Trying to decide how best to spend your well earned money this summer? Can’t quite choose between a sunny break abroad or a hip festival with all your favourite bands? Look no further than Benicassim, a summer holiday experience like no other, incorporating elements of both holiday by the beach and awesome music festival.
Benicassim is a five day, four night music festival, similar to many of the British ones you will be used to. However, it happens to be located bang in the middle of Barcelona and Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. With guaranteed blue sky and no chance of rain, you’d be hard pushed to find a nicer place to have a festival. Forget the wellies, raincoats and fleeces; you won’t need these in Spain. At Benicassim the attire is strictly shorts, t shirts and swimming costumes.
Music and beach lovers alike will fall for this festival as it boasts a number of high quality acts (think Stone Roses, Bob Dylan, Arctic Monkeys and The Streets to name but a few), all the while located just a 10 minute bus ride from the long beaches of Spain’s east coast. This is seriously not a festival to miss; it’s the ultimate way to spend your summer!
Whilst it isn’t a simple car journey away like most festivals, Benicassim is surprisingly simple to get to. Flights to both Barcelona and Valencia are quick and can be inexpensive, but make sure you book swiftly! From both cities there are direct trains and buses to the town of Benicassim, five minutes walk from the festival. Admittedly, this can be a hassle, especially on the way home when the cheapest bus is at 8AM and you decide it’s a good idea to not go to sleep, but trust me, all of this is well worth it when you factor in the enjoyment of the festival.
It cannot be overstated how nice the camping is at Benicassim. For someone who has endured horrible windy and rainy conditions at the hands of English weather, the constant sun in Benicassim is a joy to experience. The sunshine means that sitting around the campsite all day is a real and enjoyable possibility, with no chance of having to hide in your tent for unexpected rain. The heat can obviously become too much at times, but the majority of the camping space is covered by artificial shade, and so it is very easy to hide from the sun. Make sure you take a roll mat or inflatable mattress as the ground can be difficult to lie on. If you do this, you’ll sleep soundly into the afternoon if necessary as the temperature cools to an extremely manageable level through the hours of darkness.
With regards to facilities, the showers are amazing, you never have to queue and have not felt refreshment until you’ve stood under one in the middle of a boiling hot afternoon. The toilets are also much better than their British counterparts, always one free and always kept in good condition – the only thing to remember is your own toilet roll!
As with any festival, the music takes precedence at Benicassim. Unlike other festivals, however, it is predominantly a night time festival, with the first acts on at 8PM and the real deal kicking off around 10PM. For this reason, the music goes on late into the night, the main stage closing at 4AM with DJ sets extending even beyond this. The main acts tend to be rock orientated, with recent headliners including New Order, The Strokes, The Killers and Vampire Weekend, but there is an increasing electronic scene with performers such as Hot Chip, Rudimental, Knife Party and Chase and Status. Because of this, Benicassim is recommended for anyone, without having to choose just one genre of music.
Day time relaxation
With music and partying occupying your night time, the day time at Benicassim is all about relaxing. There are endless options, ranging from quiet time at the campsite to rest that aching head, to living it up on the beach. If somehow you’re feeling better than expected after the previous night, you’d do well to head to the beach, a short walk (or even shorter bus ride) from the campsite. At the beach you can chill, you can eat, you can even hire out a banana boat!
Even closer to the festival is Benicassim the town, which is just what you’d expect from a small Spanish town in a tourist area: great food; great places to drink; great nightclubs and cheap supermarkets. You’d be hard pushed to find a British festival with a town that nice in such close proximity to the festival. In terms of food and drink options, there are loads of places on the high street to buy food or eat in a restaurant. And the best part of it all is that prices are affordable! You won’t need to worry about breaking your budget here.
Now you know everything there is to know about Benicassim. Remember to wear sun cream and drink lots of water, and then concentrate on enjoying the top quality music and beating Spanish sun!
By Guy Robertson