Creamfields; Bouncers, Pills & A Lot Of Raving
I’ve spent a solid week trying to put this festival into words. It’d be interesting to run a survey on what the first word is that pops into people’s heads when they hear the name “Creamfields”. I think I can probably guess the top three, and having spent a weekend there pretty much sober, it’s obvious to me they all need addressing.
There are so many connotations attached to Creamfields, it’s difficult to go to the festival with a completely open mind, but let’s talk about what’s true and not, maybe even dispel some myths along the way.
The first would (I hope) undoubtedly be festival, and it’s a pretty good place to start in terms of a review. Ignoring the music for a while, Creamfields is a pretty well structured festival. It’s fairly accessible in terms of transport and the campsites are well equipped. As should be expected, there are a number of tents housing varying sub genres of dance music complimenting the two main stages, North and South.
Everything in terms of logistics is what you’d expect from a big festival. However, my biggest gripe with this festival came with the bouncers. Throughout the weekend there seemed an air of cluelessness surrounding many of them, which for me accumulated when late at night I was denied entry to my campsite.
My research into the history of this festival is comprised nearly totally of talking to stoned thirty something’s throughout the weekend, if you allow your hard city reluctance to talk to random strangers to drop, you start to uncover more about this place as a festival. According to those I spoke to, Creamfields started out as something pretty close to a forest rave, steadily growing in popularity and spreading past the locals into a worldwide attraction. This is one of the facts that makes Creamfields such an extraordinary story, it almost feels like a party that has gotten out of hand, a beautiful accident, retaining the feeling of a forest rave in many ways, whilst attracting some of the world’s most renowned DJs/producers.
This leads nicely onto the second word which is the music, which is obviously mainly dance/dance inspired. This year’s line up, as nearly every previous year’s, attracted some of the top DJ’s/and producers across all dance genres, with a particular emphasis on house and techno, reflecting the genre’s meteoric revival.
Friday headliners Rebel Sound offered up an interesting flavour of Reggae/Drum and Bass with influences from Grime, Hip/Hop, Garage and House also creeping in. DJ EZ was another highlight, with his refreshingly original garage set, although the idea of putting him on the Towers Tent stage at mid day seemed crazy, resulting in huge crowds waiting outside who couldn’t make it into the set. Kygo and Avicii also delivered pretty decent sets however the best, by far and away, was Fatboy Slim’s Headline set Smile High Club. (Full review,here)
The final of those three words is the one that so many pussy foot about or often just ignore, but needs to be addressed. This year the number of arrests at Creamfields for drugs related offences was huge, and if I was going to say I hadn’t noticed this effect the festival, I’d be lying. At times, it felt like a minefield of teens getting off their face for the first time because they’ve spent a weekend away from mummy and daddy. Whether you see this culture as a selling point or the total opposite, there’s no way in which I can condone the culture in anyway, and at times, it kind of ruins it.
In short, this is why it bothers me. I think it’s sad that we have reached a stage where many can’t spend a weekend just enjoying the music, at times here, you feel like the odd one out if you’re not on anything, and it really shouldn’t be like that. Sure, it’s something you come to expect at festivals, some people will always choose to decide to supplement their music consumption with consumption of another kind, but as a festival when you’re finding a large amount of pills hidden in shampoo bottles, you know you’ve got a serious problem.
Creamfields is also a unique and ever changing beast. It’s a place where country bumpkins can go wild to techno, city boys can have unlimited “squad photos” in the middle of house sets (normally with one crouched at the front, arms spread), and girls in crop tops with flowers in their hair can get on the closest boys shoulders and wave their arms to commercial EDM, and these aren’t things to be looked down upon. It all contributes to the ever changing vibe of Creamfields, it’s introducing itself to a new generation and sure, there’s a few teething problems, but Creamfields is moving with time and generations, love it or loathe it, it could be around for some time yet.
To find out more about Creamfields click here.
Pictures by Lorenzo TNC & Alex Lonsdale
Words by Thomas Schofield