On Saturday, Strawberries & Creem Festival continued its rapid expansion as it grew to 8,000 attendees on Saturday 17th June in only its fourth year. The lineup showcased the cream of UK musical talent accompanied by some nostalgic, throwback performances. Standout performers included UK hotshot J Hus, Godfather of Grime Wiley and a rare UK performance from the reggae legend Shaggy.
Temperatures soared to early 30s on one of the hottest UK days in recent years! It was a scorcher, being one of the hottest days of the year, free water and sun cream given out by the festival organisers – but probably still a few cases of sunburn
AJ Tracey, Gentleman’s Dub Club & Rum N Riddim (with General Levy and So Solid Crew’s Lisa Maffia & Romeo) added even more energy to an eclectic main stage bill. Mike Skinner, Artful Dodger and grime duo Logan Sama/Sir Spyro brought the heat to the sweaty big top tent – with Dimitri From Paris & Pawsa heading up the house stage.
S&C 2017 was attended by celebrities such as Love Island’s Olivia Buckland, The Only Way Is Essex’s Courtney Green, Amber Dowding and Myles Barnett, Made In Chelsea’s Tina Stinnes. The X Factor’s Gifty Louise, MTV’s Mason Smillie, singer Chris Baxter, Celebrity Big Brother’s Bianca Gascoigne, BNTM’s Talulah-Eve Brown and many more!
Godfather of Grime headliner Wiley played a nice mixture of hits and Godfather material – starting with ‘Wearing My Rolex’, racing through ‘Heatwave’, ‘Reload’ and ‘Ay Ay Ay’ before piling two-footed into what he does best – grime music with full Wiley passion.
Shaggy played awesome reworks and live versions of all his hit singles with live band – with much-anticipated renditions of ‘Angel’ and ‘It Wasn’t Me’ providing some of the highlights of the day to a mellow setting-sun backdrop.
Gentleman’s Dub Club impressing as always, with perfect festival vibes to take the crowd into the evening as the hard-hitting heat of the day slowly softened.
Renditions of classics ‘21 seconds’ and ‘Incredible’ as part of Rum n Riddim (with General Levy and So Solid Crew’s Lisa Maffia & Romeo) set got everyone dancing and singing along, a homage to jungle and garage.
A huge highlight for all was J Hus causing the most madness of the day, jumping around topless with relentless energy and blasting out crowd favourites ‘Did You See’, ‘Friendly’, ‘Lean and Bop’ and ‘Dem Boy Paigon’
Another was AJ Tracey showing why he’s one of the UK’s brightest MCs at the moment, with a set smashing through all of his most-loved singles and freestyles.
Shaggy preached a message of love in wake of recent events around the world, with the crowd getting their phones and lighters up in solidarity – a special moment for S&C. There were also calls from artists for justice for the victims of the Grenfell Fire.
8,000 people poured through the gates, but festival retained intimate feel – nearly twice the size of last year, but an extra stage plus the way the site was setup ensured you were never too far from the action (even Wiley noted this)
The festival had a predominantly young crowd but with some older faces due to nostalgic act Shaggy. With both a strong local and student representation, it was nice to see this mixture uniting under banner of music in Cambridge (a city renowned largely for university!)
The VIP area with viewing platform gave those a great view of stage and festival. The festival had a strong celebrity presence this year with the likes of Love Island’s Olivia Buckland, The Only Way Is Essex’s Courtney Green, Amber Dowding and Myles Barnett, Made In Chelsea’s Tina Stinnes. The X Factor’s Gifty Louise, MTV’s Mason Smillie, singer Chris Baxter, Celebrity Big Brother’s Bianca Gascoigne, BNTM’s Talulah-Eve Brown and many more!
The atmosphere was friendly and positive and had a real sense of solidarity, with music and good times offering antidote to recent events – absolutely no signs of trouble!
After performing in 2015, Skepta joined the team backstage all day, relaxing with Wiley and co. in the sun.
If the music wasn’t enough to be excited about there was also awesome food on offer thanks to the Deliveroo banquet – which delivered an array of fine cuisines to fuel the festival, from jerk chicken to boar burgers to wood fired pizzas.
Tributes to their Cambridge home were apparent across the site with designs inspired by Cambridge’s backdrop and universities.
The sweltering LinkUp tent saw performances throughout the day from Donae’o, Mike Skinner, Madam X, Artful Dodger, Logan Sama, P Money, Sir Spyro and YGG.
Dimitri From Paris headlined the Bumble stage – The Courtyard – in association with MixMag, which also saw sets on the day from Ellie Cocks, Made You Look, Pawsa, Late Replies and more! The stage, designed by Cambridge University Students was an elevated DJ booth balanced above too large storage containers.