More Sun, Less Mud; A full (and honest) review of Benicassim Festival 2012

When you imagine Benicassim, the festival (a.k.a. FIB – Festival Internacional de Benicassim) your mind takes your straight to the beach, sitting in the sun whilst sipping a cocktail and listening to some live music.

What I discovered, as probably everyone knew before me, is that the festival itself does not take place ON the beach at all, just near one. The music generally does not start until about 6 in the evening, and finishes around 12 hours later. So you really have no choice but to sleep on the beach in the daytime, and stay up all night dancing from one tent to the next until dawn…

The music at the festival officially began on Thursday early evening.

Thursday’s highlight was going to see Florence and the Machine play, who unfortunately was cancelled.

As a replacement De La Soul was moved to the main stage from the Trident Senses stage (essentially the second biggest stage), who completely lifted the spirits of the then-still-fresh faced festival go-ers. An hour of loud, powerful hip-hop and a load of sing-a-longs, the group ended with their collaboration with Gorillaz, Feel Good Inc.

Another band that played which I enjoyed were Kurt Vile & The Violators, who had a Dylan-esque voice and clear influences of 60s and 70s psychedelic rock; a bit like Fleetwood Mac.

Friday’s headliners were Chase & Status, The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Bob Dylan.

Dylan was spectacular, and although his voice wasn’t what it used to be – it is much more raspy and lower than in his ‘golden’ days – he and his band were completely up to par. He mainly played his new material, and only a few classics, which included Like A Rolling Stone and Ballad Of A Thin Man.

The Maccabees were fantastic, energetic, enthusiastic and played a good mix of all their albums.

Later that night Katy B performed; she is so appreciative, friendly and crowd-pleasing, on top of being a brilliant singer too.  On top of all of her most well known songs (Katy On A Mission, Lights On) she performed a remix of Mosca’s ‘Bax’, which was unexpectedly well done too.

Saturday’s busiest headliners were Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Stone Roses and Dizzee Rascal.

The High Flying Birds sounded a lot like Oasis, with similar guitar riffs and (obviously) perceptibly similar voices and lyrics.

Most people watching Stone Roses wanted to see Dizzee too, so it seemed as though halfway through the crowds did a switch, as there was a massive rush in and out. The Roses played all their classics – I Am The Ressurection, I Wanna Be Adored, etc. and Ian Brown didn´t look as though he had slowed down much on the intoxication part; his reputation follows him.

The rest of my Saturday night was spent at the one and only Cocktail bars, where Mojitos went like water and where the DJ played music from the Doors, James Brown and the likes.

My Sunday night was spent at the Fib Club stage, starting with Howler, a 5 piece band from Minnesota who sound like they have been strongly influenced by The Vaccines. The front man, Jordan Gatesmith, had a sincerely strong and formidable singing voice as well as a chatty personality. And although they kept calling themselves The Vaccines, it was definitely obvious that they had a very good sense of humour and their own type of sound.

They were followed by T.E.E.D (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), who had another fantastic costume that made him look like a newly grown flower, along with his two incredible dancers who had a series of costume changes themselves, and made his set just that little bit better. As well as playing material from his Trouble EP, he also played some of his new songs, which are a little heavier on the bass than, say, ‘Garden’.

Todd Terje kept the spirits high after T.E.E.D. finished, with a 2 hour set full of house music – Spanish and English. He played some ambiguous re-makes of traditional Spanish music as well as his very own ‘Inspector Norse’, which the majority of the crowd clearly recognized and loved.

The last person I went go and see perform was David Guetta, who really does not deserve a positive review because his set was genuinely disappointing. His mixing was off, and considering he has so much well-known material, he could have played some that the crowd could sing and dance along to.

Keep an eye out for next year´s line up on

– Nina Hoogstraate.

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