You’ve all heard of Benidorm, I presume. That Spanish resort town, filled with sunburnt brits and head fuckers for breakfast, even with its own TV show about the life and times of its seasonal inhabitants.
For one week of the year, however, the brits are pre-occupied with a different kind of Beni, Festival Internacional de Benicassim. As a veteran fib goer myself (this year was the fourth) bringing along a backpack with an Argos tent, a Chromebook, a few different cameras plus their owner, the only clean clothes I had left, and flashbacks of Benicassim campsites and extreme heat, I felt well equipped and mentally prepared to tackle the biggest party of the summer, all in the name of journalism.
Benicassim itself is one of the friendliest experiences you will ever have. International is mentioned in the name because that is truly what it is. Though I felt there were considerably less Spanish goers (and noticeably a lot less Spanish acts) the multicultural vibe is definitely known, and with the gloom of Brexit still hovering over our heads there felt a definite subconscious need for camaraderie, which when you consider the amount of EU flags we saw dotted around and more often than not, wrapped around sleeping people, is a comforting thought.
The general atmosphere of Beni and it’s set up is really what makes it. Your ticket entitles you to 8 days of camping in their main area ‘campfest’ (you can also opt for glamping at a fairly reasonable price) and whilst alongside the various parties and events, the actual festival itself doesn’t start until 7pm, leaving you plenty of time to head to the beach, go into town, get your shopping done, and pregaming started, whilst not missing anything, and saving insane amounts of cash by raiding the Mercadona or the Lidl for the supplies you need to survive the night.
Financially, unlike British festivals, it won’t cost you a kidney and your first born child to enjoy Benicassim. Early Bird tickets start at 85 Euros, building to not more than 120, factor in the low, low cost of living out in the Spanish desert and even with a flight you’re still way ahead of the game, as long as you don’t mind inhaling 6 metric tonnes of dusk every time you wake up in the morning, and a hell of a lot of sun.
Although Benicassim has become almost a rite of passage, the reason we all keep flocking to this ant infested wonderland every summer is not only for its general atmosphere but for the music. Although fib tends to have a smaller lineup (spread over 5 stages) than the majority of British Festivals, its headliners alone have enough pulling power. I’ve found over the years that a lot of the Glastonbury lineup will make a few sneaky appearances, but you’ll have to take my anecdotal word for it.
The shortest of all music days, but what turned out to be one of the best, Thursday boasted sets from DJ Hannah Wants and Irish rapper Rejjie Snow, however, the two main acts of the night by far were grime music artist Skepta and electronic music entity Major Lazer. Skepta, who halfway through his set worshipped the crowd as individuals, claiming he ‘hated celebrities’ became the simultaneous shunner and bringer of hype. The energy in the crowd was electric, and the growth of the London grime scene became increasingly obvious from the gigantic, international crowd that flocked to see him. The first headline act of the long weekend extravaganza, however, was Major Lazer, which gave the newbies a taste for FIB life and veterans like me a heightened nostalgia of what it’s all about. Their set was planned to the millisecond and mixed in a haul of different samples from Eurotrash, bashment and dancehall, and of course starting with Pon de Floor, the absolute tune that filled me with nostalgia and brought me back to being a fifteen-year-old getting drunk on a bottle of Lambrini. Moving forward, they started the encore with their feelgood hit of last year, Lean On, which shows just how much their popularity has grown.
Friday saw the likes of more bands take to the stages, including the British rapping, indie, all-round shabby Rat Boy, the lo-fi garage rock Spanish girl band Hinds, now increasingly veteran rockers The Vaccines, and an emotional set from the harder rock of Biffy Clyro. Hinds played the main stage fairly early in the day, and although they started out with a small crowd it had almost quadrupled by the end, obviously attracted to their dynamic and the energy oozing from all four of them. They seem to be drawing quite a following from their various performances around the globe the last couple of years, and I’m pretty sure next year their names will be way higher up the bill. Finishing with Davey Crockett, throwing in a couple of new songs and even a Dead Ghosts cover, Hinds were one of the highlights of my weekend.
Though Friday was technically a lot more band heavy, Jamie XX took over for a disco-heavy and grime influenced set later in the evening, and the heavyweights of electronic music and putting on a fantastic show The Chemical Brothers headlined that evening. Starting with Hey Boy, Hey Girl and finishing their set with a combination of Galvanise and Block Rockin Beats, the show itself boasted spectacular lights, visuals and sound that made pretty much everyone go nuts.
