Photographer: Kate Anderson 27 August 2006
Normally set in Speke Airfield on the outskirts of Liverpool, this year Creamfields brings us to Daresbury, Halton. Slap bang in the middle of nowhere, the site is still as bustling as Liverpool city centre, despite being situated in a tranquil field in Cheshire. The sun has still not graced us with its presence, although this doesn’t seem to dishearten the hoards of festival dancers making their way up the path in their outrageous attire, bringing fluffy pink boots, fish net stockings, whistles, their traditional boiler suits, masks, face paint, fairy wings and anything else that will make them stand out from the crowd or glow in the UV lights. The sound in the car park is already deafening, the bass booms out of every car boot in sight, with people merrily dancing in groups of three or four, swigging from bottles and having their own private parties, gearing up to all come together for the ultimate UK dance event of the year.
Stumbling up the path with my army of drunken monkeys, loud, brash and harassing people, at every opportunity we make our way inside. The atmosphere is already starting to get out of control; one of my friends has decided that forward rolling all the way to the site is somehow a good idea, with numerous idiots joining in.
I hadn’t really made any timetable to stick to and decided I would rely on my good old ears and the Creamfields schedule round my neck. As we enter the site, with shows, massive tents, masses of people dressed up, the place echoes of a gigantic chemical infused circus, with freaks and performances at every turn. I was half expecting to see a bearded lady or a lion run past (I’m sure later on in the evening I probably will).
Wading through the spectacle we are magnetically drawn to the already crowded Subliminal Sessions tent. Hearing the ear-splitting thunderous bass to Technotronic’s 'Pump Up The Jam' resonating out of the enormous tent, we run to the tent like rats following the pied piper, and begin stomping and cutting shapes any way our bodies will allow us to. Frantically flipping through the pages on my sacred timetable I discover we are under the trance of Axwell, a distinguished DJ from Sweden. His set combines sexy vocal house with an electrifying pulsating bass, which is easing us in gently to the heavy night that stands before us. The crowd easily falls under his magical spell and cheesy commercial tracks and dance classics are dropped like musical bombs, from Pink Floyd to Deep Dish, as Axwell builds an intense electricity. The overpowering fragrance of grass, body odour and poppers blend together and as I rummage around my bag to pour myself a sneaky little vodka, Axwell sneaks in the bass of The White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' and all thoughts of a drink are abandoned. 'Dum da da da da dum dum'! Bouncing up and down like a possessed banshee waiting for the vocals to kick in, Axwell slips in The Automatic’s 'Monster'. Cheeky. From the front of the tent to the back, the crowd’s arms are raised unconsciously like a Mexican wave and the words begin to reverberate and ricochet from every mouth in the tent.
The Chibuku tent is the next point of psychedelic sound to see my Scottish comrade Myles Mylo MacInnes. Having stunned me before at T In The Park in the Slam tent, I’m itching to see his set. His sound is characterised by electro stabs, fat bottomed bass lines and a fine element of funk. He begins with some downbeat electronica which quickly spirals into his usual sophisticated sexy sound. The masses seem enthralled by his melodic wizardry, but I feel there’s something missing. Even his whole presence, he seems disinterested, no crowd interaction, no transmission of emotion and by the end of the set even his records are mirroring his exterior and are beginning to sound extremely disappointing and repetitive. Certainly not the Mylo we know and love.
If that isn’t enough to create an inevitable comedown, as I near the main stage to witness the spell-binding peculiar antics of The Prodigy, I realise this is the climax of their set, sending me into a coma of disbelief. Hearing the beginning of 'Out Of Space' hum out of gigantic speakers and observing the biggest crowd at Creamfields for years, I'm determined to let this song hypnotise and take full control. Keith zigzaggs around the stage as if imitating the very sounds that Liam is captivating this audience with. Fantastic.
I trudge back across uneven ground to the Chibuku tent to let 2 Many DJs captivate me with their individual euphoric and eclectic musical mix. The Belgian brothers beautifully blend tracks intelligently through the evening (Blur, Garbage, Dolly Parton, The Egg, etc). They illuminate the decks and radiate energy through every mix, track and tiny detail, clearly interacting with the crowd and loving what they do. They ooze passion every time I’m lucky enough to witness them perform and never disappoint, with a diverse appeal and a look that reminds me of wacky scientists concocting chemical experiments with records, with surprises and explosions at every junction. A joy to watch.
The darkness has set in, and so too has the chill. After eating some questionable food, we’re enticed to Circus & Cream Audio Deluxe for the transatlantic titan of house music Mr Roger Sanchez. As he steps into the DJ box an immense roar sweeps across the half standing, half seated crowd in the tent. 4am separates the hardcore dancers from the wannabes. The cameras and mobiles spring out to capture the beginning of the set. He slams into his trademark tweaking and innovative methods and builds up the crowd before entering a more progressive house style. The mainly blue lighting compliments his evolution of music, moving into more recurring and rhythmic tunes. He’s certainly come a long way since selling mixed tapes in Queens!
What goes up must come down and sadly Creamfields must come to a close. As the spot lights
come on, and people melt to the floor in frustration and head to the car park with the music still pulsating through them,
the memories will prevail. As this is what keeps us coming back to the much loved Creamfields. I'll be there, along with
45,000 others, awaiting the line-up in anticipation and hoping that the excitement will multiply in the build
up to the 2007 weekend!