As the summer festival season comes to an end, the last big UK event of the year was Creamfields, which once again turned a quiet corner of the Cheshire countryside into a mecca for dance music. Hundreds of acts tore the collective canvas off eleven stages and tents over two nights, and we’re presenting to you the best of what the UK’s biggest dance festival had to offer.
While north stage headliners The Prodigy attracted an enormous crowd–as you’d expect given their legendary status as a key part of the ’90s EDM boom in the UK–the current renaissance in dance music was epitomized by Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, who attracted even greater numbers to the south stage. His set was a mix of electro and progressive house and it was the hits–including some tracks from his upcoming debut album True–that really got things moving. The mashup of Superlove with Calvin Harris’ Sweet Nothing was a firm favorite, and the sky nearly exploded, almost literally thanks to some very impressive pyro work when he dropped smash hits I Could Be The One, Levels, and recent anthem Wake Me Up.
French youngster Madeon provided some summery vibes as the sun set on the north stage on Saturday. Though the set punctuated with some epic mashups, featuring everything from Justice to Pendulum, there was a decent showing from some of his own works, ranging from the sample-tastic Pop Culture to remixes of tracks by Martin Solveig through to Blur. A well as being a technical genius behind the decks–or rather the control surface–Madeon is also a true showman, not letting the technical challenge in front of him get in the way of connecting with the crowd.
A feel-good start to the festival was an early set by young Danish producer The Frederik, who got the afternoon crowd moving with some dirty bass and jumping electro house. Featuring tracks such as his own Heavy Crownage and 56K, the crowd grew increasingly in size throughout his set, a sure sign this is a guy with a bright future ahead of him. Be sure to keep an eye out for news of upcoming tour dates, singles and remixes.
Above & Beyond
Headlining their own Anjunabeats tent, the A&B set was a highlight for many. The arena went from being pretty much full to totally rammed within the first few tracks. Following the fast paced and energetic set from Paul Oakenfold, Jono and Paavo instantly lured the crowd into a masterful journey that swung from the some of the recent favorites from their label such as Audien’s Iris to some of their own works, with tracks such as Sun & Moon resulting in a mass singalong from the crowd. It was a perfect end to the group’s last UK show until ABGT50 at Ally Pally London in October.
The penultimate act in Laidback Luke’s totally packed Super You & Me tent, Steve Aoki proved a massive hit with the crowd early on Sunday evening. As well as some stomping music from the likes of his own Ladi Dadi, recent release Boneless and his remix of Kid Cudi’s Pursuit Of Happiness, there was the usual epic showmanship from a guy who can work a crowd like very few others. Spending plenty of time standing on the deck table, spraying the audience with champagne, jumping 20ft from stage trussing into his famous inflatable boat held aloft by the crowd, and of course the infamous cake-throw, the security guys must have been going nuts, but the crowd absolutely loved it and it gave easily one of the most energetic atmospheres of the weekend.
Taking to the north stage as the sun went down on the final day, Afrojack whipped up a healthy crowd with some high-energy electro house. His set featured plenty of his own works, from Jack That Body to Rock The House, as well as some remixes and mashups featuring tracks as diverse as Donna Summer’s dance classic I Feel Love. Due to final act David Guetta being delayed due to a plane fire, Afrojack had an extra half an hour on stage, which led to a more diverse and experimental set. For those craving a bit of Guetta though, Afrojack played his remix of Fatboy Slim’s Eat Sleep Rave Repeat, which proved to be a crowd favorite. We can only hope Afrojack returns for next year’s festival, that’s if it doesn’t interfere with his plans to DJ in outer space.
One of the highlights of the Cream tent on the Sunday evening was Ferry Corsten’s set. The Dutch legend was clearly enjoying working the tent and played a diverse set with some nice surprises thrown in. Recent hits F The Bull$h1t and Armin collaboration Brute went down like a storm. But one of the highlights, not just of his set but indeed the whole festival, was Gouryella, the all-time classic produced by Ferry and Tiesto. Catching up with him after his set, he explained he just “had to” play it, and seemed really happy with how well received it was by the up-for-it crowd. Here’s hoping it continues to make appearances in Ferry’s various Full On events across the world.
Creamfields 2013 had a tough job on its hands given the previous year’s flooding and eventual cancellation, but it exceeded all expectations and has firmly established itself as the best EDM festival in the UK. With plenty of major events across the world, especially in the US, getting bigger and better by the years, it’s tough to stand out, but Creamfields achieved this and can count itself as one of the big-name festivals on the world stage. Early bird tickets for 2014 are already sold out, but even if you live on the other side of the world, if you’re planning to go to one overseas festival next year, you’d be wise to make sure Creamfields 2014 is on your list.