Every year tens of thousands descend on the small village of Daresbury in Cheshire for the biggest celebration of dance music in the UK. Each time the festival has promised an even bigger spectacle than the last. This summer all eyes were fixated around the extra special line up with dance music royalty Swedish House Mafia closing out the show. The trio, which comprises of Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, were linking up once again after calling it a day back in 2012. There were also a whole raft of star individuals joining the Swedes including The Chemical Brothers, Carl Cox, Andy C and Eric Prydz to name a few.
The first day of the event has always provided an entertaining start. Silent discos create a rather unique atmosphere, still allowing people the chance to enjoy their favourite music without upsetting the neighbours. After attending this festival for the past few years it is still fantastic to see the sheer joy etched on everyone’s faces during this contrasting part.
Another great thing about the silent discos is observing the differing emotions from ravers between the two channels that were played through the headphones. Seeing people sing different songs at the top of their voice was always a pleasure. Sick Individuals, who have been serial performers at Creamfields in recent times, actually played their first silent disco set this year. The Dutch duo were overcome with the reaction they received from the crowd and couldn’t believe how noisy they were.
Whilst the searing temperatures weren’t predicted until the latter part of the festival there were a number of acts that provided an inferno of energy. Andy C, who is one of the leading names in drum & bass, has presented the most spectacular showcase each and every time he has stopped by in the North West of England.
Harriet Jaxxon, who has been rising rapidly up the ranks over the past couple of years with performances at Rampage and the mighty Amnesia nightclub in Ibiza already under her belt, incited carnage at four o’clock in the afternoon. Whilst the temptation to stay in the d&b tent for the entire day and night was real there were some huge names, from other genres, preparing for their performances around the festival.
One thing that stood out when looking through the festival programme was how incredibly early Martin Garrix was playing. For someone who commands such stature in electronic music despite still only being 23, it seemed bizarre that he was playing on the Generator stage at 6 o’clock. Anybody thinking that it wasn’t going to be busy was rudely mistaken with thousands packing out the entire stage right from the start of his performance.
Whether it was the stunning visuals that decorated the wondrous stage he had brought with him or the hugely vibrant selection of records his 90-minute set seemed to fly by in a matter of moments. It was hard to forget that point when he dropped Gala’s iconic “Freed From Desire” out the blue and was stunned by the reaction as the crowd sang back a special version featuring a certain Sunderland striker.
Next on the agenda was a visit to the mighty Steel Yard to see another dance music icon. Eric Prydz is another artist which had been cruelly missed from our plans over the years but with a brand new production it felt just to finally witness this master at work.
The Swede, who was playing two sets at the festival, the other being a colossal b2b with Adam Beyer under his Cirez D alias, has always aimed to deliver a multi-sensory experience of the highest order.
Last time out his HOLO show took fans on a journey to another dimension with gargantuan holograms painting the sky line above accompanied by the most sumptuous melodies from house, techno as well as everything in between. On this occasion fans were left equally blown away by the colossal array of lighting sequences which were made possible by a monstrous rig that hung from the ceiling above.
Witnessing this mind blowing project was a stand out highlight. Just observing the meticulous planning that had gone into the performance up close was a joy to behold. On the decks Prydz was plotting a stunning musical pathway, selecting some of the biggest industrial techno records.
Away from the stunning selection of music on offer there were numerous attractions on offer like the many pop-up bars dotted around the festival, including the Rose & Crown and the Red Lion - There was something hugely satisfying about buying an ice-cold cider on draught before heading off to enjoy the music each day.
There was also an inflatable church in which anybody could get married although the couples that did were commended for their bravery given how crazy the priest was.
Saturday will be remembered as the most visually pleasing with the Chemical Brothers bringing their live show to the Horizon stage. As soon as an entire army descended on stage, preparing the space, it was easy to appreciate the scale of the show which was about to follow.
Opening their set with the huge record “Go” whilst seeing a man possessed, contorting his body in all kinds of abstract ways really did set the scene. With each visual you could easily see the incredible amount of thought that had gone into it.
There were also gigantic robots that appeared as if by magic. Everybody in the crowd was equally as stunned and amazed by the top quality production that was going on in front of their eyes. This entire show proved a fitting way to celebrate the release of their ninth studio album.
Each year there is a trance group which has been an ever present in our schedule for the festival. Above & Beyond have always captured the essence of the genre whilst taking ravers on an emotional roller coaster.
Every time it has been completely normal to see grown men, with tears rolling down their face, overcome with immense joy from watching the English trio present the finest trance extravaganza.
During the set the group would enter messages live up on the big screen behind them with one standing out in particular. They urged the crowd to follow three rules; speak to strangers, look after the one who has had one too many and hug the happy. This was a nice feature of their performance and certainly heightened the wave of emotions experience throughout their set.
As the festival was drawing to a close the predicted heatwave had well and truly gripped Creamfields. Everything was shaping up nicely for the big finale. During the day the whole of the Arc stage had been closed of, with some expressing slight frustration but to many it was a clear indicator of the huge spectacle they were going to witness.
With what felt like the other 60,000 or so ravers in attendance, the trio appeared on three separate podiums, dressed like they were from Men in Black. Angello, who performed by himself over the past few years, started the set with a mystical veil over his face, indicating the change in relationship between the three men over the years.
Throughout the entire performance they received a magical reaction when reliving their biggest hits like “One” and “Don’t You Worry Child” with the crowd. All the while there was a special show unfolding in the background with monstrous flames, the height of the stage, lighting up the arena. There was also a special emblem, in the shape of the group’s logo, which was ignited above the stage.
To bring a close to another sterling Creamfields festival the group continued their festival tradition of leaving fans on a cliff hanger, by posting a date up on the big screens. Many were instantly speculating, hopeful it was the time that we would all be blessed with new Swedish House Mafia music.
Creamfields has long been considered a mecca for dance music lovers, with the biggest names from every genre, queueing up to play this mega event.
This time proved no different as it really was like Disneyland for those who appreciate dance music. If you want to finish festival season in style, sampling the finest delights from across the musical spectrum then Creamfields is an essential venture.
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