Last year’s Creamfields 2012 was probably one of the darkest days in the clubbing brand’s festival history after the organisers were forced to cut short the festival due to unprecedented rain fall that left the festival site in no fit state to carry on into the next day, much to the distain of festival goers.
With this year’s festival you got a real sense that the Cream and its new overlords Live Nation had some unfinished business. So how did they get on? Really well, first all there was no rain. That’s right, not one single drop was seen during our time on site. Now, rain normally wouldn’t stop a festival in its tracks, but Creamfields’ new-ish site in Daresbury, Cheshire, is a hilly piece of unspoilt countryside that isn’t exactly a perfect fit for a festival site. The slopes and hills mean once it begins to rain it can quickly turn, quite literally, into a field of cream.
Last year it was so bad you spent more time focussing on trying not to fall over than enjoying the music. Thankfully, all of that was a distant memory as this year the ground was solid as a rock thanks in part to this year’s bumper summer, and Cream’s efforts to improve the drainage which was tested to a degree on Friday when it did rain – but come Saturday, when we arrived, surprisingly the site was back in tip-top condition.
Once we navigated a short queue to get inside the site, we made our way around the various tents to see what the sound levels were like and get a sense of our surroundings. Like most festivals, the tents weren’t exactly rocking in the early afternoon, so on our travels we caught partials sets from George Fitzgerald and Bondax who were both playing in tents that were probably just a shade too big for their day-time sets of house and techno to really capture your attention.
Once we were got accustomed to the site, and fuelled up on some drinks, we then trekked over the Tool Room Tent to catch Chris Lake’s DJ set. It was a solid start for the day as the American unloaded an electro set of days gone-by. He had the tent going wild and it was easily the best soundsystem we probably heard all day, despite, surprisingly, being the smallest tent. Once Lake had finished we were graced with a fiery DJ set from Idris Elba, aka Luther, aka Stringer Bell. That’s right the main man from the Wire played a stonking electro set; a far cry from the limp-wristed EDM that is being passed off as electro these days.
Once Irdis had finished we header over to the Pete Tong arena to catch special guest Sasha, the Pete Tong tent was actually quite an interesting proposition; the tent was a large circle with the stage, a spherical tube, placed in the middle of the arena. The unusual setup was pretty cool and Sasha’s set didn’t dissapoint with his unique blend of atmospheric house and techno. As with any Sasha DJ set it begun pretty laboured as he teased us until he felt the crowd were finally ready to commit.
Creamfields had clearly made an effort to make sure each tent had its own personality, so each arena wasn’t just a carbon copy of the next. Lighting was up to its usual high standards with almost all the tents featuring some form of effects for those bigger moments, and this attention to detail was seen in main stages too. Each main stage (there are two at Creamfields) had FX towers dotted around the crowds. The towers were packed with flame throwers, fireworks, streamers – basically everything you’d expect to see at Tommorowland.
Over the sound quality was good, it probably wasn’t good enough to make your weekend, but it’s certainly wasn’t bad enough to ruin it. After last year’s cancellation the Cream team were faced with a challenge to finally prove that their home in Darebury is the right place to be, and when we left last year’s festival we had our doubts as over the years of attending it had suffered at the hands of the unpredictable British summer, which seems to exacerbated the tricky geography of the site. Overall this year it was clearly better organised, a lot safer, and generally a nicer place to be compared to recent years, whether that was because of the weather were not sure. The lineup on the whole was good if a little too commercial in places and a bit weak early on. The Prodigy on Saturday seemed to go down really well with the diehard fans, even if they did try and introduce the mosh pit to loved-up ravers (just no), and the most profound performance for us probably came from Above & Beyond who took fan interaction to the next level during their performance.
Creamfields clearly laid a few demons to rest this year and it basically went off without a hitch, apparently there were a few no-shows including Andy C, Zedd, Nervo, and main headline act David Guetta almost didn’t make it after his plane caught fire – but apart from those little mishaps it was a satisfying endeavour and we can’t wait to go again next year.