FIB Festival, Benicassim, Spain, July 2006
A festival in England’s or Ireland’s rolling countryside is one thing, but for a real summer holiday with beats & breaks, you can’t beat the Med coast, and if it’s real heat you’re after, you can’t do much better than Spain in July. Benicassim is a Spanish resort north of Valencia, but we used it as an excuse to go to Barcelona again, for a night or two before, and then a shower after, the festival. I had been to Fiber FIB Benicassim once before in 2002 with a load of mates when I went back to the UK on a holiday, and was dying to go again. Again, we got a load of people (mostly Kiwis) we knew who loved travelling & gigging, and headed off to España! Routine is important when on holiday, an adjustments were needed in 38 degrees celcius. Thus we rose as soon as the sun pushed the temperatures in our tent to nearly combustion level, then we'd gather our things and traipse via the town to get a desayunos, and head to the beach for the day where we would basically erect a shanty town for shade, out of sun shelters, pagodas… even a shopping trolley for anti-wind weighting one day. Once there we paddled, drank cerveza, ate tapas and chilled through the hottest parts of the day - after all, the headline bands did not come on stage until after midnight because of this damned heat. As it gets dark you all filter into teh music site, and gulp huge beers all night while going mad. I should mention what we call the ‘Spanish Free Pour’ as well: when buying spirits you really did have to say when. The bar staff were not shy. Oh, and special mention of a great bar policy where if you returned 10 empty cups to a bar, you got a free drink. Yep, keep the place tidy and get smashed at the same time. Bands? Well, it was Pixies that got us there, and they were awesome - even after having to leave the stage because of a crush up front. They returned and played a blinder, sped the whole set up furiously. Around them The Futureheads were great, and Franz Ferdinand were brilliant - both wonderfully angular guitar bands you can dance to. Besides that Depeche Mode were awesome, and well, if you see them in Europe you really get to see band worship first hand, they are enormous there. Placebo were rocky, but not sure I can take a whole set of them; Editors were a pleasant surprise; The Strokes looked and sounded not at their peak; and Scissor Sisters were kitsch and entertaining, but didn’t hold my attention that well. On a smaller stage we watched Eddie Argos and Art Brut cause havoc with Anglo/Spanish relations - he is just too quick and random to translate - he was hilarious. Strangely I have best memories (even more than than Pixies!) of Echo & The Bunnymen - at first I had to explain who they were to some whippersnapper. Travesty. It was almost incongruous seeing them in that line up, surrounded by the camp disco of Scissor Sisters, or the righteous pomp of Morissey… yet I think the big night sky and outdoor venue just suited their big reverby sound, and ‘The Killing Moon’ nailed it perfectly.