Every year, in the middle of July, the Benicàssim Festival (Festival Internacional de Benicassim) transforms a small, rather upmarket coastal town north of Valencia on the ‘Orange Blossom Coast’ into Spain’s biggest and best outdoor modern music festival. FIB or Beni, as it’s often known, has been around since 1995 and it just goes from strength to strength, both with the quality of the artists performing there and in terms of its all-round ‘festivalness’.
Attracting musicians and festival goers from all over the world, the music events themselves are spread over 4 days, usually starting at around 5 in the afternoon and going on all through the night until about 8 the next morning. The campsite, however, is available for 9 days in total and the atmosphere generated in and around the festival site is entirely unique.
Some of music’s greats have appeared at FIB over the years. Artists as iconic as Brian Wilson, Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, The Cure, Bjork, Oasis, Blur, Lou Reed and many, many more have played here. Each year the line-up is sure to be full of some of the headline names in indie rock, pop and electronic music as well as some of the musicians on the cusp of international stardom. There are more than 100 separate acts highlighted every year, performing on four separate stages. And when the live music stops, some of the best-known and most high profile DJs around, keep the music pumping. ‘Beni’ really is something vey special.
Sponsored over the past few years by Heineken, the Benicàssim Festival, in addition to offering the best in music, also includes a varied programme of art, theatre, cinema, fashion and dance. The largest stage is the Escenario Verde, where the headline acts perform, but there are also stages in the Biberfib, FIB-Club and Pista Pop tents as well as the Mustang Fashion Tent. The whole complex covers about 120,000 square metres, with excellent eating and shopping facilities on site as well as suitable access and facilities for the disabled. The camp site, Campfib, is right next door. And all of this just a stone’s throw from the sea!
If you’re thinking of going to FIB in July one summer, then be aware that there are certain stipulations if you are bringing anyone under 18 with you. The law in Valencia actually prevents under 18s from attending on their own and you will need to provide certain documentation in order for them to be able to attend – and they must be accompanied by a parent or officially notarised person.
So, if you’re a festival lover but don’t fancy wading through the mud at a UK event, then, instead of packing your wellingtons and plastic macs, think about packing sun screen and shorts and heading for the Costa de Azahar. It’s easy to get to from Alicante, Valencia or Barcelona airports – either by road or rail. The weather is great, the music is even better and the atmosphere is unbelievable; you’ll soon understand exactly why Benicassim Festival has become one of the most longed for happenings of the Spanish summer.