This year Benicassim decided to up the ante with the dance stage, turning their previous second stage into the South Beach area set up complete with a ‘pool party’ – basically borrowing some Ibiza vibes from the another well known Spanish turn-up. Though the pool got pretty dirty after day one, the area itself was a success and saw the likes of Dan Deacon and John Talabot tear it up on the Friday.
If you’re a Muse fan, Saturday night was what you were waiting for. They headlined the main stage with a show-stopping two-hour set, incredible lights, showmanship and Matt Bellamy’s vocals in full force. Bringing out all the classics such as Supermassive Black Hole, you really cannot fault this band for doing what they do, and doing it heart-stoppingly well.
But on the contrary, it wasn’t just the superband that got the crowd going on that day. Disclosure followed suit on the main stage, starting with White Noise and playing a mix of tracks from Settle and Caracal, the boys radiated buzz as they always do whenever they take to the stage.
For the earlier parts of Saturday, however, it seems the indie and rock bands were out in full force, with Irish rockers Walking on Cars taking the main stage with the sun still glaring. For relative newcomers, they gathered a lot of support from a ferocious fan base, which, given the amount of Irish melodic voices heard around the festival is quite unsurprising. Bloc Party also mesmerised the visa stage, back with a vengeance and a beautifully revised selection of their catalogue, after a hiatus left them with just Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack as the original members. A brief chat with Kele himself before the show lead me to believe we can expect some new music from the new lineup very soon, and the band is sure to go from strength to strength after the writing process gets well and truly underway.
Echo and the Bunnymen and The Coral also played incredible sets, giving us a little blast from the past. For E&TBM we came for The Killing Moon but ended up infatuated with the set list, and after a five year hiatus, old time rockers The Coral perfectly matched their classics Dreaming of You and In the Morning with the release of their new album, Distance In Between, including track Chasing the Tail of the Sun, which Skelly himself thinks is the best to get the crowd going.
Although Muse did steal the show on the main stage, whilst the heavyweight rockers were letting the crowd fall in love we did sneak away for a few songs at the Visa Stage, where The Kills created an atmosphere that was lively, dramatic and addictive, even though a major amount of their fan base was stolen away. They were definitely one of my surprising highlights of fib, and deserve a medal of musical adoration in my eyes.
Sunday finally came around, and although I was completely shattered after running around a festival in sweltering heat, sleeping on a dusty floor of a tent and getting accidently sunburnt with the most awful tan lines you ever did see, the nostalgia was creeping in and I didn’t really want to go home. The mix of genres on this day was pretty special, Jess Glyne took the visa stage, where a surprising collection of men found themselves bobbing along to classics Hold My Hand and Rather Be. She also did a solo rendition of My Love, the Route 94 song that helped propel her solo career, as well as a collection of her own material. Following on from Glyne, Mac Demarco and The 1975 also played the Visa Stage, Demarco drawing a sizable crowd, arguably just as crazy as him. Known for his antics and his love of crowd surfers, he let good old ‘Tony’ climb his way onto the stage for a spot of light conversation before prompting his guitarist to crowd surf himself. The topless boys definitely knew how to do a show, and hardcore fans were lapping up every second, in fact every time they play they look like they’re having the best time, which is first and foremost what you want from a performer. The 1975 followed suit, again drawing in a large crowd with a pretty serious fanbase.
The main stage saw the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, who this year decided to make some festival appearances after cancelling a load of them last year. The northern rockers played a great show but I’m yet to be fully convinced of their staying power. Kendrick Lamar took the headline set that night, bringing in a gigantic crowd and a chilled vibe all across Benicassim. The setlist was perfect, with How Much a Dollar cost, B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe, of course King Kunta and after a profound, heartfelt speech that referenced the attacks in Nice, Turkey, and the need to unite at the state of the world, Lamar ended his set with the notion that we’re all going to be Alright.
DJ’s Snakehips took to the South Beach stage later that night to help bring the festival down to a close, and although I would have perhaps liked to see Lamar play the friday alongside Skepta, especially seeing grime music start to crack america, I was more than content with the set up as it was. All in all, I ended up completely delirious with sleep deprivation, but it was so worth it just to be at fib again.
Would I come again? Just try and stop me.
Not long now til we, you and a stellar line up of the biggest bands in the world head to the coast in Spain for the 22nd edition of FIB Benicàssim.
The amazing 2016 line up is now complete and includes exclusive shows from some of the biggest and best names in rock, pop, electronica, hip hop, indie and beyond.
