This was my second visit to Creamfields and after reviewing the massive 20th anniversary bash last year I didn’t think there was much that could be done to improve upon what I found to be one of the most epic festivals I’d ever attended. The bar was set last year, could they raise it?
The first thing you’ll notice when you’re watching a gig at Creamfields is that nothing is scrimped on production. Its 100% effort on every level and ‘second best’ is not a term that you would equate with this world leading dance music giant. To give you some idea of what this entailed for the 2018 show, there were 86 truckloads for tech and production alone – twice as many truckloads as last year!
Words don’t really do justice but I can tell you that the huge custom built venues designed exclusively for Creamfields, the lighting and pyrotechnics and the phenomenal state of the art laser shows that ricochet and cascade over the heads of thousands of revellers dancing to the uplifting creations from world class DJ’s and musicians from around the globe have to be experienced to be believed – and then there’s the Eric Prydz Holograms. So amazing you won’t believe them even whilst you’re experiencing it. . More on that later!
This year saw over 300 artists and the addition of another three massive venues. Lets talk a bit about those. The Silo – a huge multi-tiered cylindrical chamber described in its preview by Mixmag as a “an all around assault on the senses” and a soundsystem “designed to envelope the audience” with 140 strobes and 80 separate lights, 40 metre dancefloor and with viewing areas on two levels with a capacity exceeding 10,000 its another behemoth of a venue and when its in full swing it’s a truly immersive 360 degree experience especially at night.
The next colossal addition is a multi-level superstructure dubbed ‘Generator’ which again has been purpose built for Creamfields, made entirely from shipping containers and scaffolding which also feature’s vast tiered areas for a top down viewing experience. The capacity is listed at 10,000 but it feels like it could house double that it’s just huge – its another Steelyard yet, it manages to look and feel completely unique in its design with a distinctly industrial feel. The lines and curves of the shipping containers and rigging lined up perfectly along with the viewing area's full of people in party mode make it a photographers dream. I’m a huge fan of Above and Beyond who performed here on the saturday and blasted off the longest lasting confetti cannon I’ve ever witnessed! Truly incredible.
The last new venue, The Warehouse. Another 10,000 capacity open fronted indoor arena which has views of the fairground from the stage. I had the pleasure of this awesome view on the Thursday night whilst taking stage shots of DOD (Dan O’Donnell) a british producer and DJ from Lancaster who was setting the precedent for the rest of the weekend to what is definitely the largest silent disco I have ever seen.. The opening night at even the largest of festivals can often be relatively quiet, but this is Creamfields so of course, it was ram packed from front to back, as you’ll see in my photo gallery. DOD is relatively new on the scene yet his career is accelerating fast and is on track to becoming one of the greats – he was officially ranked the 17th most supported producer for 2017 so keep you’re eye on him, he’s gonna be headlining at a festival near you soon!
The universe-class talent and creativity of the Creamfields production guys and the desire to keep expanding the brand and bringing new concepts to the table keeps them on the gold podium as the creators of the biggest dance music festival in the UK and from what I’ve heard its just going to get bigger and better - keep your eyes on the creamfields socials for updates.
The original jaw dropping mega-structure ‘The Steelyard’ which was introduced back in 2016 is also still an integral part of creamfields and is being used to Host Tomorrowlands ‘Garden of Madness hosted by legendary duo Like Mike and Dimitri Vegas at Liverpool waters central docks on the 8th December this year.The Tommorowlands brand is a enigma unto itself but they don’t have their own structures such as the steelyard to host their events in unlike Cream whom remain way ahead of the curve in this respect -This looks to be a spectacular collaboration so get in there fast if you want to go as tickets are selling like hotcakes, no surprises there!
Another highlight this year was Saturday’s tribute paid to Aviici (Tim Bergling) who tragically passed away earlier this year. He was one of the greats, a Legend in the industry and a name that will never be forgotten. For the first time ever at Creamfields a 40 piece orchestra played a rendition of hits on the Horizon stage and this was a truely emotional performance, people were literally welling up in the audience, the orchestral rendition of dance classics was stunning and a fitting memorial to one of the biggest names in dance music history. Also worth a mention was the stunning set from Axwell Ingrosso who closed Saturday night on the Arc stage with insane 26 foot high flamethrowers installed by Quantum, an industry leader in pyro and stage effects based in Bath, UK.
The Hospitality area came up trumps again, last year I’d said it was the best laid out hospitality/VIP area I’d seen at any festival and I’d expected it to have at least been the same except this year was even better – the same top class layout inside but with a whole lot more going on entertainment wise than last year and those posh loo’s really are a godsend from your average greenbox festival portaloo, maintained and cleaned regularly. If you’d found the chaos and immensity of the main festival arena too much this was the perfect place to sit down in big comfy sofa’s and chill out with a drink. There’s a massive dance floor in here too with DJ sets playing, two large bars and a nice selection of food stalls with considerably shorter queues than outside. The VIP accommodation on offer included Teepee and yurt style tents but if you wanted to go the extra mile you could choose from a selection of luxurious cabin lodges which look like posh apartments on the inside.
I could spend hours talking about each and every performance I witnessed but there’s far too many so lets talk about something amazing, and that’s Eric Prydz mindblowing HOLO show that happened on Sunday night in the steelyard. If you thought the visuals for EPIC 5.0 were unbeatable then this would take your breath away. Vortexes and cubes, a detailed face coming out of a cloud to name but a few marvels and the finale saw an incredibly huge space station rotating in mid air above the crowd. Never before have I seen an audience so transfixed and in awe of a light show, as the detail was so fine it looked solid like you could reach out and touch it.
Mesmerised and awestruck, I stumbled over to the Arc Stage to catch the last part of the Tiesto set whilst Garrix was rocking the Horizon stage on the other side of the grounds. thousands of people in the crowd with their hands up in the air to the Legend that is Tiesto closing the night to a massve firework display..
Verdict – incredible. Let’s not forget all of the unsung heroes who worked tirelessly here behind the scenes to make all of this magic happen. The 86 lorry drivers who were stuck for hours in traffic, the build crew, the production staff, the sound guys, the bar staff, the police and security teams who keep us all safe, the welfare crew who pick up the fallen, the litter collectors who clean the mess up, the photographers who walk for miles every day to capture memories, and everyone else I’ve forgot to mention. Can’t wait to experience Creamfields 2019!
Published on 02 September 2018 by Russ Collins