Are you a blood and guts, wellied-up festival head or a blissed-out Balearic beat seeker?
Does a Great British summer mean raving in the rain or jet setting to the sun to see your favourite DJs mash it up?
Feel Summer headed to two of dance music’s biggest events to see who raves it up best – Creamfields or Cream Mallorca.
In case you have just landed from another planet, Creamfields is one of the most stellar dance festivals in the known universe. The founders of Cream wanted to take the Cream experience outdoors and so 16 years ago Creamfields was born. Fast-forward to Summer 2014 and the festival has become a behemoth – boasting the biggest names and acts in electronic music.
Attracting a record-breaking 70,000 dance music disciples to the fields of Daresbury, Creamfields is a three-day orgy of madness, music and mud the likes of which the world has never seen.
Cream Mallorca was another evolution in the world-famous Cream experience. What started at Liverpool’s Nation nightclub in 1992, washed over the sun-drenched Balearic Isles like a euphoric wave.
It was the hot summer of 96’ when Cream’s long-standing residency on the island of Mallorca began.
There could only be one home for the iconic dance brand – BCM Planet Dance which remains one of the world’s biggest superclubs.
Nearly 20 years on and it still attracts thousands of holiday ravers and top DJs from around the globe to the now-legendary nights.
Imagine a huge carnival city of dance music, laser lights and fairground rides and you are somewhere close. The fields in the Cheshire countryside are transformed into planet Cream for a magical three days of big top tents and even bigger tunes.
It is just over the other side of the River Mersey from where it all began, but you could be a million miles away from anywhere. There is something liberating about thousands of people raving underneath the stars at the spectacular open-air main stage. Who needs a club when you have got a soundsystem and a field? Outdoors is the new indoors. The fateful festival of 2012 was shut down by rain and floods – but Creamfields and its Daresbury home has come back bigger, better and stronger.
Cream Mallorca couldn’t be more different than the Creamfields experience. For starters it has four walls and a roof – and not a puddle of mud in sight. It remains one of the world’s biggest and best superclubs – a Mecca for anyone with a bleeding heart for bass music. The club boasts a mega soundsystem to match this monstrous reputation – Deadmau5 recently tweeted “BCM is easily the loudest club I have ever been to J I had fun! With ear plugs in.” Walking up those hallowed steps and into the cathedral-like club, you feel like you have arrived somewhere truly special. To paraphrase the immortal words of Faithless, if God was a DJ this would be his church.
What can you say about Creamfields? Just looking at the 2014 bill is every electronic music lover’s wet dream. More than 200 acts on 10 stages in the space of 72 hours is just mind-boggling if not a total musical overload.
Ravers gorging on an all-you-can eat buffet of beats – with cutting edge stuff from Martin Garrix and Hardwell, Fatboy Slim and Sasha for the sentimentalists and megastars Avicii and Deadmau5 playing huge headline sets.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday were stacked with talent from Duke Dumont and Gorgon City to Booka Shade and Calvin Harris. More music than you can shake a glow stick at. The hardest part is figuring out who to see.
Where Creamfields is a chance to indulge your ears with myriad dance music genres, DJs, styles and sets, Cream Mallorca is very much your classic club experience.
Forget all-you-can-eat, this is fine dining at dance music’s top table. Big names are topping the bill night after night – from Steve Angello to Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. Where Creamfields festival dreams up a kaleidoscopic mix of music, BCM’s big Cream night has a one track mind.
The whole night is built around one headline DJ. Thousands of people have come out to see one set. The crowd are as one – countless arms aloft in the air directed at the DJ who takes centre stage. This is the apotheosis of clubbing as it has been for three decades.
The vibe is that mystical “x-factor” that comes from the reaction between people and place. And boy does Creamfields know how to create a vibe. The nature of electronic dance music brings people alive with passion, energy and emotion – and Creamfields takes this to another level. The connection between the crowd and the music inside this space is euphoric. But while you can get the best DJs, light shows and attractions money can buy – it is ultimately the people that make the vibe. Creamfields sees people travel from all over the country – and indeed the world – to be a part of it. You get old school ravers from back in the day side by side with kids from the continent and festival first-timers immersed together in the music.
While Creamfields is all mudslinging and raving in the rain, Cream Mallorca is the essence of the summer rave.
Clubbers are hundreds of miles away from slate-grey British skies and the drudgery of work. Cheap booze is flowing, sweat glistening on sun-kissed skin and that iconic Baleric beat pounds the soundtrack to a carefree summer.
Crowds flooding the dancefloor at BCM are there to escape life and run wild – it is full of a wide-eyed youthful energy. It is this vibe that has kept people coming back for more for the best part of two decades. It is an atmosphere you will have never experienced before unless you have graced the island.
THE CLUBBING EXPERIENCE
Cream has built something magnificent in Creamfields these past 16 years.
Just when you think the experience can’t get any better, then 2014 comes along and smashes all expectations.
It speaks volumes that people had come from across the globe to experience Cream in its most raw, unadulterated and visceral form. Some were being newly baptised in the cult of Cream but many were lifers and some still coming after being bitten by the bug back at Nation in ’92.
The British drizzle and swamp condition seemed to be inconsequential. People re ditching their flip flops and foreign holidays for wellies and waterproofs in their droves
The amazing people, the DJs, the stunning fireworks and pyrotechnics, the spectacular main stage and the weight of history all feed into the experience.
But Creamfields is bigger than the sum of its parts. It is more than a festival. In an age of mass atheism it is the closest thing to religion you will find.
If dance music lasts 1,000 years, you know Creamfields will be right there at the very heart of the movement still.
If Creamfields is the ultimate dance music festival, then the same could be said for Cream Mallorca in terms of clubbing experience.
In the same way that Creamfields has created an all-enveloping festival experience, Cream has come to define everything that it means to party on holiday.
The sun, sea and sand are already in place – but the Cream does the rest.
Creamfields can be frenetic with so much going on but Cream Mallorca has an intensity you only get from a big stage club event.
Clubbers are right there at the heart of the action with the DJ booth towering overhead.
You haven’t been clubbing unless you have graced the dancefloor at Cream BCM.