British music festivals are no joke - can our festival n00bs survive three days at Creamfields?
Our authors: Adrian and Marcus living it up at Creamfields.
In some circles, they're taken more seriously than deciding whether to have cereal or toast for breakfast. They're a four day long endurance test, where muddy campers forget their sense of human decency for the sake of being allowed to wear morph suits and strawpedo pear cider in public. A rite of passage, it's an unwritten law that one has to be endured by everyone at least once.
Which is why we thought it was criminal when it transpired that two of our very own members of staff had come more than twenty years of their lives without attending one. Meet Adrian and Marcus, Ministry of Sound's biggest divas. Both festival and camping virgins, their idea of 'roughing it' is non-priority boarding and a twin room at a Holiday Inn.
We took it upon ourselves to throw them in at the deep end by sending them, with nothing but a tent, a camera and their sanity, to Creamfields, one of the biggest and hardest partying festivals in the UK.
Could they make it in the big bad world of weekend camping? Courtesy of Marcus, here's what happened.
Day 1- Friday
So initially me and Adrian were looking to get the train from London Euston but unfortunately that didn’t quite go to plan. We ended up attempting to get the train at 15.07, but apparently 15.00 is peak time coming out of London, which is a load of absolute bullshit. Virgin Trains need to check themselves if you ask me.
When we finally arrived at the campsite (via Milton Keynes, Crewe and Liverpool Lime Street), I literally felt like a really small fish in a really big pond with what felt like a weekly food shop attached to my back. After asking about a million security/car park attendants (anyone in a hi-vis vest really) we eventually found the press office where we got given all our bands - I later realised I’d been given an artist band - clearly I got it because I was the best looking of the group.
Then came the dreaded and unfathomable task of actually having to build a tent. We began to unpack the bag and looked over the instructions, but I immediately gave up and said we should just ask one of the campsite attendants for help. Adrian was adamant for us to do it ourselves. Every bone in my body wanted to have a tantrum and storm off but I knew I need to rise to the challenge. I was a man on a mission from Ministry of Sound, after all. I was about as useful as a blind pilot but Adrian & Jasmin (our photographer) seemed to work it all out and after about an hour (it had turned from night to day) we had our cute new home for the weekend.
By this time the festival only had two hours of music left and we basically spent the first hour or so getting our bearings and finding out where the nearest bars were. We found Jamie Jones in the Paradise tent which was really busy and full of your typical “Deep-House-I-hate-commercial-music-and-wear-Huaraches” lads. But everyone was on good form - well most people - and we stayed until the end to have a little boogie with the other festival goers.
Day 2 – Saturday
After consuming a copious amount of Vodka Redbull and having never slept in a tent before, my body was having absolutely none of it. I must have got about 40 minutes proper sleep that night.
I went on a little stroll around the campsite and smoked to my heart’s content until Jasmin and Adrian finally woke up and we decided to get some food. We wandered around looking for something vaguely healthy for what seemed like forever, before having to finally admit festival food defeat and buying a burger. We then decided it was time to get into the festival spirit, so visited this bodypainting shop Wish Upon A Sparkle, where against all odds I convinced Adrian to get a Sparkle Eye, which basically consists of getting glitter splattered across your face.
We headed to the North Stage and chilled, having a few drinks on the benches to get ourselves in the festival mood (mine was a Vodka Red Bull and Adrian’s was a beer). Me and Adrian decided it would be a great idea to get involved with some typical shuffler house music, and went in and busted a couple of moves. We then went to the Smirnoff Hut which was hosting Mixmag’s lab. Ben Pearce was doing a DISCO set which was unbelievable. The atmosphere was electric in there and everyone was dancing, it was probably one of the best sets of the whole festival for me. There was a double bed in there and everything – it was literally so much fun!
As the sun was shining it was really fitting to hear chilled tropical house, so we headed over to the North Stage to hear sets from Kygo and David Zowie. The day quickly seemed to turn into night and the whole festival seemed to be coming up along with the floodlights. The music became harder and Creamfields really began to kick off. But the highlight of the night - and the whole festival musically - had to be going to see The Chemical Brothers. Their set was insane. They had two robots on the stage and the tunes they were playing were unreal. I really really enjoyed it. The production was incredible and the crowd were going mad. For me it was 100% the set of the weekend.
A non-musical festival highlight had to be hearing a massive CRASH!! and clocking this girl rolling about on the floor hugging one of those rotating sunglasses stands you get in airports and on beachfronts, in what looked like a scene from Free Willy. I’m sure that in her head she was in a game of Crash Bandicoot, but in reality she was more like a Sun, Sex And Suspicious Parents audition tape. It was equally the most confusing and hilarious thing that I saw all weekend.
Day 3 – Sunday
I woke up with the underlying fear of what the hell happened last night?? Who did I see?? What did I do??
But after about 10 minutes of quietly contemplating ending it all, I calmed myself down as I realised that despite all evidence to the contrary I hadn’t totally ruined my life. We headed over to the campsite and searched for something that wasn’t a burger to eat for breakfast. As I gulped down a bacon butty (with some non-Heinz ketchup), it struck me that something felt different from the previous day - almost as if a Walking Dead style filter had been layered over everything in sight. The sun wasn’t shining as bright and the clientele had somewhat deteriorated. The Shoreditch shufflers from yesterday had vanished and the scouse scallywags were taking over.
The music policy was heavily influenced by your headline EDM DJ’s on Sunday which admittedly isn’t my favourite, however I'm not a complete music snob so if something is done well I can fully appreciate it. However whilst queuing for the cash machines I was forced to listen to without a doubt the worst set I have ever heard in my life (and there have been some bad ones, believe me), by a DJ who seemed to love shouting the word 'FUCK' at every possible moment over the mic. But the all-time low of the set had to be when the EDM remix of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (I know, right?) faded into the theme from Super Mario. I mean seriously, how do these people get paid to play this?
The Sunday was a hell of a lot busier than the other days, but amongst all of the craziness we spotted the most bizarre ride I have ever seen in my life – a bucking bronco with a difference. This one had a row of about eight bulls and even its own theme tune, chanting "Stay on the bull / Giddy up / Giddy up". Needless to say we got right on it and it was a pretty hilarious end to our festival - laughing our asses off while holding on for dear life to this mechanical bull. Actually that's kind of what my whole first festival experience felt like...
In the end I was very impressed with Creamfields. It proved to me that Cream is a solid brand that deserves their religious northern following. The vibe was good and the headline talent they had on offer was incredible. All the staff we came across were very pleasant and I would definitely go again. The only thing I would improve on is the food variety. Other than that I’d give them top marks.
Oh, and next year, can you provide someone to make the tent for us?
Photos by Jasmin Bell
Written by Marcus Donnelly
07 Sep 2015