Celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, the original dance music festival Creamfields took place during the August bank holiday from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th August. Home in the bucolic Cheshire countryside nestled between Liverpool and Manchester, once again a star-studded range of world-famous DJs were booked to thrill.
It was this writer's first time heading to the renowned British dance phenomenon, so our to say we were excited was a slight understatement. With the predominant days of music being Friday, Saturday and Sunday we looked forward to big-bill sets from the likes of chart-toppers The Chainsmokers, duo Axwell & Ingrosso and dance legend Eric Prydz. And with up to 70,000 expected to join the party, it was sure to be one to remember.
With heavy showers forecast across the long weekend, we prepared ourselves both mentally and physically for a long rave in the rain. Donning our thick run-of-the-mill murky green wellies, we trudged through the mud to spot an empty stretch of grass to set up our temporary homes. A couple of bevvies down and soon the distant chiming from the arena summoned us from our homemade porch.
Guided by a beautiful rainbow spread across the skies, we headed over to the expansive shed-like generator stage, where Dutch duo W&W had already roused the crowds with their feel-good electro house tunes. Energetic remixes of Eminem’s ‘The Real Slim Shady’ and Linkin Park’s ‘Numb’ in particular went down a real treat, where we let loose with the rest of the hedonists.
Next, we stopped over to the indoor Pepsi Max Arena where Australian producer and DJ Will Sparks was hitting the decks with more electro house, bathed in a brilliant orange glow of lighting. Braving the British summertime evening chill, it was time to watch The Chainsmokers take to the huge Sick Boy Stage.
Teamed with giant flickering flames, sparks of colourful fireworks and bursts of confetti, the duo enchanted their adoring audience with a string of catchy hits including ‘Closer’ and ‘Something just like this’. A spectacular show of rainbow laser beams closed off the Friday night, making the bar for the rest of the festival set high indeed.
With the music finishing at 4.00am Sunday morning, on Saturday we decided to head out later to shake off our hangovers. Plus, everyone loves a campsite hangout, and the doom and gloom of the weather was unfounded for a day of sunshine. We headed straight out to catch the eagerly-anticipated set from Axwell & Ingrosso, both former members of the hugely popular Swedish House Mafia.
The show made for an emotional performance, packed full of chart-topping hits including the likes of ‘How do you feel right now?’, ‘On my way’ and Swedish House Mafia’s ‘One’. The feel-good summer belter ‘Sun is shining’ made for a perfect finale, complete with spectacular bursts of fireworks.
Back to the shelter of the generator stage, it was time to catch trance trio Above & Beyond. Only just managing to squeeze our way into the humid enclosure, we swayed with the masses to tracks including the mesmerising ‘Sun & Moon’. With the third member of Swedish House Mafia making an appearance in the generator, we decided to stick around. Particulalry as some campsite whispers had suggested the trio might be reuniting on stage.
Unfortunately this proved to be unfounded. Nevertheless, Steve Angello certainly entertained with a range of catchy remixes thrown into the set, including Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit’. After a break consisting of a blurry spin on the waltzers, a return to the familiar generator stage saw us dance into the early hours of the morning to Danny Howard with the rest of the dedicated ravers.
A washout Sunday, we took retreat in our tents to wait out the downpour. Still in high spirits, a lively performance from Dutch electro-house DJ Hardwell on the arc stage soon had us on our feet, jumping around and once again loving life. A quick dart into the moody Warehouse/circus stage, we made the most of bopping around to the hypnotic techno tunes of German DJ Sven Vath.
And then, it was time for a visit to the Steel Yard stage which we had been eyeing up over the weekend to catch Eric Prydz presenting his holo show. Our last set of the festival could only be described as completely magical, with a captivating show of vivid green lasers and an enchanting light show of holographic twinkling stars, galaxies and planets.
We let loose to beautifully haunting songs, including Prydz’s ‘Every day’ and a finale of ‘Opus’, followed with a much-deserved round of applause from the adoring fans. A firm highlight of the festival, we couldn’t help but leave the set with that warm fuzzy feeling of content.
It may have rained, but the immense atmosphere of the music and the festival more than made up for it. And after all, a bit of rain is surely all part of the Blighty festival experience, right? Even if you don't agree on that sentiment, it's unequivocal that Creamfields is truly special - we for one will be back.