JACKS Abroad: FIB Benicássim Festival – Day Four 21/07/2019
FIB Benicássim came to a close on Sunday after a rollercoaster 25th edition of the Spanish festival.
FIB Benicássim’s final day brought the likes of George Ezra, Franz Ferdinand and headliners… Vetusta Morla to the Spanish coastal town.
The festival had a lot of people scratching their heads with each announcement regarding the line-up leading up to this year’s instalment. One of the biggest surprises was the confirmation that the final headliner would be Madrid indie band Vetusta Morla.
Dubbed as one of the most important Spanish bands in recent history, maybe it would be justified. Yet as other festivals across Spain, including their hometown festival, Mad Cool only placed them roughly halfway through the billing, no where near a headline slot.
So when the day-by-day breakdown was revealed and chart-toppers George Ezra and Franz Ferdinand were shown to be on relatively early for their stature, it only added to the confusion.
This year definitely saw more Spanish bands than usual at the festival, which isn’t a bad thing and it would have made sense if Benicássim hadn’t already built its reputation by catering to a dominantly UK and Irish audience.
There were murmurs of budget issues for the festival, which wouldn’t be the first time. Is that why more homegrown artists featured and left their regular fans feeling underwhelmed? These are questions that the organisers most likely won’t answer, so we can only keep on playing the guessing game.
JACKS reviews music though, not business strategies and finances. First up on day four was George Ezra on the Las Palmas Stage.
Ezra has had an exceptional year since returning with his new album Staying At Tamara’s. His endearing charm lit up Benicássim, invoking huge singalongs and dancing as the sun began to set.
The ‘Barcelona’ singer created a camaraderie amongst the crowd as his booming voice echoed across the site. It was a heart-warming moment to see everyone around enjoying the uplifting music we were being treated to.
After rousing renditions of Ezra’s big hitters, Glasgow’s own big hitters, Franz Ferdinand stormed to the Las Palmas Stage.
Frontman Alex Kapranos ability to rile up even the tamest of people is a talent to behold. Where Kings of Leon failed the night before, Kapranos and co exceeded in leaps and bounds.
They rammed the hits down the throats of their audience and they couldn’t get enough. It was a dizzying show from the ‘Take Me Out’ band, with mosh pits littered throughout the crowd and the rest bouncing around.
The energy was electric and both the band and audience thrived off of it. While Kapranos demanded more from the people, he’d leap around the stage and looked eager to be in the crowd rather than on stage.
While it sounds like a cliché, Franz Ferdinand have become a band reborn in recent years and felt like the actual headliners rather than the warm up.
The buzz of the show was lost when a lot left to see anything else other than headliners Vetusta Morla. Another killer for a lot of people was the gap between Franz Ferdinand and the next name that might have been worth going to.
With an increase in prices for vouchers/tokens to buy drink, people were constantly making the 10 minute walk to return to their tents and get their own drink and end up staying there. For context, one token cost €3.00 and a large alcoholic drink cost three tokens, while water cost one token. Meaning it was €9.00 for a large drink and €3.00 for water.
With a line-up that underwhelmed and left many with slim pickings on who to watch, Benicássim felt like it was having an identity crisis.
It was revealed that FIB Benicássim has been sold for the third time in its 25 year history. The new owners run another Spanish festival called Arenal Sound, which is dominated by Spanish musicians. Could this mean that with their 15-year lease that was part of the deal, mean a new direction for the festival?
One thing is for sure, the organisers need to decide if it wants to continue targeting the UK and Irish audience or change and stick to homegrown artists. It was clear that, unfortunately, it can’t be both.
Missed out on our review from days one, two and three at FIB Benicássim? Click on the links below to catch up.
Day one, featuring Fontaines D.C. and Fatboy Slim – Click here.
Day two, featuring The Big Moon and Lana Del Rey – Click here.
Day three, featuring Blossoms and Kings of Leon – Click here.
Check out the full gallery from day four, below.
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