The last weekend in August is a holiday in the UK, and for fans of dance music, it can mean only one thing. Now in its 17th year, Creamfields 2014 was the biggest yet, with a sold-out crowd of over 70,000 people flocking to the Cheshire countryside for three days of the biggest dance music lineup in the UK.
After the success of the two silent disco arenas last year, events were expanded for Friday this year, with two additional “non-silent” arenas. After stellar performances from the likes of Bassjackers, Firebeatz and Sander van Doorn, the roof nearly came off the Cream arena as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike teamed up with Steve Aoki for the first UK appearance of their 3 Are Legend supergroup. It was a welcome start to the weekend, and an exciting taste of things to come.
Saturday saw the two main stages kick into action, with both the North and South stages sporting an identical look this year, with massive screens and insane production values. The record-breaking crowd weren’t put off by the typical British weather, with Martin Garrix kicking things up a gear on the North Stage as an early evening shower crossed the site. Despite being known for his hits, he still knows how to keep things interesting, with plenty of unknown tracks on offer along with a wealth of mashups. The best of Saturday was saved until last, as Avicii headlined the South Stage, his set packed with both his own classics and recent mainstream hits such as Coldplay’s A Sky Full Of Stars and Rihanna’s Diamonds. Meanwhile on the North Stage, deadmau5 was closing out the night with a highly-anticipated set that mesmerized the capacity crowd and included classics such as Ghosts n Stuff and tracks like Avaritia from his recent album while(1<2).
Elsewhere a wealth of tents offered everything from house to trance to drum & bass. Highlights included the Creamfields debut of the A State Of Trance arena, with appearances from Orjan Nilsen–who was clearly bowled over by the response to his set–Andrew Rayel, Cosmic Gate, and of course, Armin van Buuren himself. The latter proved popular across the whole weekend, with his recent track Ping Pong a firm favorite, with many appearances across both mainstages and several arenas.
House–deep house in particular–was the order of the day across the festival this year, with highlights including Route 94 in Annie Mac’s Presents arena, Sasha in Pete Tong’s All Gone Pete Tong arena, and Eric Prydz hosting his own Pryda tent. The big room end of the spectrum was also well catered for with the Revealed crew hosting their own arena, featuring the likes of W&W, Dannic, Dyro and label head Hardwell. The latter was making his first of two appearances of the weekend on Saturday, but it was perhaps his most energetic, with the tent nearly exploding at the seams for his late afternoon set.
If Creamfields had ended there, it would have still been the stand-out festival of the summer, but as Sunday dawned it became clear the best was yet to come. Heading up the North Stage was Fatboy Slim, the big-beat legend kicking things along nicely with plenty of acapellas of his own tracks over some more modern house tracks. There was an old-school DJ vibe at play too–he even got the air horns out at one point! After the sun went down, Calvin Harris hit the stage, with the R3hab and Ummet Ozcan remix of his recent smash Summer rounding off the weekend as the enormous fireworks display burst into life. Over on South Stage, there was some disappointment as original headliner Tiesto had to cancel due to travel issues, but the solution turned out to be inspired. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike were bumped up to the lead slot, and it was a major coup for the festival, with an astounding crowd response. There was plenty of champagne and pyro, and the energy turned out the be the perfect ending to the festival, with even more enormous fireworks.
Elsewhere on the Sunday, the Mixmag arena had a distinctly Anjunabeats flavor, opened by Andrew Bayer and closed by Above & Beyond, the latter packing the tent to capacity, complete with sing-alongs of Alchemy, Satellite, and Sticky Fingers. The Departures tent was bouncing all day, with stand-out sets from Oliver Heldens, Dirty South, and of course, a headline set from Axwell & Ingrosso themselves. The Cream tent hosted a distinctly trance offering with Paul van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold and Ferry Corsten offering up a mix of new and classic tunes–Ferry’s Punk making a very welcome appearance complete with a “sing-along” of the melody–while over in the SuperYou&Me tent, Laidback Luke tore the roof off, despite nearly being upstaged by the relentlessly energetic Blasterjaxx.
As dance music continues it’s growth around the world and many DJ’s look to fresh and uptapped pastures, it’s very refreshing to see the cream of the world’s dance music talent all gathering in a field in the North of England. The overall feeling from the DJs to the campsites was that Creamfields 2014 was the best yet, and with early-bird tickets for next year sold out already, it looks set to remain as a landmark on the global dance music circuit for a long time to come.
In addition to the sets available as audio above, check out some of the set videos available below, with plenty more still on the way!