The beautiful, picturesque city of Cambridge is an unlikely location for a festival with a lineup boasting some of the best talent in grime, dancehall, garage and dance music. Since 2014, Strawberries and Creem has been going from strength to strength and this year its organisers put on a show that they can be proud of.
Created by a group of local students, Strawberries and Creem has previously been described as ‘a mainstay of the underground festival circuit’. The average age of the organising team is a tender 22-years old. In 2014, their first event attracted around 800-1000 people. In its second year, they managed to snag a landmark guest securing Skepta on the bill.
On one of the hottest day’s of the year so far, despite taking place in the remote location of Haggis Farm, the festival attracted a diverse crowd where many had travelled into Cambridge from the likes of Birmingham and London as well as the local city. The festival was certainly one mammoth party from start to finish.
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With three stages, there was plenty of choice on offer. Sets from Star.One and DJ Jamz Supernova helped to get things heated up on the main stage earlier in the day. With equally as impressive talent on their other stages, choosing which artists and DJs to enjoy was a difficult choice. For the old school garage heads, Artful Dodger were on the decks in The Forge to provide some throwback entertainment which produced some significantly sweaty moshpits. So Solid Crew, consisting of Lisa Maafia and Romeo also made a well-received appearance later into the day on the main stage.
Strawberries and Creem was a perfect treat for grime fans with AJ Tracey gracing the main stage with staples such as ‘Spirit Bomb’ and ‘Packages’. Across the farm grime’s go-to voice, and funky house veteran Donaeo’ was present to perform some of his biggest bangers including ‘Party Hard’. Logan Sama and Sir Spryo were also on the line up to provide some trusted tunes for the grime lovers, which undoubtedly attracted crowds overflowing the tent.
The dancehall and bashment vibes were in full force when The Heatwave later took over. Taking festival go-ers to the Caribbean through throwbacks with ‘Hot Wuk’, ‘Dutty Wine’, they invited a few lucky ladies on stage to show us all how it’s done. Their set ended with the classic ‘Palance’.
A key selling point of the festival had to be the inclusion of one of the most-wanted men in music at the moment, J Hus. With a testament to how popular his debut album, ‘Common Sense’ is at the moment, the audience were well acquainted with many of his “non-single” tracks such as ‘Clartin’. The East London native also added in a couple of his older songs such as ‘Dem Boy Paigon’ and ‘Lean and Bop’.
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The festival did well to include a well-balanced mixture of acts from different eras. Shaggy was certainly one of the artists that stuck out on the bill. Unquestionably a reggae-fusion legend, the singer definitely added in a grain of “commercial” whilst exhuming great vibes to accompany the transition into the late evening. He performed some new material as well as his most popular songs such as ‘Boombastic’, ‘Angel’ and of course ‘It Wasn’t Me’.
Ending the night on a high and dressed in white head to toe, Wiley was the final artists to take the stage. Performing songs from his vast discography which spans over 15 years, he demanded every ounce of energy from those still standing with tracks such as ‘Heatwave’, ‘Wearing My Rolex’ and ‘Can’t Go Wrong’.
With a line up luring in grime, dancehall, garage and dance fans alike, Strawberries and Creem proved that they seem to be cracking the formula. Getting it right musically is not the only appeal for the festival; the simplicity of the event allows it show its authenticity and guarantees that if you are after great music and a good time, then it’s hard to go wrong with Strawberries and Creem.
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Words: Nikita Rathod