Technical production specialist Adlib supplied lighting for two arenas at Creamfields 2019 – one of the best-known and most popular dance extravaganzas worldwide – and audio to four arenas, plus lighting and sound for the hospitality zone.
Adlib was delighted – as always – to be involved with Cream, a brand that has defined the energy and vibrance of Liverpool’s dance scene since emerging in the 1990s.
Now world-famous, Creamfields attracts 70,000 dance fans each day for three days with a star-studded DJ line-up representing the diversity of dance culture and sounds and some of the best production values on the planet!
Merseyside-based Adlib worked directly for creative production specialist LarMac LIVE and their team led by Ian Greenway.
The audio team proposed a creative ‘end-fire’ sub-bass system design as a solution to keep the extensive low-end content well-contained and to within the boundaries of each respective stage.
The logistics and planning of the lighting side of this highly detailed project were coordinated and project managed by Adlib’s Jordan Willis. The designs for arenas CF07 and CF09, for which Adlib supplied the full lighting packages, were created by Ian Tomlinson from High Scream.
Ian worked for Adlib for many years and has designed for some of the highest-profile dance and electronic artists including the Swedish House Mafia and Axwell & Ingrosso.
A curved layered structure clad with LED video panels set the aesthetic tone, making a complete curve but with some strategic gaps left in between the LED where lighting could be secured to the scaffolding superstructure.
Adlib added 20 x Martin MAC Aura XB LED wash moving lights, 20 x Claypaky Axcor Beam 300s, 60 x Chauvet COLORdash PARS and 12 x CP Stormy LED strobes for blasts and accents. All of these were attached to the structure to keep the stage completely clean and clear.
Control was a grandMA light and Adlib’s techs were Dave Smith and Ash Dawson, also both operating, supported by technician Peter Lea.
This lighting design was based around a combination of flown elements and a substantial ground support over the stage, installed by Prism.
Four raked finger trusses provided ‘roof cover’ for lighting above the stage and DJ booth, lower at the back and higher at the front. These were rigged with 24 x Claypaky Mythos moving lights, 20 x Ayrton MagicBlades and four Martin MAC Viper profiles for key lighting.
The rest of the main stage / audience lighting positions were created with eight angled tower trusses – four on each of the stage wings – each loaded with 10 x MAC Aura XBs and 5 x JDC1 LED strobes – totalling 80 and 40 each of these fixtures respectively.
The angled wings and raked over-stage trusses created a great sense of depth and an interesting perspective, adding to some amazing atmosphere, dynamics and superlative music.
On the stage five MAC Quantum Wash moving lights dramatically back lit the DJs.
Control was a grandMA3 full size running with a grandMA light for backup, and this area was operated and coordinated on the ground for Adlib by Tom Webber and Paul Abdullah.
For lighting, this area was a bit of a brain-teaser!
The tented architecture was created using three conjoined saddlespan stages, from which the Adlib team flew an 8-metre diameter circular truss to provide all the key lighting positions.
On this were 12 x Chauvet NXT-1 LED matrix moving lights, combined with twelve frosted colour-changing Showtec LED cubes hung on catenaries mimicking the room’s décor and furniture design.
These were joined onstage by 16 x CP Axcor Spot 300s and 20 x Chauvet COLORdash PARs deployed on four vertical trussing towers on the stage deck.
Twenty-four CORE ColourPoint CP20s battery-powered wireless LEDS uplighters were dotted around the Saddlespan ceilings and ensconced in the trees for ambient lighting.
The exterior buffet / eating area was lit with a collection of different coloured 400W HQI floods scattered around.
All the hospitality lighting was controlled via an Avolites Tiger Touch II console operated by Oli Gorman and Harry Holme.
Adlib’s audio project manager was Jay Petch, and their crew chief was Billy Bryson who was also responsible for the system designs and implementation of the end-fire setup.
This was suggested during pre-festival discussions as an effective and imaginative way to control the omnipresent low frequency ambience through smart sub deployment, giving the sound engineers greater control over dispersion patterns.
Each of the arena sub arrays was customised for its particular room and the specific sonic characteristics. All the related stage designs allowed enough space for the philosophy to be effective, so pit barriers, stage heights and depths, etc., were all adjusted to accommodate the sub array set ups.
For audio, the arenas serviced were CF05 (Pepsi Max), CF06 (Sexy by Nature), CF07 (Axtone), CF09 (The Silo) plus hospitality.
AKA The Pepsi MAX Arena, this large tent featured the sounds of Paul van Dyk, Sander van Dorn, Will Atkinson and many more, which were enjoyed by music fans through a CODA sound system, comprising six AiRAY boxes per side, each of these stacked on top of four SC2 subs.
