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James Barton (Creamfields) Blog #8

By James Barton on 04 September 2009
Wow! What a show that was. The 2009 edition of Creamfields is now behind us and it’s now time to reflect on the weekend’s events good and maybe one or two not so good features.

Let’s start with the good, from the moment we announced Creamfields 2009 on April 3rd tickets have been through the roof with camping tickets selling out two weeks in advance and the whole show eventually selling out 10 days before show day. This is big news for us when you consider that camping was only introduced to the festival last year and let’s not forget this all happened in a recession year. The ticket price obviously worked as did the line up, but on reflection the smooth running of last year’s event seems to have also played some part.
 
Continuing with the good, the weekend itself was amazing, from the moment we opened the gates we could see that there was a slightly different atmosphere. The Creamfields crowd has always been up for a good time, this was something I haven’t seen in years. I guess the buzz with the show selling out gave those people clever enough to buy early an extra lift as there was so much demand for tickets in the last two weeks. I arrived on site at 6.45am and already punters were arriving into the car parks hell bent on extracting every possible minute/hour from there Creamfields weekend.
 
The good vibe continued throughout all of Saturday with a really nice crowd filling into the arena from early on, the weather held out and the show was building nicely throughout the day. The evenings bit hitters started to shape up with Mylo taking to the main stage with a last minute change from a live show to a more beefed up DJ set with a massive LED screen behind him. The crowd didn’t seem to care about the change and enjoyed it all the same. Staying with the stage the headliner of the night Tiesto had one of those massive main stage crowds that only a few can claim to have pulled. Backed up with a massive production, the biggest DJ in the world right now (sorry fella’s, he did sell 25,000 in London last month!) Tiesto smashed the pants off it! Being very clever by keeping his set moving along with a few old school classics including a Prodigy track and even ‘Sweet Dreams’ by Eurhythmics his set built to a massive climax of pyrotechnics and confetti cannons. The crowd went bonkers!
 
In other parts of the festival the arenas were going strong, a big shout out for Laurent Garnier’s live show in the Chibuku tent, Hernan Catteneo and James Zabiela who both ripped up the Cream Arena, Friendly Fires had a big crowd on the Mixmag stage, Erol Alkan and Crookers nailed the Chibuku arena. Although the outstanding sets for me have to be Luciano with his first live show in the UK in the Chibuku arena, it was cool, clever, different and all the things you’d expect from one of the world’s most exciting new DJs. The Swedish House Mafia destroyed there arena, I popped in to see the boys and it was red hot – we all love these boys at Cream, they take so much care of their arena and along with their agent Amy they once again delivered one of the highlights of the festival.
 
Before we move from Saturday, I have to explain/discuss apologies for what happened when David Guetta took to the stage. Firstly let me mitigate what happened when I say that when David was booked to headline the Cream arena it was back in January or February and his popularity was not what it is now. As those that were at the show will already know, the tent became so overcrowded that there were some issues with crushing and this led to us taking David off stage to prevent any injuries to our crowd. There has been various rumours, but I can assure you no one suffered any serious injuries. I was at the arena at the time and even though David leaving the stage affected people’s enjoyment it was totally the right thing to do, our customers safety has to be priority. David returned to the stage to a hero’s welcome and delivered an hours set that will go down in the Creamfields history books, I was there with him in the booth and the noise was unbelievable.
 
After Saturday’s events, Sunday opened up with a bit of a lull, all the campers seemed to be carrying hangovers and the weather didn’t help. It rained all day and the show seemed to struggle to catch light. Poor Calvin Harris played in some of the worst rain I have seen at a festival and although he and the crowd worked there socks off I really felt sorry for all concerned as the majority of the crowd headed for the shelter of the DJ arenas. The Cream Arena was firing all day, but stepped up a notch when local hero Eddie took to the stage. Eddie Halliwell and Ferry Corsten ripped the place apart, again with pyro’s and fireworks blowing everyone’s minds. Over in the Subliminal arena Laidback Luke kicked things off with a massive crowd who stuck around all day and night seeing the likes of Timo, Sasha, Dubfire and Mr Morillo bring home one of the most consistent arenas at Creamfields. Arena host Annie Mac Presents faired well throughout the day, but saving the biggest crowd for the lady herself Annie.
 
