Lee M Kelsall on 3/5/12
British DJ Lee M Kelsall has been building a solid reputation around the world with his creamy blend of balearic disco, house and funk through his sets and his original productions on Jamie Jones & Lee Foss' Hot Waves label. The DJ has been residing and rocking clubs in Australia for the summer, and Pulse took the opportunity to send him off to the Sydney leg of the national Creamfields tour. Here's what Lee came back with...
I've been lucky enough to DJ at Creamfield's in the UK for the past 2 years and know how much money, time and effort goes into that monster of an event, so when I originally seen the Sydney line-up and the lack of artists, especially in the house/tech genres, I knew I had to go into the festival not as an artist but as a first time festival goer to ensure this review was not biased in anyway. So here I go!
We (me and a pal) arrived at the festival mid-afternoon expecting there to be a long queues to enter the site, we were really pleased with an organized and swiftly processed line which was dealt with in under five minutes...even with the heavy police and dog presence (do police have nothing better to do?). Quick entry; always a great way to start the day!
Creamfield's let us know beforehand no cash machines on site so we were pre-prepared, our first stop was to get hold of some drink tokens – this in hindsight was one of the major errors from the organisers on the day. The drinks were quite pricey averaging about $11 per drink (wowza!), but the tokens could only be bought in tickets worth $30 so after two drinks you were left with money on tokens and another trip to buy more. This was most definitely a big negative of the day – the event organizers should of either charged $10 per drink or given out $33 tokens to make it easier for people. A lot of people were complaining about this throughout the day and many people felt the promoters were ripping people off as they lost money on wasted vouchers. The lines for the bars and toilets were good throughout the day (this could be down to only 11k turning up) and there were plenty on site for everyone to use. They were kept clean and well organized throughout the festival too.
The actual site itself was set up well although it didn’t take into account Sydneys predictable awful weather – there were really strong winds on the day and not enough areas that were covered or enclosed for the amount of people at the event. This causes some pretty serious issues with crowd control. The staff weren’t able to handle the amount of people moving around and a great deal of time was spent as the festival missing out on the acts and queuing for sometimes up to an hour to get into stages. This is most definitely my biggest complaint and many people mentioned that the use of the bigger pavilion would of made more sense for the arena. So many people were in the arena just to stay warm which deflected away from the atmosphere and kept fans of the djs playing waiting outside in the cold in queues.
The main stage was great, although the sound system was really bad in places and the lack of big screens meant you had to fight your way to the front to get a good view or in the case of this guy climb the scaffolding to get a better view - bet he regretted this in the morning.
But the stage itself was great and the lighting was used to great effect for the headline acts. Above and Beyond played a great set driving sounds and beats that should of really got the crowd going, unfortunately the major sound issues seemed to happen when they played so it really ruined the atmosphere for their set. Dirty South was back to doing what he does best and played some awesome tracks and once the sound issues were sorted really got the crowd dancing. David Guetta played a crowd pleasing set and although a little too commercial for my tastes the audience seemed to go crazy for it and most the crowd was singing along.
Even with the problems to one side the thing that really stood out for me at the festival was the indoor arena, the line up was uplifting from start to finish and the DJ’s really brought the crowd on a journey, stand out sets from Tritonal and W&W – driving beats, melodic breakdowns and many tracks reminding me of why trance still holds a big presence into todays clubbing scene. I'm really glad we managed to get through the crowd control and queues to make it back from the main stage for the end of Giuseppe Ottaviani’s performance as that was a stand performance and the crowd and the atmosphere was worth it for those who stayed to the end. The music in this arena really stood out and the dj’s should be proud of delivering such fantastic sets in light of the challenges people had getting into the arena. It was worth the wait.
To conclude, this festival needs to think about some minor improvements that will make a big difference to the audience:
1)The token scheme (stop making if difficult to spend cash - you will end up frightening clubbers from returning next year)
2)The types of indoor / outdoor arenas and crowd control needs to be reviewed, many people will say it was badly organized but sometimes you just cannot predict what will happen.
3) Bring in some known House/Tech DJs to cater for everyone (Don't put all your eggs in one basket)
Although it is unlikely Creamfields Australia will ever achieve the 60,000 crazy clubbers that pass through the festival in the UK each year with a few tweaks I think Creamfield's Australia can have a credible place on the Australian clubbing map and be a great younger sibling to the big festival in the UK.
This is Lee M Kelsall over and out!
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