On the ground along the front of the stage were another 12 x SCP subs arrayed in six stacks of two in the ‘end-fire’ configuration to help keep as much bottom end on the site and minimise spillage.
FOH & monitor control for CF05 was a DiGiCo SD11, and Adlib’s crew were James Claridge and Matt Gadsby.
Ensuring the Adlib sound was perfect in this arena was Hassane Es Siahi at FOH and Steven Selby on monitors.
The large tented space offered flying facilities and the chosen PA chosen was an L-Acoustics K2, with 12 x K2 elements for the main left-and-right hangs working in conjunction with two flown delay arrays further down the tent with four K2s in each.
The delays provided more efficient coverage across the large space and assisted with the level control, so that the main system didn’t have to be driven so hard.
On the ground, 20 x L-Acoustics KS28 subs were rigged in 10 stacks of two in an end-fire array.
A selection of fills ensured the front edges of the barrier were properly covered with four ARCS per side, and four Karas did the front fill, plus six Kara each side as ground-stacked outfills.
The desk was a DiGiCo S21 running with a DiGiCo D2 stage rack, which sounded fantastic!
This 4-king-pole tent was ideal for a flown audio rig, which comprised 12 x CODA AiRAY a side each with two ViRAY down at the bottom of each hang. In this rig, Billy Bryson was able to fly two sub arrays each consisting of 8 x SC2s directly behind the main two PA hangs for greater low-end steering.
On the floor were 20 x SCP subs set up in 10 stacks of two, again in the specified end-fire configuration. Coda APS & ViRAY were deployed as infill and outfill.
The FOH console was a DiGiCo S21 fed by a D2 rack, and for monitors there was an A&H SQ-6 running via an A&H dLive DX32 Expander stage rack.
Several of Adlib’s own MP5 wedges were available for guest vocalists, powered by Linea Research 44M20 amps; which has proved a perfect combination. Sennheiser 5000 series radio microphones were also available for vocalists appearing throughout the event.
The audio team in here were Billy Bryson who looked after FOH (as well as his overall Adlib audio crew chief role) and Stu Watson doing monitors assisted by Aaron Rutherford.
Silo, which made its Creamfields debut in 2018, is a coliseum-style cylindrical chamber with a 30-metre dancefloor in the middle and towering viewing platforms – club style – on a second raised level.
Complete with a 360 degree ‘wall’ of sound, this was created to give festival-goers an ultimate 360-degree sensory experience, evoking the spirit of the ‘underground’ with a slick production presentation.
The DJ booth was also positioned on the first floor along with the audio and lighting control positions and four main speaker locations, so some lateral thinking was required for the sound design.
Four stacks of CODA ViRAY each with an SC2 sub at the bottom were chosen as the main arrays, all ‘ground stacked’ on the upper level. Four stacks of three SCP subs were carefully positioned on the lower level in pre-planned clearings in the scaffold structure.
To cover the gallery areas open to the public, CODA HOPS speakers were rigged on vertical mounting brackets.
This system was run via a Midas PRO2 console with a Midas DL251 stage box. A pair of Adlib MP5 wedges and a selection of Shure UR2 hand-held mics were on hand for guest vocalists.
The challenge in the Silo was in the PA stacks being so far apart and the upper levels being partially open to the public, all of which required more attention to detail with cabling and keeping it neat and out of reach.
James Brennan and Joe Meekums ensured everything ran smoothly each day.
The audio get in was staggered over three days.
The first and most complex stages loaded in on the Tuesday and were rigged first, with a second batch built on Wednesday & Thursday, followed by propagation tests. The public activities kicked off on the Thursday evening, primarily with silent discos, and the full live action started on the Friday.
The key design for this venue was to provide a sound system appropriate for the chilled vibes.
This included two ground stacks of four CODA AiRAYs left and right of the stage, stacked on top of three SC2 subs per side, with Adlib MP5 wedges for monitors with an A&H SQ-5 for control, all overseen on site by Leon Worthington.
In a breakout area, two stacks of K-Array KR202 were stacked on Kobra 18’ subs, creating a very effective and discrete delay system to relay the DJ sounds from the main room to the catering areas of the tent.
The challenge – as always with Creamfields – was delivering high production values on a greenfield site in a relatively short timeframe … at the mercy of the weather!
While Jordan, Jay and many of their talented and knowledgeable crews have been involved with this event for several years, the expectations are consistently raised year on year by the event’s organisers to ensure that Creamfields offers the best sonic and visual festival experiences to all its fans.
Main Image: CF06 by Jack Kimber