Recently I returned to Creamfields dance music festival in Daresbury, UK for a third year. In 2010 I went as a customer with my friend Ian, attending last year and this year working for an event contractor. This year I was pretty delighted to get an AAA Production wristband, however sadly none of the other 38 people who I'd brought along to work with me had one, including my girlfriend, so I couldn't make as much use of it as I would have liked!
We were fairly baffled as to why we were given a Challenge 21 wristband, which is offered so that you don't get asked for ID to prove you are over the age of 18 every time you go to the bar. Great idea, except you have to be 18 to get into the festival, so surely the actual festival wristband should be all that is required to prove your age? It was orange and sparkly though, which the girls seemed to love!
Above is a small group of the large crowd of us who went along - I'm fourth from the left. We had an absolutely incredibly enjoyable day and night on the Saturday and partied til the bitter end of the night at around 4am. Highlights of the evening include spectacular sets by Crookers and Major Lazor, both of whom I was really excited about seeing, as I'm a big fan of the record label Mad Decent. Being the fan boy that I am, I have nearly a dozen Mad Decent t-shirts - they're such good quality and the designs are great. You can check out a great Crookers Megamix here:
As you may be aware, on Sunday the festival management were forced to cancel the remainder of the event, due to heavy rain and horrendous flooding on site. See photos below [taken from the Creamfields Facebook page] for an idea of the damage that was caused by two weeks of rain falling overnight on Saturday! I walked back to my tent in that rain in the early hours of Sunday morning, and was so wet by the time I got back [despite wearing a proper waterproof jacket], I may as well have been sat in the bath fully clothed.
Unlike many festivalgoers who have aired their [often explicit] opinions on the Creamfields Facebook page, I am very supportive of the festival management team for taking the difficult and sensible decision of cancelling the festival. Having done so will have almost certainly avoided serious injury or death. Reports suggest that flooding had caused king poles in the large tents in the arena to subside, crowd barriers at the front of stages to move and many areas of the arena and site knee deep in mud and water. I wasn't too sure how refunds would be dealt with [not that I had paid for a ticket]; I thought they may have pointed at a clause in the ticket disclaimer that would say something along the lines of refunds not being given for force majeure. I was pleased to spot that refunds offered were very generous, as detailed below.
Having followed the ongoing press releases from Creamfields, I was very impressed by the way they handled the situation. Inevitably many people are going to be angry that the festival was cancelled, however the weather has been horrendous all summer, with most outdoor events I've been to being affected by the weather. For me this includes a washed out Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, Grillstock, Wychwood and the Royal International Air Tattoo to name a few. I'm sure many of you will have heard about the problems at Isle of Wight Festival this year, which I wasn't involved in. Click here for a news story with more info.
A lot of peoples' gripe seemed to be that they didn't think the organisers had done enough to prevent flooding and problems associated with heavy rainfall. How do these people know whether or not a lot of time and money had already been invested in putting extra drainage etc into the site? I'm no expert, but I'm sure it's not easy to plan for two weeks rainfall in one night.
Despite the early finish, I had another brilliant weekend at Creamfields and I hope to return next year.