From humble garden parties to being one of the most exciting UK festivals: Strawberries and Creem returns championing the UK’s alternative acts we’ve come to adore. We were given backstage access and caught up with the founders of Strawberries and Creem; discovering why platforms like theirs are necessary within today’s music climate.
Humbly starting with just 200 guests for what was once a club event known as 'CREEM', the founders (an impressive group of 7!) expanded their nighttime affair into a daytime garden party for 500 people, birthing the Strawberries and Creem experience we know it as today. “Seven individuals met on the (quiet) Cambridge nightlife circuit, all from very different backgrounds, and all with ambitions to bring a more eclectic mix of music to quite a musically non-diverse part of the country,” they told us.
“Each individual had a different reason for being in Cambridge at the time (some were at Anglia Ruskin University, some were at Cambridge University, some were born and raised there etc.) and it allowed us to connect lots of different networks in the region very quickly”.
Since its emergence back in 2012, the festival now invites a total of 12,000+ guests annually. This year, they have had the likes of Knucks, Pip Millet and Children of Zeus. Strawberries and Creem does a brilliant job of curating diverse experiences and endorsing the versatility found within our tiny island. Tapping into the minds of the team behind the experience, we asked what the three essential elements to putting on a large-scale UK festival are.
“Diversity: This is something at Strawberries & Creem we place utmost importance on, both in terms of our music offering and the demographic of the crowd. To us, diversity makes for a more creative event, a more interesting event and a more inspiring event”.
“Safety: We have heard too many terrible statistics about safety in the live events space, and we made a conscious decision to not contribute to that narrative. Working with bodies like UN Women UK and more, we pride ourselves on making sure our audience – and in particular women and minority groups – feel safe and comfortable on site”.
“Value: We look at Strawberries & Creem as an adventure playground for 18–30-year-olds. Although the Festival sells itself primarily on its music policy, we think it is important our attendees receive value for money outside of the music space too. We work with a number of partners to offer interesting and unique giveaways, free food and drink opportunities, and surprises on site that separate ourselves from other Festivals”.
And we were not disappointed. The acts we discovered during our time there exceeded our expectations. Despite English weather threatening guests with open showers that could put a pause to our experience, seeing people catch a vibe in real-time set the tone for the day. That energy was amplified once Knucks graced the stage. Delivering an impeccable set, the North West rapper captivated the audience with an electrifying performance. Fans echoed back his compelling, thought-induced lyrics as we danced in the palm of his hands. Pip Millet’s live performance was rich with sweet vocals and melodies, providing a chilled contrast as we entered her realm.
We expect Strawberries and Creem to continue getting bigger and better! This year alone, their stage also featured the likes of Ludacris, Katy B, NSG and Mabel. Their intention to diversify their lineups is the very thing that will have many of us returning in the years to come. “We want to continue to scale our festival, without losing any of its credibility, its charm and its diversity – which is very much why we started it,” they told us.
“Keeping that the essence of the Festival, we will continue to book more artists, work with more brands, and hopefully keep putting on exciting shows!”