Your only chance in Spain this summer to see very special festival headline shows from Muse and The Chemical Brothers, to witness the biggest rap act in the world right now, Kendrick Lamar live, to dance to the massive hits of Disclosure and Major Lazer or to check out the legendary Massive Attack.
Beyond these, there’s the some of the greatest new acts around like The 1975 & Catfish And The Bottlemen, indie tunesmiths like The Vaccines and the Maccabees, the best in electronica from Jamie XX, John Talabot (Dj Set) and more. Pop? Jess Glynne. Grime? Skepta
Something for everyone including some of our favourite Spanish acts, Hinds, Dorian, La Habitación Roja…
FIB Benicàssim 2016 – 100 acts and four days and nights you’ll never forget. The greatest bands in the world and YOU at the festival of the year!
For ticket info and the timetable of acts, check out their website.
On this morning's BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show, Scott Mills announced the line-up for Radio 1's Big Weekend 2015, taking place at Earlham Park, Norwich on 23 and 24 May – including Foo Fighters and Muse who will headline the event.
Some of the hottest UK and international acts will join them to perform at Europe’s biggest free ticketed festival which brings the whole nation together for one weekend of amazing live music.
Joining headliners Muse to perform on the Main Stage on Saturday 23 May alongside the already announced Florence + The Machine are 5 Seconds of Summer, David Guetta, Ben Howard, The Vaccines, Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX.
Alongside Foo Fighters, who will headline the Main Stage on Sunday 24 May and Taylor Swift who has already been announced, Sam Smith,Rita Ora, George Ezra, Clean Bandit, Olly Murs and Imagine Dragons will also perform.
Snoop Dogg, Rudimental, Jess Glynne, Hozier, Years & Years, Ella Eyre, Slaves, Mallory Knox and Circa Waves will all perform onSaturday 23 May on the event’s In New Music We Trust Stage.
On Sunday 24 May, the In New Music We Trust Stage will host performances from Jamie T, Alt-J, Sigma, Catfish & The Bottlemen,Jungle, James Bay, SOAK, Raury and Lower Than Atlantis.
Matt Bellamy from Muse said: “I’m very excited to play. The last time we played Big Weekend, for us it was a disaster, so I can’t wait to make up for it on this performance. I’m really looking forward to coming back and doing a great show. I’m pretty sure that we may unveil another new song that we will play for the first time which is pretty exciting.”
Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters said: “I’m really excited – I can’t wait to come out. I don’t really think we’ve ever played there before so I’m looking forward to it.”
Jess Glynne said: “My first Big Weekend in my own right and what a line up to be a part of. I can’t wait to play Norwich with my band and let you hear some of the songs from my new album. It’s going to be big.”
Ben Cooper, Controller, Radio 1 and 1Xtra said: “Radio 1’s Big Weekend will be fantastic – great music, great fun and a great location.”
The line-up for the BBC Introducing Stage will be announced in Huw Stephens’ show.
A particularly commanding lady will again make her appearance at Werchter next summer. Florence + the Machine will perform in the Festival Park on Thursday 25 June. Other names already confirmed for Rock Werchter 2015 are Foo Fighters, Muse, Pharrell Williams and alt-J. More to follow shortly.
Florence Welch is a young woman of pedigree who has always dreamed of a musical career, full of creative twists and turns, just like that of Björk, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey. And she created a dream team to make sure it happened. The key figure is keyboard player Isabella Summers, who is nicknamed 'Isabella Machine' because of her electronic music talents. Instantly the band is much loved by the British critics and dominating the radio over here with 'Dog Days Are Over' and 'You Got The Love', a fine cover of an old soul number. In 2010 the debut album 'Lungs' (2009) led to a memorable concert at the festival's former Pyramid Marquee. The tent should have been three times bigger and was rocked so hard by the fiery Welch that it left a rip in Florence's long black dress. Two years later on the Main Stage she says 'Let's hope that happens again'. She captures the hearts of the audience with ease. It's onwards and upwards from here.
Rock Werchter is pleased to announce Muse will headline on Sunday 28 June. Foo Fighters will headline the festival in Belgium on Thursday 25 June 2015.
Foo Fighters are coming by general demand. Every year we collect the wish lists from the friends of the festival and this year Foo Fighters are right at the top. To be sure of landing the band of the moment Rock Werchter is moving its dates forward a week. This is because the band is heading back to the States at the end of June to play a huge concert in front man Dave Grohl's home base of Washington D.C. on Saturday 4 July. In 2015 Foo Fighters will play Werchter for the third time in their 20 year history. They made their last appearance way back in 2005. Put together in eight iconic recording studios, the new album 'Sonic Highways' (2014) is Grohl's homage to the rich musical history of America, of which Foo Fighters are a fine example.
Muse have released six studio albums and have sold in excess of 20 million albums worldwide. Widely recognised as one of the best live bands in the world, they have won numerous music awards including five MTV Europe Music Awards, six NME Awards and six Q Awards. They have twice been awarded "Best British Live Act" at The Brits and have also been nominated for five Grammy Awards, winning Best Rock Album for The Resistance. Their last tour commenced in October 2012 and saw the band perform to over 2 million fans worldwide. Muse's sold out show at Rome's Olympic Stadium in July 13 was the first concert film to be filmed and presented in 4K Ultra High Definition. The band are currently in the studio working on their seventh studio album, scheduled for release in 2015.
Muse will make their debut at Europe’s biggest rock festival as Saturday’s main stage headliner at Download 2015.
Considered by many to be the greatest live act in the world, the genre-defying trio will follow in the footsteps of Rock Gods past and present when they walk the hallowed fields of Donington Park for the first time.
On their impending debut the band said:
We're really looking forward to Download. We’ve never played the festival before so it’s going to be really special.
Main support will come from alt-funk-rap-metal pioneers Faith No More, returning to the festival for the first time since their long-awaited comeback in 2009. The return of the San Francisco five-piece to Donington also coincides with the release of their first album in 18 years, due in April 2015, with first single Motherf****r set to drop at the end of this month.
Faith No More said:
Hard to believe it’s been five years already, but what’s harder to deny is that a lot has changed. The last time we played Download the focus was on bringing back the past; now it’s all about the present and the future. Where it should be.
Also making a long-awaited and eagerly anticipated return to Download as second stage headliner is Marilyn Manson, back on top form and, when he’s not jamming with Johnny Depp, back in the studio readying his new album Pale Emperor – which is set for its first UK festival outing at Donington.
It's been a few years since I’ve been at download. The Pale Emperor will rise and I was born to cause chaos.
All these great bands will be joined by metallic pop-punk heroes A Day To Remember, playing Download for the fifth time and the first since the release of critically acclaimed album Common Courtesy.
The band see performing at Download as a sign of their progress up the rock ladder:
We have been playing download for years and I've always been proud to say I was just on the damn thing. So to be asked to be one of the main bands on one of the sickest rock festivals on the planet blows my mind. Haha we were a garage band…We in ADTR like to put on a spectacle, and we plan to do just that.
Acts already announced for Download Festival 2015 are Slipknot, Judas Priest, Black Stone Cherryand Five Finger Death Punch with many more to come, including Sunday’s headliner. Can you guess who it is? Go on. I bet the answer’s on the tip of your tongue…
I made my way down there on Thursday in time for Friday’s music and the atmosphere was buzzing with many festival-goers joking around and talking with a real sense of excitement about the forthcoming bands there. I entered, squeezed my tent into the crowded yellow camp and left to have a look around the festival.
The next day started off sunny while I made my way to see Miles Kane's set of high trousers, kicks and Indie licks. He had a cool swagger about him that made it hard to take your eyes off of him, even during his weaker songs. The next highlight of the day was Deftones. I've heard a lot about these guys but never seen them live before and they absolutely blew me away. I'm sure that, based on that set, they would have gained fans from the few people there who weren’t familiar with them before.
On the final day Leeds Festival we were treated to not one but two festival headliners. Just as Pulp had stepped aside for The Strokes to go on stage last at Reading on the Saturday, The Strokes returned the favour and Pulp went on last at Leeds on the Sunday. Pulp played a strong set and won over many of the youths of the festival who may have only heard a couple of their songs, as when queried on the best performance of the weekend; Pulp was a popular choice. It also seemed to make more sense to have Pulp last over The Strokes, as Jarvis Cocker and co. seemed genuinely excited to be there; dancing around the stage in his unique style, whereas The Strokes were somewhat static and let their anthems and cool approach do the talking (or singing). Earlier highlights in the day included the sing-alongs to Madness' 'Our House' and opener 'One Step Beyond', though the lesser known tracks did not go down as well with the crowd; it was worth it for the well-known ones.
All in all the festival was a major success and although the amount of rain did make it an extremely Welly-squelching affair, it was clear that behind all those festival goers mud covered faces there were big white smiles..
Photos courtesy of Hall or Nothing