Ahead of the August bank holiday weekend, anticipation loomed ahead of the return of Creamfields Festival to its hallowed turf in Daresbury, Cheshire. Eagerly watched year on year, its continuity to deliver the highest standards of electronic dance music has not only seen it prevail as the UK’s leading electronic dance music festival but a leading electronic festival around the world, joining the stature of Tomorrowland, Mysteryland, and EDC to name a few.
But Creamfields owes its status mainly to the fervent English crowds and indecisive weather patterns, for this is where the festival has copped quite a rowdy reputation. Never the less its intensity continues to attract revelers from all corners of the globe as they flock to the Northern territory of England to indulge their electronic taste pallets. Added with the event’s four-day stacked line up showcasing an outstandingly diverse talent pool of artists and producers, the madness that ensues has grown with each passing year. We Rave You were on hand to cast an eye over proceedings and this is what went down.
On the tip of everyone’s tongue this year was were two keywords – production values. Always known for delighting crowds with impeccable stage designs and state of the art light shows, this year seemed no different with Creamfields delivering the crème de la crème once again. Both the Arc stage and Horizon stage respectfully returned to the fields alongside festival favourite and titanic structure – Steel Yard. But this year saw the festival introduce two brand new stages. Generator, a powerhouse structure playing host to the likes of Alesso, Third Party, and Tchami & Malaa, and Silo, a unique indoor structure offering a 360 degree view around the stage complimented by viewing platforms above and around the dancefloor which proved a popular stage choice across the weekend.
Those daring enough to tackle all four days of the musical madness arrived early morning Thursday eager to get proceedings underway with Creamfields offering up their silent disco. The Sexy By Nature tent offered up tasty beats, Kyrder and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano laid down the groove. Over at the Warehouse structure, Philip George and D.O.D satisfied attendees with a healthy serving of electric beats and feel-good anthems.
Perhaps most would agree that the real fun of Creamfields began Friday as the silent disco headphones come off and the bass of the speakers rumbled the fields of Daresbury. Ready to turn it up more than just a notch, Friday’s line-up was curated with purpose as the evening’s antics got underway with performances from the likes of Sigala on the Arc stage, Dubvision, Hannah Wants, Richy Ahmed and Sonny Fedora. Out in force was music label Paradise with an army of music producers featuring in-demand artists Patrick Topping, Green Velvet, Joseph Capriati and Jamie Jones closing out the stage Friday night. Across the fields, Kurupt FM and DJ EZ jammed in the Sub_Aural tent before making way to iconic British duo Chase & Status and their DJ Set.
Having had a stellar year so far while still enjoying the success from tracks such as ‘Cola‘ and ‘Panic Room‘, Camelphat took to Creamfields’ Silo stage playing host to a packed crowd all wanting a cut of the action from the successful duo. Drawing late into the Friday fun, Creamfields had stocked and loaded their juggernaut music producers ready to unleash across the evening with legendary producer Armin van Buuren elating Creamfields with his iconic A State Of Trance sounds. Electronic giants W&W drew crowds in with their fiery set while Martin Solveig returned to the main stage.
Saving the best for last, electronic dance music fans bowed to the prowess of the main stage and arguably EDM’s biggest dance act right now, The Chainsmokers. Seamlessly dropping their original productions, both Alex and Drew took a no-holds-barred approach with an array of devilishly filthy and infectious drops from start to finish. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was the dark and underground techno sounds of Carl Cox that erupted the steel beams of the Steel Yard. Two hours of the finest techno tracks spun by the master himself left Creamfields wanting more and more.
Saturday morning arrived and while sore heads were waking up, fresh heads were entering the festival and campsites in full force. Also entering the arena was a wave of mouth-watering electronic talent, all geared up and ready to party late into the early hours of Sunday morning.
Early performances on Saturday saw the Arc stage welcome dominant Aussie music producer Timmy Trumpet. The electro and hardstyle DJ delivered a mindblowing performance thanks to his arsenal of pummeling tracks which include ‘Narco‘, ‘Freaks‘ and ‘Oracle‘. Up next was Dutch star Nicky Romero who followed suit. The Creamfields stage broke into a frenzy as the speakers blasted his track ‘Novell‘ in the opening minutes of his performance. Across the field, the Jam Packed tent played host to the bassline sounds and hard-hitting tracks of Holy Goof and Darkzy, much to the tent’s delight where scores of the crowd broke into wild mosh pits adding to the much favoured Creamfields rowdy reputation.
