Festival-goers brave the mud in Cambridge to celebrate the fifth annual Strawberries & Creem Festival
I was in attendance as Strawberries & Creem, the up-and-coming independent festival, made its return, bringing its signature line-up of house and R&B, and Noughties throwbacks. Despite a severely muddy site due to heavy rainfall over the days leading up to the festival, revellers’ spirits were not dampened in the slightest and Strawberries & Creem was bigger and better than ever!
With over 10,000 people in attendance, the largest crowd the festival has ever seen, Strawberries & Creem showed exactly why it has been able to expand each year, from its launch five years ago to putting itself and Cambridge on the map as one of the UK’s staple festival listings.
Sharing their views on this growth, festival founders, Chris Jammer and Preye Crooks, commented: “We’ve come so far in a really short space of time and it means so much to us to see such support from the music scene and the city we are based in.” They continued, “we work so hard all year and, despite adverse weather conditions all week proving challenging, we’re overwhelmed with the energy across site from everyone that came down today!”
Having already welcomed big name stars such as T-Pain, Skepta and Wiley, this year’s stacked line-up, featuring the likes of Mahalia and MOBO award winner Stefflon Don, should have come as no surprise. Kevin Lyttle and Sean Kingston provided the festival’s trademark authentic, original and nostalgic feel. Their respective classic hits, ‘Turn Me On’ and ‘Beautiful Girls’, proved singalong favourites amongst the millennial crowd, before Ms Dynamite graced the main stage to deliver a shutdown headline performance featuring a special drum ‘n’ bass rendition of her smash hit, ‘Dy-Na-Mi-Tee’.
Chris and Preye remarked, “five years ago we couldn’t have imagined to be where we are today; MOBO winners and Brit nominees performing on our main stage!”
Chris told me ahead of the festival that there was “a lot to look forward to that isn’t actually on the line-up”. He made good on this promise as the main stage, hosted by Love Island 2018’s Josh Denzel, welcomed a slew of surprise guests, including the likes of Ms Banks and Dappy, to the delight of the fans in attendance.
The energy from the main stage was only rivalled by this year’s Big Top Tent. Artists and DJs, such as WSTRN, Snoochie Shy and Young T & Bugsey provided variety and kept the tent packed out. With the drill acts proving amongst the most popular to take the stage in the tent, I caught up with BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ and Big Top Tent performer, Kenny Allstar, who commented: “The drill scene’s heavy for me and, even though drill gets a lot of negative press, I overlook that because I’ve seen a lot of these guys, young guys, change lives. Man are performing… at least two of the acts that I brought on in Strawberries & Creem, they come from that scene, that era, and look at how many phones were out and how many people were jumping. It just shows how far we’ve come and I’m just hoping that we just keep it going and the industry take it in and people know that we’re here to change lives.”
Year after year, Strawberries & Creem goes from strength to strength, while maintaining its originality and exhibiting variety. Roll on S&C 2020!