Outdoors the weather cleared as did some of the early gloom when 2manydjs took to the main stage with a clever and amazing show, too many words are needed to describe here how good this show is - please go and see for yourself. One of my favourites of the weekend.

By the time Mr Rascal took to the stage the rain returned with a vengeance, but that did not prevent us from seeing one of the best sets of the weekend. The crowd stayed the distance and when Dizzee took to the stage it was well on its way. Bringing Calvin on stage for their joint number 1 record ‘Dance Wiv Me’ was a nice touch as Calvin had suffered with the worst of the weather, but the highlight was convincing them to both do ‘Holiday’ together on the day it went in the charts at No.1. The crowd went Bonkers before Bonkers : )
 
Closing the day out was left to Basement Jaxx, Paul Van Dyk and Deadmau5, who all did their job so well. But again we should mention the young pup on the scene Deadmau5, who pulled a massive crowd up against the old grandees of dance. He is fastly becoming one of my favourite artists both professionally and personally. He is brilliant and cheeky all at the same time. I popped over to see the end of PVD’s set and once again it was awesome, he never fails to deliver and without any fuss either. He’s really cool to work with.
 
So that was it, but no festival is complete without some lessons learned and although the big picture is key there were a few issues that will have to be factored in to next year’s show. We need to reduce even further the queuing especially for the campers, we have heard you and we will work on that for next year. Mr Guetta will hopefully be back and he will play in a bigger space and overall we will strive to improve on everything – we always do!
 
That was Creamfields 2009.
 
James Barton
Creamfields CEO

www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com
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James Barton (Creamfields) Blog #7

By James Barton on 27 August 2009

Although I said I never look at the weather forecast, I am pleased to see the sun shining through after a down pour of rain last night. With two days to go I am pretty sure it will dry out for Saturday.

I was at the site yesterday and I have to say it’s looking rather exciting with the changes we have made this year. This year we have moved the main stage to a new field and have also changed the stage itself. We have also put in a second outdoor stage with the creation of the Mixmag Terrace, not exactly a terrace, but it looks great. We have also jigged around some of the DJ arenas to add a bit more interest.

It’s funny that after 11 years of striving to keep the event fresh that something as simple as moving a couple of stage’s gives you a buzz.

Back at the office there seems to be a strange calmness, although the phone is ringing off the hook with people looking for tickets or guest list. There a few last minute artist issues that we need to conclude, but overall everything seems to be on schedule.

Even though I have done this so many times, I am starting to get excited as we get closer – you never lose that feeling!

James.

James Barton
Creamfields CEO

www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com

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James Barton (Creamfields) Blog #6

By James Barton on 25 August 2009
It’s official Creamfields 2009 has sold out!
 
It’s probably fair to say that the show pretty much sold out last week, but not wanting to jump the gun we didn’t want to put the sold out sign up until the last ticket was sold.
 
As I said in previous blogs the show has been on fire all summer with demand better than the last 7/8 years. We are soooooooo happy to see that even after all this time the demand for Creamfields and dance music is as strong as ever.
 
Which means that this week we don’t need to be worked up about sales and can concentrate on the show itself. Guest list, hotels, transport requests, transport changes, hotel changes, production changes all of these seem to be the main topics of the day.
 
I stopped looking at weather forecasts years ago, but I will still be saying my prayers for good weather tonight : )
 
Will update again Weds.
 
James Barton
Creamfields CEO

www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com

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James Barton (Creamfields) Blog #5

By James Barton on 10 August 2009
I can’t believe it’s August and I haven’t blogged for over a month. I am en route from Ibiza 35,000 feet above the white isle heading back to Blighty …
 
At this stage of the year my weekends are not my own so it is always difficult to make it to other peoples festivals, but I made a decision at the beginning of the year to get out and see what other people are doing.  In the last month I have been able to attend both Wireless and Camp Bestival and although very different shows, I had a really good time at both and both seemed really busy (which is good news).
 
