After a 2500 mile round trip in the car, we have returned from the East coast of Spain. I'm still absolutely shattered, but the white-hot desire to tell you about everything is great. I kept a wee diary on here for the first few days, but logistics and technology meant that I couldn't do the last day. To sum it up, there was lots of fun and then a giant drive that begun shortly after New Order finished! A couple of Supajammers have remained in Spain for Costa de Fuego next week (and you can join them) so the journey back was less cramped.
But what of the actual festival you ask? Well, let's get down to business. As with my similar article for Hop Farm, I'll be looking at the top 5 acts from the festival and the top 5 general features about it.
Top 5 Sets of Benicassim 2012, click names for reviews:
5 - Maverick Sabre
Near the end of his set a Spanish guy grabbed me and forced me to write Sabre's name on his phone so he can check him out later. Funnily enough, it was a similar recommendation that had lead to me finding out about him a while back. Once you get him, you want to tell people about him. He's had a good start to his career, but I see him gradually building into a fascinating artist. Drawing the short straw of playing on the second stage during Noel Gallagher and Stone Roses, he would've been missed by many people. But for those who didn't fancy a nostalgia trip, this was a treat.
4 - De La Soul
This was one hell of an opportunity for De La Soul. Bumped up from the second to the main stage at the last minute after Florence's cancellation, it looked like they belonged here all along.
Opening the main stage on the first day, these guys had a small but fresh crowd to work with. Possibly a bit gimmicky, but in the showcase festival environment that doesn't matter too much. An instrumental act, who only spoke Spanish between songs, Los Tiki Phantoms still connected with the audience throughout the show better than many of the other acts.
2 - Django Django
These guys have intrigued me for a while. I've liked what I've heard, but wasn't expecting such a fun live experience.
1 - At the Drive-In
I managed to get into the photo pit for this show, the first European gig by the band in over ten years. The crap phone pictures that I got don't do justice to the pulsating electricity of the show, so I'm sparing you them. If you go to gigs every week, you'll be lucky to feel an atmosphere this intense once. Ever.
Top 5 Features of Benicassim 2012
5 - The Diversity
It's a bit of an airy-fairy thing to say, but I was pleased with how well the diversity of acts worked at the festival. Chase & Status played on the same stage and night as Bob Dylan. Oddly, it worked! It didn't feel random, like some festivals with "eclectic" line-ups do.
4 - The Spanish Bands
There weren't that many, which was a shame as the ones that were on were of a good quality, entertaining, and probably wouldn't be popping up in the UK this Summer. We managed to catch Pony Bravo, Tuya, Chin Yi and Los Tiki Phantoms. Some local residents have complained about the comparative lack of Spanish artists on the bill, I sympathise with them. I understand the need to appease the (70%) British crowd, but I think there is definitely room and a desire for more local talent.
3 - Don't Look Back in Anger
This deserves its own slot. The gargantuan singalong of the ultimate 90s festival song reminded the Stone Roses that the inevitable eventual Oasis reunion will make theirs look miniscule.
2 - The Area
Snuggled in the Desert de les Palmes mountain range along the Costa del Azahar, the town of Benicassim is a gorgeous little place. The dramatic backdrop, generous weather and local town help to give FIB a unique flavour. The beach is a lazy stroll away, there is a waterpark just over the road from the festival site and many of the locals were overwhelmingly friendly.
1 - The Stage Times
What a boring thing to put at number 1, but hear me out. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, due to the heat the festival commences far later in the day than most of ours. This alters not just your sleep pattern, but the way you experience the festival. In Britain, only the headliner usually gets the atmospheric privilege of a nightime slot. Out here, approximately four acts per night (on each stage) will be performing under the cover of darkness.
This means that you can effectively pick your own headliner. Each night there is at least one artist who should be able to give you that ultimate feeling you want from a headline festival act. That arms raised in the air Shawshank moment beneath the stars, the grail of festivals. As New Order finished, a stream of older Brits left the front of the crowd while many of the locals filled their spaces for David Guetta. Neither one would've felt like they'd got less of a festival experience.
As usual, I'm sure I missed out something that was amazing. Did you go? What were your favourite bands, features or moments? Write them in the comments box below, I'm dying to know.
Andy is a Supajam writer who has been a small-fry at numerous Commerical, BBC and Student radio stations over the last 6 years. He is also a music promoter in the South-East of the UK. He has a website where he interviews musicians with only one question, and he is currently typing in third-person. You can tweet abuse at him if you fancy letting off some steam.