Back on the Generator stage, Virtual Self made his debut at the festival alongside the likes of Gareth Wyn, Danny Howard, and music legends Above & Beyond. One of the main highlights to come from the Generator stage on Saturday was one-third of the Swedish House Mafia trio Steve Angello who treated fans to his first ever ‘live’ show.
No electronic festival is complete without Belgium’s finest duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, who returned for another year of madness, bringing their signature sound to the main stage. The brothers have become a mainstay of Creamfields festival and a must watch, always pulling in huge crowd numbers that fill the entirety of the stage and beyond. It seemed only fitting that the duo made way for another iconic pair of music producers in the form of Axwell Λ Ingrosso who closed out the Arc mainstage in style. Over on the Horizon stage, international trio Major Lazer brought the fire with a dazzling and monstrously banger-heavy performance that was truly complimented by an epic firework display as they closed out the stage Saturday night.
Going deep into the early hours of Sunday morning, techno and underground artists emerged in the tents and continued the electronic basslines and driven beats that satisfied revelers. Marco Carola and Loco Dice entertained the Steel Yard while Diplo and A-Trak made sure the Mad Decent tent was kept alight.
With the final day arriving, anticipation on Sunday was at an all-time high for the festival to truly go out in style and that’s exactly what Creamfields made sure they did. Highlights of the final day included performances from Yousef, Maya Jane Coles, and the Solardo boys in the Warehouse. The Pepsi Max Arena played host to some trance legends including John O’Callaghan, Paul van Dyk, Cosmic Gate, and Ferry Corsten. The MK Area1o arena welcomed Idris Elba, Groove Armada, Armand van Helden and the boss himself Mark Kinchen.
It must be said that across the Sunday there were several performances that stood out from the rest. Packing a stacked line up all weekend, the Generator arena once again welcomed heavyweight music producers. Jauz came out the doors flying and had the gears grinding with his immensely packed track selection. With the arena at full capacity, it was finally time for Alesso to take to the decks as the Swedish star performed one of his most awe-inspiring sets to date. Coupled with a selection of the producer’s original productions, Alesso dropped a fitting tribute to the late Avicii that caused revelers eyes to well up mid-set. The star soon got back down to business dropping Fisher’s infamous summer stand-out track ‘Losing It‘.
On the Horizon stage, old-school favourite Faithless returned with their DJ Set before the tastemaker of future house Oliver Heldens turned up the heat. Fatboy Slim was back once again to cast his electric spell on Creamfields, but it was world number one DJ Martin Garrix who had the final say on the Horizon stage, even if the young talent did suffer a minor hiccup mid-set with his mixer. On the other side of Daresbury’s fields, it was an all-out Dutch affair at the Arc stage as attendees gasped in excitement for Don Diablo who laid down the foundations for an outstanding end to the festival. Next up, fellow Dutch megastar Hardwell who has been enjoying a successful year with every passing performance this summer season. From one Dutchman to another, Hardwell passed the reigns long-standing legend Tiësto who took Creamfields right to the end in epic style.
However, thousands upon thousands of eyes were locked on the Steel Yard for what lay ahead. With Cristoph and Drumcode founder Adam Beyer building a ferocious atmosphere in the arena, the word ‘HOLO‘ slowly rang louder around the crowd as the clock neared 9:00 pm. Dusky and Kölsch kept Steel Yard alive with groove layered beats and basslines that quenched electronic thirsts, but it was inevitable as to why mass crowds had gathered under the steel structure for one last performance… Enter Eric Prydz. It was the performance many had been waiting for, the music producer’s in-demand live set labelled ‘HOLO’ that features a performance like no other. Holograms and lighting productions of the future proved why Eric Prydz is regarded as the very best in the business right now. From laser beams to a gigantic spaceman, attendees were left in awe as eyes gazed on one of the most epic and final performances of the day.
Creamfields came, saw, and conquered the Daresbury’s fields for another successful year, leaving the festival’s faithful revelers already looking ahead to next years edition. Setting a standard for other major festivals to follow, Creamfields has and does continue to cement itself as one of the best major festivals electronic dance music fans can attend. Make sure you check out some of the performances from this year’s festival on YouTube and various artists social channels.