August bank holiday weekend 2022 brought with it the 25th Anniversary of Europe’s leading dance music festival, Creamfields North. Opening its gates to 70,000 fans, the festival welcomed a line-up of the best DJs in the world, featuring jaw-dropping headline sets from: Armin van Buuren, Calvin Harris, Eric Prydz, Camelphat, Carl Cox, David Guetta, Hardwell, MK, Fatboy Slim, Martin Garrix, Nina Kraviz, and Pete Tong.
PRG has a long-established relationship with the festival’s production management team at LarMac LIVE & PROJECTS. The team returned for this anniversary year to provide video, rigging, lighting, automation, and an extensive crew of over 100 technicians to six of this year’s stages, including the mighty Arc, Steel Yard, and Horizon main stages.
PRG’s journey with the festival team began at the design stage, as our Design team provided WYSIWYG and MA3D drawings for the Arc, Horizon, and Steel Yard stages having used Depence² for internal pre-visualisation rendering. These detailed drawings were then used by the incoming festival lighting designers and programmers to previz several headliner’s shows before turning up to site. In the lead up to festival load-in, the PRG Design team also worked closely with the PRG Events Services team to provide technical screen drawings to assist in the design and build of the LED screens across the festival.
On PRG’s tried and tested operation with LarMac LIVE & PROJECTS, Account Manager Ian Jones says, “We have worked with LarMac for several years on Creamfields. This has nurtured a great level of familiarity and trust between our two organisations on the project. All our on-site managers and heads of department understand the different structures and best ways to work the site to allow us to rig efficiently. We have a great team and are delighted with the faith LarMac show in us to deliver as part of their team year in-year out.”
To cover the festival’s video requirements, PRG supplied just under 3000 m² of LED across six stages, including the three main stages, and supplied a camera package for Fatboy Slim’s closing set at the Fatboy Slim Loves… tent on Sunday. At Steel Yard, the team delivered a series of bespoke packages for artists like Martin Garrix and MK, as well as facilitating an additional transparent screen for Eric Prydz’s 3D show HOLO on Friday night.
This extensive video package also included site wide VJ support for the festival. Media Servers and VJs were delivered on 9 stages, where PRG oversaw the management of content download, conversion, and playback for over 100 visiting artists over the 3 days. Control systems were set in place at front-of-house positions to allow seamless changeovers between visiting and house VJs throughout the weekend.
Lighting and Automation
Nearly 2000 fixtures were delivered across the Arc, Steel Yard and Horizon stages at the festival, with 1000 fixtures alone being installed at Steel Yard where PRG helped realise the Eric Prydz creative team’s designs for the venue. This design required an additional automation service, so PRG supplied 36 Movecat hoists throughout the venue, managed by 4 dedicated automation specialists. For Camelphat’s festival closing set at Steel Yard on Sunday evening, PRG delivered an additional rig for the venue which comprised of an 8m diameter circle loaded with magic blades. Throughout the three-day event, each headliner at the Arc stage and Horizon stage received their own bespoke rigs, which were turned around each night by the PRG Lighting crew.
On this mammoth project, Event Services Lighting Head of Department, Luke Jackson notes, “Our ongoing collaborative relationship with Ian Greenway and Matt Smith from LarMac is crucial to our design of this huge lighting package. We work incredibly closely with them to design these headlining stages around headliner requirements. This requires a great deal of flexibility and adaptability, and a level of technical expertise and shorthand to deliver additions and new set requirements on-site even up to, and including, production week. The PRG team are very well prepared to deliver this assurance for the festival’s complex lighting rigs.”
Logistics and Crew
Given the vast scale of the technical production, the logistical challenge is a meticulous undertaking for the PRG team. After prepping in-house at PRG’s Longbridge warehouse, the Creamfields North package was loaded in over the course of a week, managing and scheduling the arrival of equipment with precision. Ian Jones adds, “Creamfields is a massive site and detailed planning is essential to ensure the right kit arrives at the right time. We need the equipment to arrive as the crew are ready for it. If it’s too early it congests the site and we want to avoid the PRG and LarMac team having to wait around, so the key is the ongoing communication between site and operation in Longbridge to pace the deliveries correctly.”
Once on site, the Creamfields North package of 42 trucks of equipment was installed and managed by a quantifiable army of PRG crew. A total of 125 members of crew worked across Video, Lighting, Automation and Rigging on 6 stages and included members of the PRG Event Services team, freelance colleagues, and several students from PRG UK’s education partners: Birmingham City University, The BRIT School, and Rose Bruford College.
On his experience with PRG during this anniversary year, Ian Greenway, Director of LarMac LIVE concluded, “It’s been another summer of fine-tuned and exciting collaboration with the PRG team at Creamfields North and South. After years of working together on the festival, we’re very confident in PRG in their capacity to deliver the expertise, equipment, and dedicated manpower to make our designs a reality on such a vast scale for our artists and festival goers’ year in and year out."