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Liverpool Icons: How Cream put Liverpool on the International dance music map

1 year ago

Liverpool Icons: How Cream put Liverpool on the International dance music map
Credit: Cream

From humble beginnings at Nation on Wolstenhome Square to festivals and sell-out events across the globe. 

This is the story of Liverpool Icon, Cream and its journey from a weekly club night in Liverpool to an international dance music behemoth. 

October 2022 marked 30 years since the first Cream night in Liverpool. And what a 30-years it’s been. 

Founded by James Barton, Andy Carroll and Darren Hughes, Cream started as a way to put Liverpool on the dance music map. It would quickly become one of the genre’s biggest names, with a legacy that continues today. 

Cream
Credit: Anthony Mooney/ Cream

After an underwhelming start in its annexed room at Nation, Cream nights soon took hold of the collective imagination. Before long, thousands of clubbers descended on the city each week to get a taste of Cream, with some hardcore ravers making their way from the states to throw shapes at the venue. 

This was the 90s, the decade of the superstar DJ. A time when it became less about the scene and more about the person spinning the tunes. In this sense, Cream certainly gave the people what they wanted. The likes of Pete Tong, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox and countless other top names made their Liverpool pilgrimage to play tunes for an adoring crowd. 

Such was the draw of Cream that pop legend Kylie Minogue performed at the club’s second birthday in 1994. 

It was this draw which made Cream more than just music. It was becoming a brand, with its iconic propeller logo being sported on t-shirts and jackets. Some superfans went as far as tattooing the logo on their bodies. 

Cream was a place to escape and meet like-minded people. A place where glow sticks and gear mixed seamlessly with designer threads and fancy dress. 

By this time, Cream, now firmly established in the main room of Nation, was dominating the dance scene, with nights being hosted across the globe. 

Cream
Credit: Anthony Mooney/ Cream

The brand had become a juggernaut, setting up residency in Ibiza superclub, Amnesia. Still going strong to this day, it’s now one of the longest-running club nights on the island. 

Whilst Cream reigned supreme on the dance scene, its time at Nation ended in 2002 when the building was demolished as part of an urban regeneration initiative. 

Although the venue is no more, the legacy of Cream lives on through worldwide festivals and events, including the much-celebrated Creamfields. 

Creamfields

Cream

It was at the peak of Cream’s power in 1998 that Creamfields was introduced. Now widely recognised as THE dance music festival in the UK, the inaugural event was not held in Liverpool but at Winchester Bowl in Hampshire. With a star-studded line-up including Run DMC, the first-ever Creamfields was a roaring success. 

The following year, the festival moved to its home town, taking up annual residence at Speke airport until the site was abandoned in 2006. 

Now a four-day event, hosted at Daresbury Park in Cheshire and catering for up to 280,000 people, the event has won Best Dance Event at the UK Festival Awards a record six times. 

And it’s no wonder. The likes of Swedish House Mafia, Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, Judge Jules, Faithless, Underworld, The Prodigy, Mark Ronson, Tiesto, Avicii and countless other megastars have all headlined over the years, making the festival a bucket-list must for dance monkeys. 

Creamfields has spawned other iconic events too. For example, 2016 saw the introduction of the Steel Yard stage, which has since become a mini festival in its own right. Hosted in a purpose build rave structure with 10,000 clubbers, the Steel Yard is the first and largest event of its kind in Europe. 

In 2022, it was announced that Creamfields was expanding to incorporate North and South events, with David Guetta and Calvin Harris amongst the acts to grace the stage. 

House heavy hitters Swedish House Mafia will headline both events this year. 

Cream Classical 

Cream
Credit: Anthony Mooney ©

Also launched in 2016, Cream Classical is perhaps the event that best represents Cream. Fittingly hosted at both Liverpool Cathedral and the waterfront, the show takes revellers on a whistle-stop tour of the best tracks from the brand’s history. 

Fronted by the legendary 50-piece Kaleidoscope orchestra and producer K’Klass, it’s one of the most sought-after tickets in town. 

We hope to see you there in another 30 years when we’re too old to dance the way we do now, but the beat from the sound of Cream leaves us with no choice but to throw our hands in the air. 

Because that’s what Cream is all about. The chance to forget who you are, where you’re going and where you’ve been. The chance to forget it all and just dance. And for that, we’re eternally grateful to this Liverpool Icon. 

Follow Cream on Instagram here.

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