Two Saturday’s ago I was able to attend the Strawberries & Creem Festival at Haggis Farm in Cambridge. Acts included Grime artists such as Wiley, Shaggy, Artful Dodger, P-Money and J Hus. What a shame I didn’t actually get to see the headline acts! But I’ll get onto that later.
I attended the festival with my newly hay-fevered friend, Harriet. We arrived at Cambridge Train station promptly, and eventually managed to find the extremely convenient shuttle bus. There were no signs pointing us to the bus, but there were the odd people with high-vis jackets on which I had to assume were part of the festival. I asked one of these lovely people about the bus and they happily pointed me in the right direction. We were quite pleased about this bus service as the walk to the farm was over an hour, or a taxi/normal bus were either expensive or just a bit more effort than we wanted to put in.
The bus service was prompt, hot, but that couldn’t be helped, a beautiful 28 degrees was Saturday 17th June. Anyway, we arrived early and swiftly jumped through queue, past security and grabbed ourselves a lovely wristband. I’m not sure what it is about wristbands, but I feel a bit special when festivals give them out (proper cloth ones) over just paper tickets, y’know? We then saw the huge, more than life-sized S&C sign and of course had to have a picture.
I must admit a lot of our time was spent at the Pimms Bus. They had nice relaxing deck chairs in the sun and you could just sit back and listen to the music in the background. Harriet and I aren’t really ones for getting to the front of the crowds, dancing, and consuming copious amounts of alcohol like the 9,998 other people there (harhar). We were much happier watching from a distance, and that’s okay. Of course we did drink alcohol, and a benefit of this small festival was that you didn’t really have to queue for that long to get a drink *mini fist pump*.
Now, I think the ‘loos’ at any festival will always inevitably be, quite frankly, a bit dirty. They start off well, but it just can’t be helped. So I shan't comment much more on those. I did like how they had antibacterial gel instead of sinks though, I think that’s probably much more efficient.
Now I’m one of those people who like ‘a bit of everything’ music, so I have no problem with a bit of Grime. But there were only a few acts that I actually knew of, mainly the headliners and the odd other. You know that song ‘Did you see what I done, came in a black Benz left in a white one’? Yeah, that guy was there! No no, there were more songs which I knew but some of them were more ‘you know what the song sounds like, you’re just not sure who it’s by’ types. Although upon people watching, there were many grime super fans present, I must say.
I’m sure we would have loved to hear a bit of throwback music as is Shaggy ‘it wasn’t me’ but unfortunately we had to leave. And I shall tell you for why. Remember up top I mentioned my ‘newly hay-fevered friend Harriet’? Yeah, well to put a long story short, Harriet’s eye blew up, red, streaming, painful, and after seeing the very helpful first aiders, who at first gave her an antihistamine, they later then told her that she should potentially go to A&E. Typically her eye stopped hurting once we left the field…!
The only downside to the music was that depending on where you stood or sat occasionally you could hear two lots of music at the same time, (there were 3 stages) and that’s not ideal. I also thought there could have been more to do. I am just comparing this to my experience at larger festivals, but things like hair braiding, rides, jewellery/clothes stands etc. But I’m sure this is something they are thinking of for future years.
Oh, and I must remember to mention the food! Always a winner with me. I love how this new generation of healthy food is rubbing off on the world - sweet potatoes fries, halloumi burgers, smoothies, yes! Something for vegetarians, vegans, and picky people instead of only heavily saturated greasy options. Kudos to you S&C food.
Strawberries & Creem Festival this year held 10,000 people, which is quite small compared to the bigger festivals, which hold around 200,000. But I must say, I much preferred it. The queues were smaller, you didn’t get lost, you knew where everything was and it just seemed more, chilled? We felt comfortable sitting on the grass and not worrying about our fingers being tread on or getting stuck in mosh pits etc, I liked it. A nice ‘day out’ for us 20 something-year-olds, despite our early departure. So, thank you Strawberries & Creem, good luck next year!
If you went to Strawberries & Creem share your photos and let me know your experience using the hashtag #emmapharaoh on Instagram & Twitter!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMMA PHARAOH & HARRIET PLASKITT
STRAWBERRIES & CREEM: