Bilbao festival, in its eighth year takes place on top of the Kobetamendi mountains just north of Bilbao. For those that aren't camping be prepared to wait up to 40mins to jump on the free shuttle bus that takes you up most part of the mountain. Unfortunately the buses don't drive to the top so be prepared to walk for another 20 minutes. Once on site the festival is conveniently laid out. In total you have a choice of 4 stages- Bilbao stage, Heineken, Live and the Vodafone stage. All within easy walking distance and no clashes, which is rare at any festival.
If you're looking to feed your stomach then I would suggest eating out in the city centre to avoid disappointment. Unfortunately the food options and quality lacked in choice and flavours. The bar however had a great choice of drinks, most of which are served in litres! One of the drinks on offer was a local drink called kalimotxo, also known as cocavino. Half a litre of red wine, half coke and some ice, which surprisingly tasted good!
On Thursdays line up saw the likes of Alt-J, Toy, Billy Talent, Editors, Biffy Clyro, Depeche Mode and closing were Two Door Cinema Club. Like most of the crowd I thought that the main stage closing act should have been the Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro. And when the Irish pop rockers concluded their set, there was very little to chose from unless you headed to the Vodafone stage, which hosted an array of European DJ's spinning their acclaimed tracks that had the spaniards jumping up and down with joy.
On Friday the audience were looking forward to seeing Spector, The Vaccines, Klaxons, Kings of Leon and Public Image Ltd, but half way into The Vaccines set the heavens opened and thunder and lightening struck which led to the band walking off stage. There was an uproar from the crowd but before long everyone hurried into what little shelter they could find, myself included. At one point the rain was so bad that a majority fled the site to find shelter whilst others resumed to finding solice in a portaloo. The crowd were uneasy and unsure of the festival continuing, but through sheer determination the majority stuck around with the hope that the festival would go on. And after 2hrs of heavy down poor the Klaxons made an entrance onto the Heineken stage and the festival goers disended to watch a money well spent set. They played all the classics including Echoes, Golden Skans and Gravity's Rainbow. And whilst the hardcore Klaxons fans watched a faultless performance the Kings of Leon were re-opening the Bilbao stage, pulling in the biggest crowd they had a soaked audience singing along to all their hits ending on Sex on Fire. And shortly after their set the anticipated Public Image Ltd took to the same stage. Working the crowd was legendary and ex Sex Pistol John Lydon. It was a shame that they didn't have a big audience but they were an outfit worth seeing.
By day three the site was looking a lot more crowded The Hives entered the stage looking equally as eccentric as each other. The great thing about these guys was their striking outfits. The swedes hyped up the crowd with their impressive Spanish, and had the crowd cheering for more as they finished their set. A difficult act to follow but next on the bill were Green Day, they played a two hour set including some favourites from Dookie, along with American Idiot. Half way threw the set saw Billie Joe Armstrong pull an audience member from the crowd onto the stage, to which he had to dive bomb into the crowd, one of the most spectacular dives off a stage that I have ever seen!
And finishing up the festival was Fatboy Slim. The got the crowd pumped and played a faultless set to a very satisfied audience.
All in all I found Bilbao Festival a lot of hard work, the long waits for the bus plus the climbing up the mountain were challenging, especially in the heat. But once on site the chilled out vibe made the festival worth going to.