Sarah Ferguson | December 18, 2013
Thousands of dance music fans flooded the du Arena on Yas Island last weekend at Creamfields Abu Dhabi for what was the event’s best line-up to date. With big-name international acts Above & Beyond, Disclosure, Calvin Harris and The Prodigy plus a slew of regional talent including the Dubai-based Hollaphonic and the Beirut DJ Ahmed Ajam, the organisers Flash Entertainement ensured there was something to suit everyone’s age and taste. And the festival was not just about the music; it seems people love to dress up. Along with the usual glow sticks, oversized glowing glasses and crazy hats and wigs, we also spotted a guy wearing a horse’s head, another in a monkey head, an elaborate, homemade robot suit, Darth Vader and Mario, to name but a few.
Creamfields festivalgoers take their music seriously and it seemed that despite the best efforts of the organisers, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. While the vast majority of the arena went wild for Calvin Harris, he elicited a few sneers from some of the more mature members of the audience for his commercial brand of mainstream dance-pop hits. Radio-friendly he may be, but the DJ from the Scottish Borders is obviously doing something right, having been recently named by Forbes as the world’s highest-earning DJ. Harris’s fans, though, were treated to a powerful live set including his hit collaborations with the likes of Rihanna (We Found Love), Ellie Goulding (I Need Your Love) and Kelis (Bounce) plus current chart hits not his own, such as Martin Garrick’s Animals.
If some of the more mature crowd dismissed Harris, it was left to the night’s headliners The Prodigy to bring them back. And they did just that. Kicking off with their 1994 break-beat-heavy EP Voodoo People, Keith Flint and co got the old-school ravers on their feet pogo-ing around the arena to a 20-track setlist that included Breathe, Firestarter, Spitfast, Omen and finally concluding at almost 3am with an amazing performance of Out of Space. The Prodigy’s live set was quite simply awesome, so it was sad to see a number of the audience – particularly the more youthful members – start to drift towards the exits when they came on stage at 1.30am, apparently dismissing the dance pioneers and veterans as past it, or just not knowing who they were. For those who stayed, however, it was a night to remember and, for many, a big tick off of their bucket lists