UK Festival: Creamfields 2019 Review
Not Great, But Solid
First of all, Creamfields is one of the oldest dance music festivals with over twenty years in existence. It grew substantially to become the massive experience that it is today. It is a hub for mostly house and techno heavyweights to come and showcase what wizardry they have been working on. Hence the music right off the bat was high quality and exceeded expectations for the UK festival.
Moving more broadly into the festival overall, the big brand name did not satisfy quality expectations. A portion of this discrepancy was due to the crowd vibe. There was a lot of aggression and negativity going around and that unfortunately affected multiple aspects of the fest. It was apparent immediately that there would be many attendees that lacked regards for amenities as well as other people.
There were pros and cons like all festivals, and at the macro-level Creamfields provided deserves a positive review. That being said, they could use some reevaluating and revamping. The festival was solid, the music was great, but the environment was underwhelming.
With ten official stages and two lowkey party stages spread through the festival, there was no messing around. There was the Warehouse, Red Arena, Blue Arena, Steel Yard, Generator, Pepsi Max Arena, The Courtyard, Silo, Horizon and Arc Stage. There were also two smaller club-like stages sponsored by Red Bull and Utilita.
Many of the stages were taken over by specific labels and artists, and that gave attendees a clue as to the expectations on any given day. For example, Deadmau5 Mau5trap label ran the generator stage on Saturday and featured artists that have released with them like Rezz and i_o.
The two main stages, Arc and Horizon, were both massive open air scenes. The rest of the stages sat inside uniquely shaped, circus style tents.
Anyone who has seen Rezz perform in the past knows that audiences are in for a treat. She is consistent in delivering exactly what her loyal fans want to hear. And now with the success of her brand new EP “Beyond The Senses,” this performance was highly anticipated.
Rezz performed at the Generator stage on Saturday night, and played a awesome set. She started out with her older and more popular hits like “Edge” and “Life & Death,” and went on to incorporate her new bangers including
Calvin Harris is the pride and joy of British EDM lovers. Or at least that is what many fans in the crowd before his set told me. The masses moved to the Arc stage to experience the international superstar perform. He played a lot of his hits like “Summer” and and “Promises” but he was keen to mix a mash to give a unique show.
Many acts are made or broken based on audience engagement and energy. In the case of Calvin Harris playing an exclusive set at this UK festival, the crowd was absolutely incredible. Loyal fans and excited Brits all came together to support the local hero, and the positive energy emanated.
Deadmau5 came out on the Arc stage with a stunning set production and invigorating music. The production is titled Cube v3, and it was nothing short of mesmerizing. The Arc is named literally — it has an arc of screens for visual production Deadmau5 decided to put a rotating cube of screens right in the middle.
He stood behind the screens initially, and at certain moments the cube slowly circled around him. Overall, it was an impressive and well-executed concept and really made for a unique performance.
Speaking of creative set production, Eric Prydz and his presentation of VOID was unforgettable. The Steel Yard stage was a spectacle on Friday Night. The visuals ranged from the stage itself all the way to the back of the tent via the roof.
One thing that I always look forward to at festivals is the wide variety of delicious and overpriced food options. Creamfields served up some fine dishes this year. There were food trucks, stands, vans, and a full-blown grocery shop to feed festival-goers.
Scattered throughout were old school ice cream vans that sold quick treats like slushies, soft-serve, ice-pops, water, and soft drinks. Also, there were classic fest-foods like pizza, chicken, mac and cheese, etc.
As a plant-based person, I have always found it frustrating to sit back and watch others feast on the goods. I was pleasantly surprised to find a vegan taco truck while strolling between stages.
As a fun alternative or filler-activity in between sets, the UK festival featured a line of amusement rides. This is a great concept, however, it definitely added a cheesy carnival vibe to the event. That said, attendees were having a blast and it was surely a highlight for many.
The festival released a general disclaimer prior to the festival attempting to motivate people to be conscious of their waste over the weekend. They also posted a reminder on twitter:
While that is nice and helpful, it certainly did not feel like there was a major sustainability effort on-scene. Personal responsibility is great, but the festival environment is prone to waste buildup and Creamfields could improve their policy as we see the team at Ultra doing.
As far as dance music goes, Creamfields has always been atop the festival giants. It consistently brings in massive lineups with the very best in the industry. That said, it could use a little redecoration. It has won numerous awards in the past for being such a high-quality event, however, the past few years have gone without any gold stars.
To those who have never been, Creamfields is definitely worth a trip for the music alone. The sheer number of big-name artists and variety within the electronic scene is impressive. In terms of the experience and the crowd-vibe, do not expect an overly friendly environment. Negativity aside, the UK festival was a solid experience.