There are better ways to spend a Friday night than hiding from gale-force winds huddled in an empty paddling pool at 2am while horizontal torrents of sand and dust whip the skin from your face and loose tents fly overhead. Preferably, you’d be getting pissed round a campfire having cheered on Kings of Leon earlier, given that’s why you’re out in the Spanish seaside town of Benicàssim in the first place. But, as has been well documented, the Friday night of Benicàssim Festival was something of a disaster.
Luckily, it was a minor blip in an otherwise stellar journey...
All festivals should be held in July, in a location sandwiched between stretches of picture-perfect Mediterranean coastline and mountains, in mid-thirties sun under deep blue skies. And should last a week. Why endure cold grey morning trips to Reading’s Lidl and McDonalds when you can get fresh watermelon and ice creams every 100 yards on your walk to the beach? When that heat hits you stepping off the plane – real heat too, even well into the evening – you’re reminded this is a far cry from the usual music festival scenario. Increasingly, European festivals are going from strength to strength, attracting the biggest names in music and the biggest crowds from across the world; some 250,000 people in total were expected over the four evenings of music, with close to two-thirds camping for the whole week. It’s more than a festival, Benicàssim; the 8-day pass gives the crowds free reign over the otherwise quiet-looking town. But after three days of pure sunshine spent flitting between the sea and supermarkets, the largely young and English-speaking invasion wanted some music. Owing to the heat, however, the music doesn’t start until 8pm – or you’d actually have deaths at the front of the stage.