Undoubtedly the biggest dance festival in the UK, Creamfields has continued to grow in stature over the years, with the event now stretching across 4 days of the August Bank Holiday weekend for campers, and across 2 for non-campers. Always acting as a showcase for the biggest names in electronic music, Creamfields incredibly diverse line-up is a true testament to the sheer size of the event, located in Daresbury, Cheshire.
With two main stages (the Arc and Horizon) and series of tents, including the incredible ‘Mega Arena‘ and the aptly named ‘Towers Arena‘, Creamfields plays home to some of the most incredible production seen at any event in the world, including the iconic Steel Yard structure. We Rave You were lucky enough to attend the festival over the course of the weekend and this is how it went down…
Arriving at Saturday lunchtime on a surprisingly sunny afternoon in Northern England, the backstage area and artists village of Creamfields is a crem-de-la-crem of dance music talent, with the likes of Martin Solveig, Galantis, and Oliver Heldens all buzzing around, preparing for their sets. After a brief chat with the Swedish duo and French hit-maker, we sat down with the latter for a long chat, and Oli was quick to praise the atmosphere found in UK crowds in general, adding:
“Last year I played in Brixton and Glasgow and the UK crowds are crazy! Almost too crazy! We thought some people might die!”
It’s certainly true that the attendees here at Creamfields know how to have a good time, with no holds barred on the wild antics that occur at the festival. Throughout Martin Solveig’s Horizon Stage set, ravers were jumping off eachother’s shoulders and singing wildly to every song, their hands in the air.
“I’m a big football fan,” Martin bellowed into the mic, “And now I know why so many French footballers come to play in England. You guys are incredible!“
Following Martin was the Dutch prince of future house himself, Mr Oliver Heldens. Whizzing through an insatiable cut of past, present and future hits, Oliver is known for his incredible use of acapellas on perfectly polished mash-ups, and had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand, playing his very own remix of nostalgic Backstreet Boys classic ‘Everybody‘ and ending his set with the mighty, and timeless, ‘Bonkers.’
Flitting through the Pepsi Max Arena, where Will Sparks was dropping his own explosive mixes, we decided to check out the simply stunning Arc Stage, where masked mogul Marshmello was giving way to former ‘DJ Mag Top 100’ #1 DJs Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike.
The Arc stage combines a huge performing area with two gigantic sets of curved LED screens to encase the crowd in totally immersive experience and has to be seen to be believed, certainly lending itself as a contender to the best festival stage in the world debate. With the mood set and lights dimmed, it was time for the performance of Swedish powerhouse duo Axwell Λ Ingrosso, who blitzed the crowd with a set many are labelling “their greatest ever.” Particularly impressive on the visuals, it was clear a huge amount of work had gone into this performance with their creative team, with their final image proving a giant LED Union Jack flag, stretched across both sides of the Arc.
For Creamfields ravers, Saturday is always a night of non-stop dancing, with the stages open until 4am as opposed to the usual 11pm curfew. With this in mind, it was time to check out more acts with the dark bassy sounds of Malaa acting as the meat in an Above & Beyond/Tchami sandwich in the Mega Arena. The Arena, an indoor tent which acts as officially the longest in all European festivals, played perfect home to the emotional psy-trance of A&B, who had Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamaki on mixing duties. Before the Arena was brought to its knees by the uniquely original Tchami, and his thunderous display of crackling bass. A true master of the genre, this was Tchami’s church, and an entire crowd were paying homage to their Priest during this incredible Sunday morning service.
With still enough time to witness the house-soaked beats of CamelPhat in Creamfields’ Steel Yard, a venue famed for housing Eric Prydz‘ iconic EPIC 5.0 London performance in May, the duo saved the best for last, dropping the track that encapsulated the entire festival, Elderbrook collaboration ‘Cola.‘
The production, which has enjoyed a simply massive summer, shooting to the top of Shazam charts in Ibiza, is being hammered by just about every DJ around right now, and was the one track that everybody around the festival kept singing out loud over the course of the weekend.
Sunday offered more of the same world-class talent with Steve Angello kicking off his Horizon Stage set with huge new track, the emotive and powerful ‘Rejoice’ before mixing through a back-catalogue of Swedish House Mafia classics. With his fellow Swede Alesso taking control in the Mega Arena, we decided to check out the set and were lucky enough to be treated to one of the most incredible atmospheres of the weekend, with love all around, as gathered ravers hugged, and sang, their way through his mind-blowing 90-minute track selection.
Perhaps the star of the festival was Detroit-born Marc Kinchen, whose Area10 tent was so incredibly packed that a large overspill of attendees flooded out onto the grass, such is his popularity right now. Dropping his red-hot new release ‘17’ which has been heard all around Ibiza all summer, the hugely popular track marked a seminal moment in Creamfields history as the packed crowd bellowed every lyric, even when the faders were turned down, to create a capacity acapella version of the production.
With a tough choice to make between Eric Prydz, Martin Garrix, and Tiësto, who were all closing the festival on separate stages at the same time to avoid crowd congestion, we opted for the latter, and were left in awe as the King of dance music himself mesmerised his audience with a blend of both old and new. Kicking things off with his latest KSHMR collab ‘Harder’, the Dutch legend demonstrated his extreme diversity, mixing in indie records from The Killers, hip hop tracks from Snoop Dogg, and then trance classics from himself. Before returning to a big-room vibe, and ending the show with a spectacular firework show set to the iconic ‘Adagio For Strings.’
Throughout its 20 years, Creamfields has gradually increased every area of its production, with more and more special effects, incredible stages, and a real attention to detail on their heart-thumping speaker systems. A perfect way to celebrate their double decade anniversary, Creamfields 2017 proved not only the biggest and best Creamfields of all time, but elevated the festival into a big-hitting quartet alongside the three worldwide festival juggernauts of EDC Las Vegas, Ultra Miami, and Tomorrowland.
— Creamfields (@Creamfields) August 28, 2017