Creamfields 2015 festival review

'One of the most impressive line-ups of the summer'

Creamfields 2015 festival review

Photographer: Sara BowreyHelen Giles on 02 September 2015

As the trickles of sunlight peek through the ominous grey sheets of cloud, thousands of ravers descend onto the grounds of Daresbury laden with bucket hats and waterproofs preparing themselves for this year's instalment of one of the biggest dance music festivals in the UK.

Boasting one of the most impressive line ups of the summer, Creamfields has gone all out to fill a void made obvious this year with the absence of Global Gathering, despite valiant efforts made from growing event promoters responsible for the likes of Xstatic and WE ARE FSTVL.

With Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong and Armin Van Buuren staging sporadic takeovers over the weekend, along with many others, there is a dance sub-genre here for everyone to enjoy - from trance to hard house to techno. It would be astonishing if the site is still standing after three days of non-stop stomping from excitable die-hard fans. 

Armin steals the show on the first night, bringing to Warrington some of the greatest trance DJs to date. Orjan Nilson (9) sends spine tingling frequencies into the audience, causing a sea of hands to soar through the summer air with his euphoric trance sent, whilst Cosmic Gate (8) counteracts that with even more upbeat energy, combined with classic, nostalgic tracks like 'Fire Wire' and 'Exploration on Space'.

Andrew Rayel (10) took the night with his contemporary take on the genre of trance, mixing in tracks from Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith to keep the younger crowd entertained, whilst not losing any of the original, instantly recognisable sound that has floated through the decades.

The combination of David Rodigan, Shy FX and Chase and Status has a majority of festival goers waiting eagerly in anticipation, ready to hear three generations of the finest drum and bass known to us all as Rebel Sound (6). Although the concept is inspiring, and the introduction from none other than Trevor Mcdonald completely unique, the music and performance itself is somewhat disappointing. For three acts as big as they are in their own right, you would expect a certain amount of energy to be generated, however it’s a repetitive, heavy bass line that provides electricity for all of about 20 minutes before deflating.

Day two and the fresh surge of energy from the day ticket ravers entering for Saturday's endurance test provides a much needed lift for those who may have partied a little too hard the previous day. Changes to set times seem to cause the biggest aggravations of the day, with David Zowie (8) appearing on the stage later than expected, and those arriving at the South Stage for Arty's afternoon entertainment sorely disappointed to find his cleverly constructed set drawing to a close prematurely. However Cazzette (7) provide a perfectly suitable consolation performance to lift spirits after these irritating and unexpected line up switches.

As the sun begins to hide itself over the horizon, the atmosphere becomes electric. Half a day has been completed, everyone is in the highest of spirits, but no one could have predicted the life changing moment that was about to commence over on Creamfield's North stage. Two of the biggest acts in dance are about to go back to back over the course of the next three and a half hours.

Hands soar serenely into the cool summer air as Above And Beyond (9) took to the stage, reminding us that 'We Are All We Need'. Strangers embrace each other in the moment, taking in the subtle, uplifting riffs from 'Peace of Mind' and 'Blue Sky Action' and absorbing the subliminal messages floating through the sky - to love, and to unite. Their remix of the Faithless classic 'Salva Mea' cements their reputation as the most talented DJs in trance with the gracious crowd hanging off their every word.

Following this and their jaw-dropping set at Glastonbury 2015, The Chemical Brothers (10) had a lot to live up to. Famed for their unique staging and varied mixture of tempos and textures in their music sequencing, it was only natural that they were to close the Saturday night - and they certainly don’t disappoint. A complete contrast to Above and Beyond, their quirky vibrations spin the crowd into a frenzy, dropping bombshells like 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl' and 'Galvanise' into a sea of bouncing bodies rebounding off inflatable grenades launched from their psychedelic staging. This set was certainly not for the faint hearted, but provides the perfect way to rejuvenate, leaving ravers ready to take on what the rest of Saturday has left to offer in the main stage surroundings.

The final day at Creamfields and the arena is probably the busiest it has been all weekend, with an early influx of people ready to go all out for the last 12 hours of music and dancing. Even those that have been for the duration are dragging themselves through a smoky, war torn campsite so not to miss any of the incredible acts left to entertain the audience.

Oliver Heldens (6) brightens up the main stage with his brand of commercial house rhythms putting a smile on everyone’s face. Hits like ‘Gecko’ and ‘Every shade of Grey’ are sure-fire crowd pleasers to get even the most tired shuffling through the mud, but by about half way through the set there is a strange moment of de ja vu where it feels like these songs have already been played. The repetitiveness brings the audience down from an energetic shuffle to a sluggish head bop, but on the whole a very funky set to give even the most exhausted of raver’s the energy reserves they need to continue into the evening.
The highlight of the night, drawing Sunday’s proceedings to a close, is none other than the superstar DJ Fatboy Slim (10). The passion and enthusiasm this big beat, house marvel exudes resembles that of a new performer entering the stage for the very first time – making it impossible to think he has been a part of this industry for decades.

Interpretations of ‘Right Here, Right Now’ and ‘Praise You’ stir emotion inside lively comrades, all together in shock and admiration as to what is currently happening before their eyes. With an impressive lightshow to boot and mysterious poltergeist balloons appearing intermittently, it proves the perfect end to what has been the most unexpectedly fantastic weekend of music, dancing and electric festival vibes.

The reputation that Creamfields promoters have worked so hard to achieve has paid off in spectacular fashion. Letting the weekend’s antics sink in and looking back, there was never a moment when someone wasn’t beaming from ear to ear, enjoying life and embracing every memory about to be created. In the words of Above and Beyond: “life is made of small moments like these that will never be forgotten”. If only we had one more day..

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