Coming off the high of Escapade Music Festival in Ottawa, I thought it would be fun to check out a larger EDM festival outside my hometown.
There were lots to choose from, but Creamfields in the U.K. had a stellar line-up that year and was relatively close by. A major draw was that Avicii was going to be appearing there – it would be his last festival date before retiring from live performances for health reasons at the age of 26.
Manchester was a fascinating city whose industrial past was visible everywhere.
I had bought passes to the last two days of the four-day festival, when many of the big-name DJs were appearing.
Taking a train from Manchester to Warrington and a shared cab from there, I arrived mid-afternoon at the Creamfields site. Getting into the site was not difficult, but I was surprised to see sniffer dogs being used at the entrance, which I had not seen in Ottawa.
The festival had 10 active stages that day so there were a lot of acts to choose from.
I started off at the Cream stage, in a tent, catching part of the set of the Norwegian DJ Alan Walker. At the age of 19, he was making his first appearance at Creamfields.
Then it was over to the Horizon Stage to see Swedish DJ Otto Knows, who has collaborated with a number of musicians, including Britney Spears. A highlight of his set was “Back Where I Belong,” featuring Avicii.
Back at the Cream stage, I heard French DJ Watermät (Laurent Arriau), with an aurally and visually psychedelic performance that included his hypnotic 2014 hit single “Bullit.”
Meanwhile, there was lots of fun to be had that didn’t involve music, like the mechanical bull ride.
Or hanging around the grotty Creamfields sign.
Or hanging off of the grotty Creamfields sign.
And as usual there were some weird EDM costumes, though not as many as I had expected.
Next I headed to the outdoor Arc stage to hear Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, a Belgian duo composed of brothers Dimitri and Michael Thivaios. They gave one of the most entertaining shows of the festival, never letting the energy drop.
Having missed Avicii in Las Vegas and not being able to go to his final shows in August at the Ushuaïa Ibiza, this was my one chance to see him. He was definitely one of my musical heroes, and I’d even gone so far as to learn and record a piano cover of one of his songs.
The crowd was so large that I ended up being pretty far back, but Avicii was in a fitting godlike position far above the audience. Highlights of the set were his hits Waiting for Love, Wake me Up and Levels.
The audience definitely didn’t want him to go, but the night ended with fireworks before Avicii left the stage.
Who knows if he will ever tour live again, but hopefully he will continue to record and release music.
After making my way with the crowd to the shuttle bus area, I was happy to see there was a bus waiting. Returning to Manchester, there was another party going on (turns out it was Manchester Pride weekend). Instead of joining the fun, I returned to my hotel to rest up for another day at Creamfields.
What: Creamfields music festival
Who: Alan Walker, Otto Knows, Watermät, Robin Schulz, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike and Avicii
Where: Daresbury village in Cheshire, England
When: August 27, 2016
Cost: A Gold ticket for that day cost £173.50.
Danceclubgirl Rating: 9.5