Sophie is a Brand New Open Air Event Series for Southern Spain feat. Craig Richards, Apollonia, Sonja Moonear, Gene on Earth, Sweely, tINI, Paul Kalkbrenner (live), Nicolas Lutz, Enzo Siragusa, Seth Troxler and more

[a:rpia:r], Craig Richards, Paul Kalkbrenner, Sweely, Gene on Earth, Sonja Moonear, Nicolas Lutz, Francesco Del Garda, Jamie Jones, Apollonia, Seth Troxler, Enzo Siragusa and more will perform

Sophie is a brand new outdoor and open air event series that puts a global spotlight on the emerging city of Malaga. It is a lovingly curated experience from a hugely experienced team that fuses underground music and nature with a real sense of community and all of the city’s rich cultural history. It goes down every Sunday afternoon and evening from July 3rd to August 28th in an all-new, luxurious and sun-kissed secret venue located 15 minutes from Málaga’s city centre and 10 minutes from Málaga airport. Tickets start at 40EUR with a range of VIP packages and world class music guaranteed from Paul Kalkbrenner, Jamie Jones, Apollonia, Seth Troxler, [a:rpia:r], Enzo Siragusa, Craig Richards, Nicolas Lutz, Sonja Moonear, Mathew Jonson, tINI, Traumer, Francesco Del Garda, Gene On Earth, Sweely, and many more.

The team behind the newly born concept Sophie has been at the heart of the underground for years running various acclaimed parties around Europe. After a candid conversation between friends about the connections people make on the dance floor, Sophie was born with the aim of bringing something new, fresh and exciting to Málaga. All the people behind the project have lived there for years and now fully exploit the potential of Spain’s third largest city in terms of tourism, foreign investment, social development, global airport connections and economic growth in general.

With its amazing food, great beaches and now the arrival of Sophie, this city has it all. It goes down in a gloriously sun-kissed and naturalistic location, a purpose built escapist haven that blends in seamlessly with nature and makes for magical musical memories with a serious soundtrack and beach time vibes.

Says Giorgio Maulini, one of the founders of the project: “There was a big gap in Malaga that needed to be filled. A place where we could offer an alternative cultural celebration of life. Málaga has a really rich cultural proposal for folkloric music as Flamenco, POP or Latin music but there wasn’t a place where we could feel identified with. We have always been driven by the underground music culture and what it represents. The freedom of being who you are and not being afraid of showing it. We knew we wanted to create a place where we could help people discover this values, listen to quality music and at the same time change the stereotypes of our society to a more open minded, tolerant and give a real opportunity to alternative cultures which are actually the ones that help develop the collective consciousness and artistic scene of a city.”

The opening party features German techno legend Paul Kalkbrenner with a live show from Giorgia Angiuli,underground house grooves from the Mandar trio and Janeret. After that, the parties remain high quality and tasteful. Throughout July the acts include Enzo Siragusa, Traumer, Francesco Del Garda, Sweely, Anthea, Quest, Evan Baggs, Laurine & Cecilio, Seth Troxler, Dyed Soundorom, tINI, Giammarco Orsini, O.BEE, Tomas Station, Rakim Under, Dorado, Jamie Jones, Archie Hamilton, Giorgio Maulini, Chris Stussy, Reiss, Samuel Deep, Huerta, East End Dubs, Rich NxT, Rossko, Lola Haro, and Charlotte. August sees [a:rpia:r] and Praslea, Dan Andrei, Apollonia, Craig Richards b2b Nicolas Lutz, Gene on Earth, Sugar Free, Fonte, Mathew Jonson (live), Sonja Moonear, Priku, plus secret guests.

Málaga-Costa del Sol airport is connected to 133 destinations, with a total of 52 international airlines in operation making Sophie easy to get to from anywhere. It means there is no excuse not to hop on a plane and head off for a grown up and soul soothing party in paradise.


Paul Kalkbrenner
Giorgia Angiuli (live)
Mandar (Lazare Hoche, S.A.M, Malin Genie)


w/ Trommel
Enzo Siragusa
Francesco Del Garda
Laurine & Cecilio
Quest b2b Evan Baggs


Seth Troxler
tINI b2b Dyed Soundorom
Giammarco Orsini
O.BEE b2b Tomas Station
Rakim Under b2b Dorado


Jamie Jones
Archie Hamilton b2b Giorgio Maulini
Chris Stussy
Reiss b2b Samuel Deep


East End Dubs
Rich NxT b2b Rossko
Lola Haro


[a:rpia:r] (Raresh, Petre Inspirescu, Rhadoo)
Dan Andrei


Secret guests


Apollonia (Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundorom, Shonky)
Craig Richards b2b Nicolas Lutz
Gene on Earth
Sugar Free & Fonte


Mathew Jonson (live)
Sonja Moonear

The Adventure that was Benicassim, 2016.

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.  


Musical Highlights


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.


Thursday /


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 /


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.

Saturday /


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 /


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.


Full Final Bill for FIB – Benicassim!

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 liveto 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. 

Miguel Poveda Flamenco Festival Review

When a tannoy booms out over the sticky-hot concert hall of Malaga’s Cervantes Theatre announcing that the concert will begin in two minutes, the thrill of expectation is tangible. Named for Don Quixote´s creator,  this 19th century theatre located on a marble-paved square hidden in the warren of Malaga’s cobbled backstreets is the fitting setting for the concert of Miguel Poveda, the 42 year old singer who has been described as ‘one of the best flamenco artists of his generation’.

From my ornate four-seater opera box, I stare out over the audience. Every seat facing the narrow proscenium stage is taken, which is a huge tribute from this province where everyone lives and breathes flamenco, and where some of Spain´s greatest artists – ranging from Juan Breva and Paca Aguillera, to La Trini and El Nino de Velez – were born.  When the concert starts there is a sudden hush, which is an even greater tribute from this southern Spanish audience who generally greet every event of their lives at top volume.

The lights lift in a wide fan, illuminating Poveda and his seven piece band. He is small, with fine hands and expressive features. Despite singing with top artists, including Paco de Lucia and Passion Vega, Poveda is a humble artist and before he swings into his first number he tells the audience how much their participation gives him the courage to sing his songs: “Your heart gives my heart strength,” he tells them. They respond with cheers and friendly catcalls asking him to sing this, or that favourite song.

He explains  that there will be three parts to the two-hour show  First he says that he will sing his favourite songs ´because I enjoy doing them.” Next he tell us that he will sing the flamenco numbers and the third act will include several Argentine ballads.

If the first part of the show is enjoyable and the third part polished, the flamenco section is startling in its intensity. I thought that Poveda was sweating because of the 29 centigrade temperatures, but Miguel Poveda is an artist who sweats every line, every movement of the music he sings. When he interprets works by the great poet, Lorca, I don’t need to understand the words in order to   grasp the meaning of these Cante Jondo songs about broken hearts, death and despair – Poveda is like Houdini: a contortionist of flamenco art who wrings every meaning from every syllable and every tremulous note.

As Lorca stipulated in his famous lecture on the subject of Duende: ‘that mysterious power that everyone feels but no philosopher can explain’, Poveda battles with Duende and he surrenders to Duende. Best of all he takes his audience along for a roller coaster ride.