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After the washout of 2012 and the glorious sunshine during last year’s event, all were anxious to see what Mother Nature had in store for Creamfields festival this year. Now in its seventh year at the Daresbury site, the festival saw a stellar line up with the likes of Avicii, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 headlining the main stages. The event was highly anticipated and sold out much quicker than expected.

With gloomy weather predicted on the horizon, thousands of festival goers made their way down to the site in the hope that the sun would make an appearance at some point during the festival. And so it did with the weather and vibe on the Sunday highly reminiscent of last year’s scorcher.

The organisers of the festival have cleverly expanded the Friday event and I think it is fair to say that Creamfields is now a fully-fledged three day festival. Revellers were kept entertained on Friday from 4pm over 5 stages in one of the three silent discos or in the Cream tent which had 3 Are Legend (Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike) as headliners.

After the previous night’s debauchery, Saturday’s festival began in the late afternoon for most of the 70,000 people at the three-day event. Eighteen-year-old Dutch DJ Martin Garrix had the South stage locked down. With a couple years festival experience under his belt already, the young DJ had the crowd pumping to his electro-house set that included his own anthem “Animal” and Sebastien Ingrosso crowd pleaser “Reload” ingeniously mixed with Calvin Harris’ “Flashback”. To the delight of many, he slowed things down with Disclosure’s “Latch” which had the crowd in sing-along-mode.

Due to his megastar status across the pond, Steve Aoki pulled in a big crowd on the North Stage. Ever the showman, he bounced around the stage during his set and bizarrely threw a few cakes at the crowd. Despite sound issues which made his set difficult to hear beyond the first 10 rows, those who could were bouncing along to his collaborations with Afrojack “Effed Up Camel” and his remix of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness”.

Saturday’s big headliners were Deadmau5 and Avicii and after opting for Prodigy last year, Avicii was a must. The Swedish superstar DJ’s set took the crowd on a journey that began with his mega hit “Hey Brother” and ended with “You Make Me”. Playing a plethora of hits during an impressive show laden with special effects, there was no doubt in our minds why he is currently at the top of the game. He certainly knows how to put on a show.

As the outside entertainment drew to a close, the tents began filling up. Steve Angello brought the night to a close, playing a crowd pleasing anthemic house set, in the Size Matters tent, that has come to be expected from the former Swedish House Mafia don.

After some much needed sleep, Sunday began with a quick trip to the Hospitality tent. The Hed Kandi curated tent provided a great chilled out setting with Tom Lormor playing the saxophone live to house DJ sets.

The hopes and wishes of many were answered as the sun was finally out in full force for the rest of the festival. Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJ Mistjam managed to achieve a feat that most DJs struggle to do. He managed to pull a large crowd to his early afternoon set with an awakening mix of Hip Hop, Drum and Base, Dubstep and Queen’s “We will rock you” thrown in for good measure. The crowd erupted the moment he played Tenwalls “Walking with Elephants”, explaining why it was one of the most ‘shazammed’ tracks of the festival. It was definitely the light relief the crowd needed on a Sunday afternoon.


In the interim before the night’s big headliners, a few acts filled their tents to maximum capacity leaving many trapped outside, anticipating the moment when they too could get a taste of what was on offer within.

The first of these was DVBBS. This time last year, Tsunami was that song that dominated sets at Creamfields and this time around, the Canadian electronic duo were here in person to wow the crowd. Delivering a set with boundless energy and infectious tunes that sometimes came across a bit too happy hardcore for some tastes.

Next up was yet another Swede. In the Departures tent, which was full to breaking point, Alesso set the scene for what was to follow when fellow Swedish headliners Axwell & Ingrosso took to the stage. Alesso showcased his skill as a DJ incorporating the crowd’s screams and cheers with an eclectic beat for a song he played alongside Dansson & Marlon Hoffstadt’s “Shake That” and the Swedish House Mafia classic “One”.

Back on the adjacent North Stage, Fatboy Slim showed festival goers the power of reinvention and the ability of remaining relevant long after your heyday. Playing Renegade Master and dropping into Eat Sleep Rave Repeat really showed how far he had come as a DJ.

A sea of fans from around the globe jumped up and down in unison at the South Stage as Hardwell, reputed as the world’s number 1 DJ, played David Guetta’s “Bad” and a remix of One Republic’s “If I lose Myself”. As the sun set, fans were singing at the top of their voices as the Hardwell set ended with Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars”. An epic set that proved the accolade was well deserved.

From the beginning of the last day of the festival, there were rumours that Tiesto would no longer be playing his headlining slot which was swiftly confirmed on screens all around the main arena. So in replacement, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike were to headline the South Stage. This felt a bit like déjà vu, as last year, they stood in for David Guetta who arrived late after his private jet caught fire. It seems the duo are held on standby for any ensuing cancellations and I can fully understand why. They work the crowd up like no other rolling through Body Talk, Reload and Tremor to name a few, evidence of their rising star power.

It is fair to say that Calvin Harris is part of the reason why dance music is at its peak, has achieved mainstream popularity, and can be considered the sound of this generation. Earning more than £40 million in the last 12 months, this superstar DJ has taken the world by storm. Headlining the North Stage and bringing the festival to a close, he played a set of well known tracks that included his collaborations with fellow megastars – Rihanna “We Found Love”, Florence Welch “Sweet Nothings” and Example “We’ll be Coming Back”. All of this to a crowd of about 40,000 people and a backdrop of fireworks. Despite the small hiccups, the biggest Creamfields event to date was indeed a roaring success.

Words: Lola Anderson & Fikki OrekoyaPhoto 2: Marc de Groot

Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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