After two years away from the hallowed fields of Daresbury, Cheshire, LarMac LIVE delivered the iconic electronic music festival cinch presents Creamfields with a stellar line up of artists including Tiësto, Eric Prydz, Chemical Brothers, Carl Cox and Basement Jaxx.
LarMac LIVE produced Creamfields’ return alongside its familiar technical partners. “It’s like we’ve never been away,” began LarMac LIVE Director, Ian ‘Lar’ Greenway. “We’ve run countless scenarios and drafted numerous budget versions over the last two years, so when the time to get our first acts on stage and deliver finally came, it was really quite special.”
LarMac LIVE’s number one priority for Creamfields 2021 was to get the festival set up in a safe working environment. “We knew there were going to be challenges, but I felt quite strongly that as long as we got the core of what we do right, we should be able to deflect anything that comes our way successfully,” said Greenway.
“Part of our ‘battening-down-the-hatches’ approach was to keep the show as familiar as possible. I wanted to rely on our supply chain like we always have done and allow our usual vendors to start their recovery too.”
Although the stable of suppliers for the festival’s 2021 outing was essentially the same as it was in 2019, what each company did on site depended on the available crew and equipment.
“We are really different from most other UK festivals, in that the production is really essential to the overall shows we deliver,” said Greenway. “We always want to make every show more impactful than the last and this year was no exception. In fact, we didn’t want to be a product of the pandemic… We wanted to come out with a bang, and we really felt we achieved that.”
Given that Creamfields took place relatively late in this year’s truncated festival season – over the UK’s August Bank Holiday – all of the obligatory COVID-19-related processes were already firmly in place.
“The main challenge for us was the wider operation,” said Greenway. “What we do is pretty well-rehearsed now, but the variables that the event teams were having to face were much more numerous. Huge COVID protocols affected how staff interacted and moved on-site, while nationwide toilet shortages and security supply issues caused their own problems. Thankfully, there’s always a big team attitude at Creamfields and that really helped everyone get through some quite monumental hurdles together.”
As well as overcoming these challenges, this year’s Creamfields was able to achieve what would have been unthinkable only a few months earlier; to exceed the expectations of its loyal fans yet again.
“You only had to spend an hour on site to see how happy everyone was to be back at it,” said Greenway. “It was a reminder of what can be achieved with a positive attitude and a great team. The last 18 months have really been a reset for us all, which of course has its negatives but there’s some positives in there too. I think everyone has realised that and, as a result, they’ve enjoyed coming back to work that little bit more.”
While 2022 is set to see Creamfields back once again, this time it will be preceded by an early summer ‘sibling’ event at Chelmsford’s Hylands Park. “It’s early days, but it sounds like it will be on par with what we’ve done in Daresbury over the last few years,” concluded Greenway. “Huge productions, brand new venue concepts, and a show that will make the audience want to go to Creamfields twice a year. We’re really excited about it, and kudos to the team at Cream for coming back so hard at the pandemic!”