Wireless was everything I expected from a huge show in the middle of London and although not exactly a traditional festival for some of you out there, I didn’t care a jot as I had a good laugh with some great friends and I got to stay close by in a 5* hotel with all the luxury that you expect.  The line up was pretty cool, but I have to confess that I did spend most of my time in the Live Nation Hospitality Tent not seeing much apart from Kanye and the Jaxx.
 
Camp Bestival was a million miles away from Wireless! In the middle of nowhere, 1000’s of kids and not a 5* hotel in sight. But excellent and brilliant all the same – I have to say that the Bestival crew have it nailed down there.   
 
What they do is unique and cool at the same time. An out and out family festival and totally not the usual all night rave I am used to. The crowd was so well behaved, I did start to wonder if anyone was going to get crazy and get themselves nicked!
 
July also saw Creamfields Czech Republic go off without too much hassle, not the biggest show we do – but still in development with hopes for the future.
 
This month sees the mighty Creamfields UK happen and I can happily predict a sell out this year. There is a really good buzz on the show and the sales are as good as I can remember. At this stage we are not on site, so not much to report from there, but the office is busy with various functions with guest list always being the one area that remains as hot as ever. I am hoping for good weather although we said that about July. August will also see the last of our Creamfields shows in Europe with Spain, Ukraine and Malta still to come.
 
Speak soon.
 
James Barton
Creamfields CEO

www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com
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James Barton (Creamfields) Blog #4

By James Barton on 03 July 2009
Hello once again,
 
The busy season has well and truly kicked off for us with the launch of Ibiza and the first of 12 global Creamfields festivals taking place on the tiny island of Malta.

I have never been to Malta before, although we did a festival there last year which went so well that I had to see it for myself this year. The show featured Moby and Deadmau5 on the bill so it was always going to be a good’un. But I was really surprised at how good and how big the show was considering that, with all due respect to Malta, it couldn’t exactly claim to be on the main festival/touring circuit. Although this could all change!
 
I loved it from start to finish, the weather was amazing, as were the locals who all seemed so chilled and so friendly. The relaxed and happy vibe seemed to rub off on all involved especially Moby and his band who all put in a great performance, again I have never seen Moby play live and he really surprised me. The show is really upbeat and lively considering the majority of stuff from the ‘Play’ album is a little laid back. But it was a good old rave classic that got the biggest cheer of the night when he played ‘GO’.
 
Which brings me on to Deadmau5, well this kid has everything ahead of him, he’s awesome and will be around for many years to come. Watching him ‘do his thing’ was a real eye opener for me, whoever said dance music has no real characters, needs to check this guy out. Probably becoming slightly more famous for performing in his trademark ‘mou5ehead’ but he is much more than that. Moving the crowd the way he did whilst mixing his own music live on stage via a computer confirms that there is real, real talent there also.
 
But saying that it did take real showmanship to provide the highlight of the night when he spotted a local fan in the audience who had brought along his own homemade version of the famous mau5head. Showing real ‘Bono’ traits he dragged him from the crowd to share the stage together whilst playing his recent hit single ‘I Remember’. This combined with the amazing weather and a real feel good vibe took the show to another level. Great fun.
 
This week also saw the launch of our ‘winter’ festival Liverpool Music Week which takes place this November. Covering all the major venues in Liverpool the festival is a real highlight in the bleak winter months. Already confirmed and announced are the mighty Kasabian at the Echo Arena, The Enemy at Liverpool University and The Reverend at our own venue Nation. There will hopefully be more exciting artists announced over the coming months along with an amazing free festival. Check out www.liverpoolmusicweek.com for the all the info.
 
This weekend I am off to Wireless for a few days and will happily report back to you along with the latest from Creamfields Czech Republic at some point. I also promise to provide you with an update on Creamfields UK which is building very nicely.
 
James Barton
Creamfields CEO

www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com
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James Barton (Creamfields) Blog #3

By James Barton on 05 June 2009
Here comes the sun and here comes the festival season in full. June is always a big month for festivals, but more so this year me thinks.
 
