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XII Festival Internacional de Benicassim review

published: Thu 27th Jul 2006

Thursday 20th to Sunday 23rd July 2006
near Valencia, Spain, Spain
£105 (plus fees) for a 4 day pass or £97 (plus fees) for a 3 day pass
last updated: Wed 19th Apr 2006

The 12th Benicassim festival has been dubbed "Glasto Del Mar" by some. While Glastonbury, the UK's favourite annual party in a field, took a well-earned sabbatical it seemed half of the UK were heading over to Spain for the festival by the seaside with the guarenteed sunshine, so eFestivals thought we had better go along too and see what all the fuss is about...

This was my first Benicassim so we were rather unsure what to expect. It is always a little nerve-wracking travelling independently in a different country but on arrival at Valencia airport on the Tuesday we found it easy to spot the help desk where we could buy bus tickets to take us directly to the festival campsite. We had been told that this journey cost 5 euros each way last year, but not so this year: 20euros return seemed a rather cynical 100% hike in price. Still, roughly £7 each way still wasn't bad value for an hour long bus ride that dropped us off exactly where we wanted to go, so we boarded the bus and got on our way.

On arrival at the Bonet campsite things got a little more complicated. We were told by the festival staff that greeted us that we would not be able to stay on the Bonet site, but as our friends were already camped and saving us a space we managed to convince the staff to let us in. And it was a good job we did: a friend of ours who arrived on a later flight that day was dropped off at Bonet by the festival airport bus only to be told that no one else was being allowed in and that there would be no other campsites opened until the next day. Fortunately my friend was able to find somewhere to stay in town, but had he not had the funds to pay for a room or the luck in finding a vacancy I'm pretty sure he would have had to sleep on the beach as I heard many did that night.

Being that this festival is in Spain, the heat was always going to be an issue, but it was still a massive shock to us even after the 37c weekend we'd just had in the UK. The sun woke you soon after sunrise, driving you from your sweaty tent too soon. It was then nigh on impossible to do anything before the sun went down apart from laze about. Though the Bonet campsite was lovely and shady with a canopy of young trees to shelter you from the sun, those same trees also held in the heat from all the sweaty camping bodies, making it the hottest place in town during the day. Bonet's 24hr bar and take away seemed to be the coolest place on site and it quickly filled up with sleeping refugees from the heat once the sun came up each day.

One of my main gripes with this festival was the provision of water. There were no drinking water taps on site whatsoever either at the Bonet campsite (I can't speak for Mercat or CamFIB) or at the arena site itself which I felt was downright dangerous given the temperatures. However the toilet and shower blocks on site seemed like home-from-home luxury after UK festivals. While they were often busy at peak times with long queues, they were cleaned regularly and were light and cool with individual shower cubicles, wash rooms and even power points. I have always felt that "showering is cheating" at UK festivals, but in the Spanish heat resistance is futile and I queued up next to the girls with their hair straighteners and bulging make-up bags. To me, this seemed like festivalling 5* style!

On Tuesday and Wednesday before the festival began we amused ourselves around the town, visiting the Aquarama water park, the beach, eatting out around town and drinking the cheap booze that could be found in the Lidl near Bonet campsite. The beach was a fun place to go in the evenings, where a real party atmosphere could be found; we met loads of friendly people and swam in the bath-warm sea until dawn.
review by: Lynsey Haire

Thursday 20th to Sunday 23rd July 2006
near Valencia, Spain, Spain
£105 (plus fees) for a 4 day pass or £97 (plus fees) for a 3 day pass
last updated: Wed 19th Apr 2006


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