Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reporting In From Creamfields Buenos Aires

If you've been reading our blog, or know us personally, you know that we consider ourselves party connoisseurs with a heavy emphasis on dance music. When we knew that we'd be in Buenos Aires in time for Creamfileds, it was a no brainer that we would go. It was listed on our honey fund, and appropriately enough, was gifted to us by our friends Ripp & Steph. They are two of our best friends in the whole world (Ripp introduced us, I was a groomsman at their wedding, plus a million other stories) and they themselves had gone to Creamfields BA two years ago with tremendous results. I myself had been to the Creamfields festival in the UK in 1998 and 2001, so needless to say our excitement level was pretty high.

As it turns out, being a party connoisseur does not necessarily mean you have party preparation foresight. A good example of this is our friend Wes. Wes considers himself an alcoholist (completely different than an alcoholic), and knows what it takes to spend a night drinking without becoming a complete mess. He knows that if you go out for a night of heavy drinking that you should eat a large dinner. He knows that if you go out in a far off neighborhood you should look up the number for the local car service in case you can't find a ride home. He knows that if you hypothetically end up at Flashdancers, it's not necessary to tell your significant other. All good examples of foresight and preparation. For Creamfields, we did the opposite. 

We woke up at an early, respectable hour on Saturday morning and the weather was gorgeous. For whatever reason, we decided to go to the park and exercise for the first time in over four months. The park by our apartment has public work out stations plotted along a course running a few kilometers around the park. Several rounds and two hours later of push ups, dips, sit ups, and gasp, a little jogging, we were exhausted and headed home. No foresight or thought was given to the fact we were endeavoring to stay up all night dancing. An activity that usually requires one to be well rested, loose and limber. We on the other hand were now exhausted, sore and achy. Totally ready to party.

As much as we would have loved to take the party bus to the party, we had yet to figure out the Collectivo (what they call the busses here), and instead opted to take the Subte. Again, not a whole lot of appropriate preparation going on here as it took us two ours to reach the venue. The upside, was when we transferred to the trolley, we got a brief tour of some of the more unsavory neighborhoods of BA. Probably not as bad as the worst neighborhoods, but a good reminder that we were living in a one of the nicer areas. The downside is that we missed one of the scheduled DJs we were hoping to see.

The trolley ride was long and packed like sardines, but every stop closer we got to our destination illicited a little more enthusiasm from fellow passengers. When it reached the last stop, there was a moment of hesitation as to if this was truly the final stop, followed by cheers and a mass, eruptive exodus. There was no need to get our bearings or figure anything out from there as we just followed the crowd. The walk towards the main gate was flanked by every manner of vendor typical for such a gathering. Fake merchandise, beer, water, street meats, live chickens, etc. I made the last one up, but one can dream.

The entrance was well managed and security was a breeze. We were in. After a quick time check we knew it was too late to catch any significance of Jooris Voorn's set and had also missed the meetup we hoped to join. We spent the next half hour orientating ourselves to the festival grounds and figuring out who was playing and where. We were in Buenos Aires and were determined to see the local hero, Hernan Cattaneo. Eagerly awaiting his arrival, the tent was packed with several thousand people who I assumed were Argentinean based on the greeting they gave him. He hadn't even started playing yet, but his mere appearance on the stage caused the crowd to erupt. I don't think I had ever seen such reaction for a DJ without even playing his first track. Too bad we didn't care much for what he did play after he came on because it was kind of a snooze fest circa post early century progressive. If your not into EDM and don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry because you wouldn't care and you're not missing out. 

We didn't want to miss out on anything either and switched back to Plan A of seeing Booka Shade. Unfortunately, their set was all but over at this point so we needed a plan A.2. I get my numerical ordering skills from an old George Carlin skit, it's confusing but hilarious in it's simplicity. Go ahead and YouTube it, I'll wait... Anyway, Ellen Alien was playing in the same tent as Luciano right before him so we decided to give her a second chance. We had just seen her this past August in Berlin and weren't impressed. It was perplexing because she's been around forever and has a good reputation. Perhaps that night in Berlin was just an off night? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, quote George W. Bush. So, let me get this straight... You're getting paid thousands of dollars to entertain thousands of people using thousands of dollars worth of technology, yet the simple task of beat matching still eludes you after a long and prosperous career? I can't think of any nice ways of saying she sucked, so yeah...

