night at Matter in London. I felt that given the freedom to play anything at all he used to play some really unusual and new stuff which I loved. This time it was mostly his own tunes, minus the incredible 3D visuals and the element of it being a live set.

Sunday at Creamfields is always a slightly surreal experience. With the music starting early and ending at the obscenely premature time of 11pm, there is no real option upon wakening other than to get on it straight away.

Laidback Luke was playing in a tent entitled ‘Superheroes You and Me’. I am not entirely sure the origin of this name but the superhero theme was a brilliant one. Laidback Luke was wearing an impressive custom superhero outfit with his logo (the two backwards ‘L’s) on the chest. He was injecting life back into a weary crowd who may have been struggling to find the energy and motivation after the bad weather and very little sleep, were it not for the exciting, fast-paced tunes blasting out of the speakers. With plenty of tunes for us to sing along to, this set can only be described as fun, and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of fun when it comes to raving. The culmination of this fun occurred when several hundred massive foam hands were thrown out into the crowd for people to wear. It was almost an excitement overload.

Opting for Swedish House Mafia to round off the weekend instead of Sven Väth, we were unpleasantly surprised by just how packed the tent started to get. We were squashed into a back corner and they hadn’t even started playing yet. A couple of the group decided to push into the middle and stick it out, I decided to cut my loss and go see Sven where I knew there would be much more room to express myself on the dancefloor.

The lasers alone were enough to make this set enjoyable. I have rarely seen anything like it. The first half of the set I really enjoyed, culminating in ‘Hungry For the Power’, which I am still not quite sick of yet after an entire summer of hearing it played. After that point things took a turn for the deeper and darker breed of techno. Sometimes I would have loved this but I was getting tired and I think part of me secretly wanted to be jumping up and down, singing along to Swedish House Mafia playing “One” and “Save The World”.

There is a stigma attached to Creamfields, partly due to its location, that there is a rough crowd and it isn’t for the faint hearted. I would have to wholeheartedly disagree with this. The crowd is much the same as you’d find at Global Gathering or similar festivals. Sure, there are a few more Scouse accents floating around, but I genuinely found it to be, in the most part, a very friendly and fun bunch of ravers. For some reason our group seems to have one of our best weekends of the summer each year there, and to be able to say that despite the weather really speaks volumes. Just make sure you are prepared for any adverse weather conditions.

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