With the mighty Glastonbury along with fellow heavyweights Isle Of Wight, Download, Hyde Park Calling, Wireless and my mates Rock Ness all happening this month, June tends to be the month that sets the tone for the whole season.
 
We at Cream are always keen to see how the season starts and what the general vibe is going into July, this is especially the case with Glastonbury being so big and having its huge media impact. The feeling here is that if Glasto has a big one then the whole summer gathers momentum. I think this is even more important this year with the current economic situation and some people predicting doom for our industry.
 
But out of adversity can come some inspiration and some real creativity, this mixed with sensible thinking could mean this summer turns out to be one of the best yet. If I can take some of you old ravers back to the summer of ’88 and the real launch of dance music, you will remember (or maybe not!) that the country was depressed by what was happening with the current government.
 
We had a very unpopular prime minister, un-employment was high, and the country was facing a bleak future - but out of this came Acid House! Thousands of young people partied in green fields and dodgy warehouses’ the length and breadth of the country thus creating a new musically movement. See where I’m going with this?!
 
Maybe it’s a stretch to see a new musical revolution this summer, but I hope that in the mist of a pretty dreadful time people will still look for that release at the weekends and party like its 1988!

James Barton

www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com
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James Barton (Creamfields) Blog #2

By James Barton on 15 May 2009

Hello again!

It’s been a hectic few weeks since we last spoke with visit’s to Korea, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Miami last week – not all work related I must add.  I returned to the UK on Monday morning and it seems the world has gone Bonkers in more ways than one!

I could believe my eye’s when I read the newspapers and I saw the full extent of what our lovely elected officials had been up to with our hard earned income tax, it beggars belief!  But my mood was lightened once I had the chance to catch up with all the TV from Radio 1’s Big Weekend.  The first major outdoor gig of year looked really amazing with brilliant sunshine, but what really got me going was the brilliant performances from the majority of this years Creamfields line up.

It was great to see the amazing Basement Jaxx once again doing there ‘thang’ after a few years absence, it was also great to see how relative newcomer Deadmau5 went down and how big his crowd was. I also thought Mr Calvin Harris put in a really good stint. But how much of a smile did Dizzee bring to your face with what has to be the single of the summer already ‘Bonkers’!?

I have to agree with my fellow blogger Mr Da Bank that this really could be a massive year for Dizzee and I can’t wait to see him DO Creamfields in August.

Let’s hope that ‘Bonkers’ is sitting at number 1 this time next week as he really deserves it!

James Barton

www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com

 

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James Barton (Creamfields)

By James Barton on 21 April 2009

Hello all festival goers and welcome to my first blog for Virtual Festivals.

I suppose I should explain a little about who I am, ­ my name is James Barton and I am the C.E.O of Cream and Creamfields.

It's a great pleasure to be asked by 'Virtual' to provide you with some of my thoughts on all things 'festivals' and to also keep you updated on the development of Creamfields 2009 as we move on through the summer.

Let me give you a quick update about this years Creamfields since we launched. For those of you that have paid attention, you will know that we announced a reduction in our camping and weekend tickets from £115 to what we believe is a very reasonable £100 for 2009. I guess our thinking was that in today's economic climate it was an obvious thing to do, or at least the obvious thing to do for a festival that is based in the North West of England that has enjoyed tremendous loyalty from its core customers for over 10 years now. We have always been aware of the availability of cash for our customers and thought we should make some sort of gesture with cash being a little tight this year.

The offer has gone down very well, with sales ahead of last years with a huge chunk of goodwill already coming back as a result. This, combined with the line up for 2009, has got us all very excited for this summer.

Looking around this years festival circuit I think we are in for a very good year with some excellent shows out there. The ones that pop out though are of course Bestival (again!), Reading (again!) Rockness (again!) and if the line up rumours are correct Glasto will be returning to form this year ­ although I did like their line up last year. There is also some great stand alone concerts this summer with Tiesto and Springsteen being my own summer picks ­ weird I know, but I have a diverse musical pallet!

Tune in soon for my next blog ­ thanks for reading!

James Barton


www.Cream.co.uk
www.Creamfields.co.uk
www.aiforg.com

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