The benefit of sticking out Ellen Allien was getting front and center for a true professional. Thankfully, Luciano took the stage and saved the day with his long hair and ridiculously deep V. I couldn't name the tracks but didn't care. They were good, groovy, danceable and got the crowd going. The night had finally taken a turn for the best. The best part ever though, was the security guard telling people to put their shirts back on. This might possibly be the greatest act of bouncing I have ever seen in my life. Maybe the laws are different down here, but this is just phenomenal. Anyone who has ever been to a club, concert, festival whatever and has been brushed up against by the sweaty, stubbly shirtless guy should immediately come party in Buenos Aires for relief. 

At this point we had exhausted our supply of beer tickets and headed out to acquire more. This is where we entered the twilight zone. Dun dun dunnnnn!!!! In a world where sixty thousand people come to dance and listen to electronic music all night, and signs everywhere proclaiming alcohol is served until 5am... The beer runs out by 2am. At first I thought maybe I didn't understand what the ticket vendor was saying, so we tried another ticket booth and then another. It was hard enough for my brain to comprehend talking in another language, but trying to comprehend how an event of this magnitude could run out of beer just wasn't registering. I'm still in denial about how such a thing can happen. Imagine going to the Indy 500 and half way through being told there was no more beer. Unlike the firing of a known, child rapist cover up conspirator, this indeed would have been cause for a riot. They might not have ever run out of beer at Penn State football games, but nobody was raping children at Creamfields. Maybe the local alcohol control board in Buenos Aires knows something I don't. 

As much as I couldn't let go of this new beer-less reality, it was time to move on and see the DJ we have been stalking for the past five years one more time. Sven Vath, who has been mentioned in our blog before, has always held a special place in our hearts. Mostly because we love his music and what he stands for, but also because of the rarity and difficulty in seeing him perform (he only comes to NYC once in a blue moon). This time it felt more like a reunion party as we were familiar with more than half his set. It was the the seventh time we'd seen him in just over five months. Prior to that, we had only seen him six times in five years. A reversal of fortune that bordered on gluttony, but it was borderline magical to be reminded of the time we spent in Ibiza. Granted, at this point the exhaustion had reduced us to sitting on the outskirts of the tent and just enjoying the music instead of full on dancing,but we were thankful nonetheless. 

From there we headed over to catch Danny Howells at the Cream Arena. John Digweed was finishing his set and it was so over packed and over flowing you think it could easily have been mistaken for the main stage. Three tracks in and my legs and stamina were giving out. The sorry excuse for an energy drink they were schilling here just wasn't cutting it and the thought of trying to catch a cab while 60,000 people left the grounds at the same time was frightening. Though I made the decision to leave early, Claire later confessed that she secretly hoped I was ready to go. Unlike Sven, Danny Howells is in NYC all the time. It would be far better to catch him back home with all our friends than here with thousands of strangers.

It wasn't that hard to find a cab home after we figured out the traffic was being detoured one block away. Our Spanish was good enough to give directions and get us home safely. Contrary to the nightmare scenarios we've read about, he didn't take us the long way home, try to rob us, or any other douchery you could imagine. It was a long drive, but it was nice to see more of the typical neighborhoods in BA instead of just the rich or poor. We were given a greater sense of size of the city and likened it to home. Where else can you spend two hours on public transit and still be in the same city, only to have the same trip take just 30 minutes by cab on the way back.

Overall, it was a successful night. Not stunning or stellar, but as we learned long ago, these kind of nights are always better when you're with your friends.  As we learned that night however, those kind of nights are always better when they don't run out of beer.


  1. We have only seen Sven 6 times in 5 years because we travelled to another continent to see him! He's played in the states 2 times in the last 6 years. So unless you are going to make a trip to Europe or South America you are SOL!


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  3. You're ranking for quite a range of terms there!

  4. Ahh Quilmes, how I love thee! The Argentinos have special styro holders for the liter bottles. Jealous you got to see John Digweed...sounds like you got to hear some jams!