Travel of the Week: FIB festival. Benicassim

FIB 2015 is well started by now, if only building up with excitement, wristband collection and first birras.  Having shared amazing and exhilarating times with Tere since the beginning of it all, 20 years ago,  with a gap here and there, it’s sad having to miss it again, this year’s being specially poignant.

  Worth going this year just for Prodigy.  Seen them 3 spectacular times in 3 different festivals. Last time I don’t think I stopped jumping up and down for the whole performance, and that was being completely sober, so if you are not, even better.

  Damon Albarn is coming back, this time with Blur. Hope timers are not around, going by their performance in Roskilde, so hopefully they will get so into it that festival goers get a very special treat for many hours.

  Palma Violets are the other must.  And I do have to admit a soft spot for Reverend and the Makers.  Worth mentioning Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Florence + the Machine, Ham Sandwich, if you are into that kind of Eurovision.  Fine to hold beer while  making new friends.   In any case, there’s plenty to check before giving into electronica.

  It does sounds a bit poppy though and much bigger names have played such as Queens of The Stone Age, Placebo or The Killers.  With the increasing competition of the many festivals around, it is difficult to see an amazing line up, as each one scraps for what they can get.  The festival tours get organised in some office anyway, and the performances get sold in packages.  Even Reading is a bit mja this year.  Metallica aside.  Ok, and The libertines.

  Locals, however, are now favouring to ArenalSound in nearby Burriana.  The Hives, The Subways, The Ting Tings, We are Scientist,  and lots of Spanish produce called things like La Sra. Tomasa o El Ninyo de la Hipoteca y los Ratones.  Ok, and Mika.  But this one is not a festival that takes itself that seriously.  It’s just for fun and dancing.  No one thinks they are going to learn about music or see an amazing performance.

  Rototom, the reggae festival, a month later in the same place, is a completely different story.  It is very reggae.

  This is an all night festival that lasts 3.5 days, saying that because Thursday is quieter, with only a handful of bands playing; closing earlier.  It used to be called the warm up.  Doors open at 5pm but the atmosphere only begins to come together after 9pm, closer to 11pm really, which is when other festivals begin to wrap up.  So many first timers miss the headliners, playing around 2am or 3am as they drop drunk around the borders.  You get kicked out by 8am, then we had to face 45 mins to 1 1/2 hours walking home, depending on energy spent through the night and beer intake, facing the raising sun and then along the beach, while the town peacefully wakes up,  strolling around still holding the last litre beer.

  What it was pretty special was the rave in the Torreon beach, by a XVI century tower, as festival closing party.  The lasers suited the beautiful 7km beach perfectly, reflecting on the beach alongside the moon.  It wan entrancing.  Not quite Thailand Full Moon party, but you get the idea.  I guess noise, rubbish, people swimming naked, or finding a not very hidden place to shag along the beach may have caused enough complaints.  Shame.

  The arena itself is a very small area by festival standards, with a city vibe, despite being perched between mountains and beach.  Girls tend to wear sandals and guys flip flops.  I think the medical services find that annoying, but there you are.   So the area is small, you won’t find that much space for hanging around or getting lost.  You won’t see families with very small kids picnicking like you see in other festivals.  Again, this is an all nighter.  You are walking on cement and seating on grass, which always, always beats mud.  Of course there are portaloos all over, but one of the highlights it’s the built loos on the middle, including people handing toilet paper at the entrance.  If you have rough it up at some festivals, you will understand the delightful luxury of it.  

  So it’s a holiday too.  Little chance of raining, but it has happened and the sand storm is well remembered. No wellies, no mud, but try sleeping in a tent at midday after having been dancing all night.  A tent facing the sun.  The midday sun.  The midday July Spanish sun.  You may wish for a bit of rain then.   That’s why many, on their second night, wisely, decide  to go and have a keep at the beach.  Until they wake up and realise that the tree has moved.  Or the shadow anyway.  But hey, what’s a beach without prawns?

  Mountains and historical towns are at hand if you are not really into lying on the sand.  There is also theatre, fashion shows and other stuff, usually around siesta or beach time, which is why I have never really, and I am ashamed of it, done any of it.  Except one year when we went to the annual football match artists against press, which was good fun, but not necessarily worth the 1 hour walk in the afternoon sun.  Entertaining enough if your tent is near by.

In memory


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