With summer almost upon us, you’re thinking you should book a holiday right? A festival perhaps? Both? Christ. Expensive though right? What are you going to do? Tough call. FIB (Festival Internacional de Benicàssim) over the years has created a festival in which others should take note. Beach holiday by day, festival of great musical calibre by night; known for hosting UK and US greats as well as an eclectic mix of the lesser known up and comers from all over the globe. This year’s line up boasts the likes of Florence & The Machine, Bob Dylan, At The Drive-In, The Stone Roses, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, as well as tmrw magazine favourites – The Vaccines, The Horrors and Spector.
Over 100 acts perform over 4 days – over 4 stages, and with 8 days free camping, the total cost isn’t as much as you might fear from a festival abroad. Regular reasonably priced flights to Valencia, Reus, Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante and Gerona are all within a reasonable distance of the festival site – which also gives you the opportunity for an impromptu mini break to a Spanish city if you feel like cutting loose.
If you’re not one for heat, you’d be advised to book a hotel/hostel/pirate boat over camping at Benicassim. That’s not to say the conditions are grim – they’re a lot more sanitary than many of their British counterparts, providing a mass of outdoor showers and toilets within the campsite; and with a large British clientele, you’ll very likely be able to build a support group with ease. Heat however, is generally inescapable until dawn, so if you’re not one for humidity – book up accommodation. Now. That be said, festival camping is FREE, for 8 days no less – and at £155 for the ticket inc camping, it’s a damn site cheaper than most UK festivals, with the added bonus of a beach and oh yes, the sun. Having been through it personally, you’ll be glad you did it. Especially when the last band finishes at 5am and you don’t have to face the 2 hour cab queue + journey – only a 10 minute walk back to your tent.
And as mentioned with the hours, they’re ‘different’. Due to the heat, the bands don’t generally start until 7pm, which gives you plenty of recovery time at the beach. Just brace yourself for the night ahead with the headliners arriving on stage at 1am and the normal pre-headliner finishing off the night at 3am. For those with the constitutional strength of a Russian Olympian shot putter, DJ’s take you through to sunrise at 6am. Sleep? Sleep is for the weak.
As with most festivals, drinks vouchers will need to be purchased for drinks – and a magnitude of alcohol and energy drinks are available to keep you going. But pace yourself – you’ll notice a number of sleep deprived/trigger happy drinkers dropping on the spot, and you’ll be stepping over them on the way out, like a scene from a zombie apocalypse. A wide variety of Spanish cuisine and notorious ‘brits abroad’ burgers are available in the festival site to keep you going as well.
A highlight of Benicassim is the size of the festival site. Being fairly small in comparison to the likes of Glastonbury, you’re capable of walking from stage to stage in minimal time – it will seem even quicker with all the vodka Red Bull in you, but you’ll genuinely be able to make it to most of what you point your finger at on your lanyard. And in-between those bands you’ve flown all this way to see, you’ve the option of visiting the Jack Daniels tent, Silent Disco and a pool to relax by/in. Yeah, a pool!
Benicassim is more of an adventure than a festival. A warm atmosphere of friendly festival goers (less beer launching, more bear hugging), stunning sunset scenery, a long strip of beautiful beach, some charming local Spanish culture and let’s not forget – an incredible festival of great acts makes this – especially with no Glastonbury this year – undeniably attractive. Just book the following week off to recover. Genuine legends Bob Dylan and The Stone Roses by the Spanish coast? This is a rarity.
For more information and tickets click here.