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Shaggy, Wiley and a lineup that is (literally) out of this world: Strawberries and Creem 2017

  • Jamaican reggae fusion superstar Shaggy and godfather of grime Wiley revealed as the Cambridge-based festival’s two bill-toppers - with the announcement made from SPACE via a live stream posted on Facebook
  • 40+ acts across 3 stages also include UK rap prodigies AJ Tracey and J Hus, disco-house legend Dimitri From Paris, Garage pioneers Artful Dodger and So Solid Crew, Gentleman’s Dub Club and The Streets’ Mike Skinner
  • One of the UK’s fastest-growing festivals, the event has doubled in size every year since it started in 2014 - with a 10,000 capacity this year, having previously hosted Skepta, Nelly, Kano, Big Narstie and Grandmaster Flash

One has four UK number 1 hits and spent over 100 weeks in the UK top 40, the other created a genre that shook up the entire music scene and laid the path for a British resurgence on the world stage. Both are performing at this year’s Strawberries & Creem. Once again, the young team behind the festival have found an ideal blend of global nostalgia and homegrown pride - after booking Nelly and Kano last year, with Grandmaster Flash and Skepta in 2015.

The two headliners, along with the rest of the stellar lineup, will be out of this world. That’s a line you’ve heard before - the difference is that we mean it! Strawberries & Creem in conjunction with Cambridge University are launching their lineup 20km up into space, in what is surely a first for festival announcements. The feat will all be captured live with a GoPro camera as the world watches on in anticipation, glued to the screen waiting for the big reveal.

There are very few artists that have the power to put a song in your head at the mere mention of their name - mention the name Shaggy to the person sitting next to you right now. What did you get, Bombastic? It Wasn’t Me? Angel? Or maybe, Oh Carolina? For 24 years he’s been cranking out chart hits on a global scale, and we can’t wait to welcome him to our field in Cambridge.

Wiley is more than an MC or producer, he’s a pioneer. Often attributed with the birth of grime, Wiley is a seminal artist in the UK underground and overground alike. His sublow “eski” 8 bar sound laid the foundations for the biggest names in the industry: Stormzy, Kano, Dizzee and Skepta (two of which are S&C veterans). We love to support British music and promote our scene where possible. As much as we enjoy bringing huge household names like Shaggy to our shores, we delight in pushing the best that the UK has to offer - that’s why we do it every year.

“We wanted to do something a bit unpredictable for the lineup launch.  After seeing a lot of festivals ‘launch’ their lineups this year, we were looking for unique ways to make the announcement stand out. Luckily we’re in close proximity to one of the smartest institutions (Cambridge University) in the world who were on hand to help us out. Launching the lineup in space is about as big as we go and never been done before. It’s a proper lineup launch!”

- Strawberries & Creem founder William Young.

Labelled ‘a mainstay of the UK festival circuit’, Strawberries & Creem is certainly putting Cambridge on the map as one of the country’s fastest-growing independents. The event has doubled in size every year since it started in 2014 - entertaining over 10,000 revellers this year.

Securing superstar Shaggy is an apt follow up to last year’s surprise announcement of US rapper Nelly: a booking for the throwback crowd, and the introduction of another face from popular music’s hall of fame to a town known mainly for its academia - no mean feat for a small festival team with an average age of 22 years. Shaggy’s announcement at Glastonbury recently went down a storm across social media and the music community, with NME picking him out of the lineup: ‘Sorry Ed, Shaggy’s Going To Deliver The Biggest Glastonbury Moment of 2017.’

Supporting Shaggy and Wiley on the bill this year are an array of artists including some of the biggest, most exciting names in urban and dance music right now - spanning Grime, Garage, Dancehall and House, with the festival’s usual mix of homegrown and globally-renowned talent.

AJ Tracey and J Hus fly the flag for the newest wave of UK rap stars, with garage pioneers Artful Dodger and So Solid Crew, along with urban legend and ex-The Streets frontman Mike Skinner, adding experience and a touch of history to the lineup.

Gentleman’s Dub Club bring a splash of ska to switch things up, with Donae’o, General Levy and The Heatwave ready to bring the bangers to start the dancing. Logan Sama b2b Sir Spyro (a UK festival exclusive) and P-Money beef out the underground sound for the grime-heads.

This year, Strawberries & Creem, which started life as a 1,000-person party on a farm just three years ago, will have three arenas - with Mixmag and Link Up TV hosting the dance tent and grime stage respectively, plus the main stage which will showcase the headline acts. Deliveroo once again will providing a delicious banquet area to provide fuel for the festival-goers.

“To start with it was just us, our circles of friends and a handful of like-minded people in a field - but three years down the line, we’re proud to say we’ve managed to create something special” said founder William Young. “It puts Cambridge on the map for another reason, providing a proper festival for young music fans in this part of the country.”

Published on 12 April 2017 by Ben Robinson

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