Creamfields 2008

Creamfields was celebrating it’s 10th anniversary and judging by the amount of PR coming from Cream towers over the summer they were really pulling out all the stops for their annual Bank Holiday festivities. Once again the dance festival was set in the grounds of the Daresbury estate just 5 miles out of Warrington. The decision to move three years ago from the old airport at Speke to this excellent site in the Cheshire green belt has managed to remove the horrible scally element – which plagued the event after sundown – while keeping the festival’s identity with it’s spiritual home of Liverpool. 2008 was also the first year that organisers secured a two day license and introduced a much needed onsite camping area.

 

There was much talk this year about the line up which looked beyond the traditional dance acts and included a number of rock and indie bands on the bill. Many wondered whether guitar rock had a place at a dance festival but headliners Kasabian along with The Gossip where ready to prove the doubters wrong.With the event finishing at 11pm on the Sunday the bulk of the dance music filled Saturday’s line up with big names including Sasha, Paul Van Dyk, Pete Tong and Eric Prydz taking the roof off the massive 10,000 capacity Cream tent. Monkey man Ian Brown proved a crowd pleaser as he headlined Chibuku’s tent, surprising those who came to see the former Roses frontman by proving that he actually can sing live. Backed with sets from 2manyDJs, Erol Alkan and Annie Mac this tent proved a popular location for those who like their tuneage to provide a bit more brain power. Over on the main stage the first of the experiments The Gossip took to the stage just as the heavens opened. Not one to let a bit of rain dampen spirits Beth Ditto whipped the drenched crowd into a frenzy.

Saturday night’s main stage action was brought to a close by dance music royalty in the form of Fatboy Slim. Around 15,000 of the revellers took this chance to enjoy Norm’s party house before heading through the mud into the other arenas to close off the night.Sunday brought a number of surprises, Kasabian, Chic, and SUNSHINE!!! With the arena opening at 12 noon there was a long day’s raving ahead for those who wandered down from the hillside nursing the mother of all hangovers and the many day ticket holders who where in attendance for either the trancefest of Corsten, Oakenfold and Tiesto or to see the Leicester rockers making a piece of Creamfields history.

The sun threatened to make an appearance all afternoon but my a touch of magic the clouds broke just as disco producer extraordinaire Nile Rogers brought his Chic band to the fields. Chic have been responsible for many of the greatest disco tracks ever written and as the last rays bounced across the site the 10 strong band, all dressed in white, got asses shaking with classics such as ‘le freak’ and ‘good times’ plus tracks written for other artists like ‘we are family’ (sister sledge) and ‘i’m coming out’ (diana ross). At an event that was already very well programmed this booking proved to be a masterstroke as the word got round the site that a special Creamfields moment had taken place.

There was plenty of action to be found elsewhere around the site with large crowds at the Resident’s terrace all day as well as a varied selection of new talent on the BBC introducing and Myspace buses. Strangely, the Radio1 tent that included sets from John Digweed, Sander Kleinenberg and Underworld suffered in numbers (just a couple of hundred at times) as the tent hosted by the Swedish House Mafia and the trancetastic Cream arena proved the most popular covered venues of the afternoon.

One big problem proved to be the 11pm finish which left the revellers brains spinning as to which act they should choose to end their weekend, Underworld, Tiesto, Swedish House Mafia or indeed Kasabian on the main stage. For me their was only one option and after catching the end of a typically bleepy Soulwax set, I took position near the front of the main arena to see if Kasabian could rock the Creamfields faithful. Although they are regarded as a rock band their music does have a tempo and style that appeals to the dance music fans so it was a safe bet that they would go down well.Launching into ‘Shoot the Runner’ they got the crowd on side straight from the off and there was no turning back for the Leicester four piece. Picking off tracks from the back catalogue including ‘Processed Beats’ and ‘Empire’ the band took control of the crowd and even found time to try out some new material from the forthcoming album. Lead singer Tom Meighan swaggered across the stage and tried his best to whip the crowd up with comments such as ‘Come on you f***ing Ravers!’ but perhaps some of the crowd were suffering from the previous nights exploits. The encore was a piece of genius with a cover of dance classic ‘You got the Love’ heading straight into ‘LSF’. The crowd left in good spirits with many continuing the chants of LSF as they made their way from the main stage. Many headed to their tents for a few hours before contempating the journey home while others had to endure the queues and hour long bus journeys back to Liverpool and beyond.

I’m sure the bands will be back again next year and tickets for 2009 are already on sale at www.cream.co.uk

 

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