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international news _ 10th April, 2007

Creamfields Cures Epidemic Of Melancholy

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Creamfields chief James Barton chatted to Skrufff this week about this year's upcoming event and broadly agreed with the Observer's suggestion last week that festivals provide fan ancient means of experiencing collective joy, that are helping tackle an 'epidemic of melancholy'.

"That's an interesting view point, sure," said James, "Though I would like to maybe translate that into plain English by saying that dancing in a field with your best mates listening to damn good music is the best feeling in the world."

Observer journalist Rachel Cooke culled her opinion from Barbara Ehrenreich' acclaimed new history of partying book Dancing In the Streets, and suggested visiting a festival could be a form of self medication, akin to taking a drug.

"As Ehrenreich writes: the capacity for collective joy is encoded into us," she added, "We can live without it, as most of us do, but only at the risk of succumbing to the solitary nightmare of depression."

The same article also mentioned recent press reports that 450 festivals will happen in the UK this year, a statistic that brought mixed reactions from James Barton about the long-term sustainability of so many events.

"It is a concern and in a way it does remind me slightly of the boom time of dance music when everyone was jumping on the bandwagon then," he admitted, "But I think that new entrants soon find that running a festival is a costly and difficult job and usually end up out of business".

"But saying that, we have just launched a new show ourselves this year; the Knowsley Hall Music Festival with the likes of The Who, Keane, Coral, Zutons, Madness, Joss Stone etc. Tickets are flying for it," he added.

James also cautioned that this year's slightly greater emphasis on live bands (Kelis, Chemicals Bros, Simian Mobile Disco, Groove Armada) reflects the market as much as trends, with price and popularity they key factors.

"For me it's simple ­ if there are good artist around then the punters will support them," he said, "But that support will only stay if we as promoters and the artists continue to deliver shows and music that excite and inspire at affordable prices. It's really important that we don't fall into the same trap we did at the end of 90's by not listening to the audience," he added.

Creamfields takes place at Darebury, Halton, Cheshire on Saturday August 25,

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