Sun, sea, sangria and erm sunburn- yep the summer festivals have truly begun as thousands of music fans invaded the small town of Benicassim, for one of Europe’s biggest festivals- here are some of the highlights:
Kicking off on the main stage, Ray Davis really got the crowd going with an old favourite ‘You really got me’, he pulled an impressive crowd showcasing that he’s still got the kick of the Kinks- delivering tracks spanning his whole career. After this i caught a glimpse of Temper Trap on the FIB.Com stage where they drew a respectable crowd, more so for ‘Sweet Disposition’- but that was expected.
Finishing the first day of over on the main stage Tom Meighan swaggers on stage sporting a leather jacket and sunglasses- the true rock star, as first headliners Kasabian kicked off the festival to 30,000 eager fans. However, the lack of sound from the speakers was apparent straight away, they may as well have just put a wind up radio on stage. From what I managed to hear they stormed through a strong set of their back catalogue, ending on ‘L.S.F’- just turn the speakers up next time lads.
Friday saw Mumford and Sons give a hearty performance that drew a hefty crowd much to their surprise -‘we didn’t think anyone would turn up’. The sharp quick riff of ‘Little lion man’ lifted the crowd into hysterics, and rounded a brilliant set by the west Londoners.
Followed by a sequinned up Alison Goldfrapp that brought some glamour to the stage as she gave a solid performance. With hits from 2003’s ‘Black Cherry’ to the retro-electro disco glitter of 2005’s ‘Supernature’ to their recent album ‘Head First’- definitely Lovely 2 C U Goldfrapp.
Fresh faced New Yorkers Vampire Weekend came out all guns blazing to headline the Verde Stage, opening on the chirpy ‘Holiday’ that seemed to fit the festival nicely. Playing all the jumpy tracks ‘A-punk’ and ‘Cousins’ that went down a storm, then getting the crowd involved for ‘One (Blake’s got a new face)’- clarified to me that Vampire Weekend are a definite festival band and will be around for years to come.
Running over to the FIB.com stage for Calvin Harris (via the red bull tent for an energy burst of course) – proved to be a good choice as Calvin was manic from the get go. Playing his signature single ‘Acceptable in the 80’s’, not before all of his hits that really got the crowd jumping- a brilliant way to end Friday night.
Saturday saw another British legend Ian Brown take to the Verde stage- speaking the local lingo seemed to get the whole crowd behind him. Ending on the classic Stone Roses hit ‘Fools Gold’ was a personal highlight.
Mad men Prodigy turned it up a level as the highly anticipated crowd lifted into hysteria as the beat dropped on the opening track ‘Break & Enter’- madness unfolded. Hammering out all the old favourites ‘Voodoo people’ and ‘Poison’ – my personal highlight was the now expected moment where 80,000 people were told to ‘get down’ for the climax of ‘Smack my bitch up’- the ground shook. Defiantly the most eccentric and electrifying performance of the festival- no doubt.
Wrapping up Saturday night the Klaxons are back playing most of their new album ‘Surfing the Void’ on the Verde stage, that went down rather well.
Kicking off Sunday on the Verde stage were The Courteeners who seemed to have a bit of a grudge. As lead singer Liam Fray voiced his opinions on the media and to remind everyone where they’re from- having a bit of a Gallagher moment. Leaving ‘Not nineteen forever’ and their new single ‘You overdid it doll’ till the end- sealing a confident, but not all that impressive set.
Ellie came out nervously on the main stage to her biggest performance to date, Lily Allen had cancelled due to ‘illness’ (second year in a row coincidence?) – Miss Goulding stepped up to take her place & as Ellie rightly pointed out- ‘as you’ve noticed I’m not Lily’ but I reckon she definitely made up for her absence with a brilliant set. She seemed to gain more confidence throughout the set, feeding off of the ever growing support- and by the end I just wanted to hug her. Like a proud mother.
Always a winner Dizzie Rascal brought his A game, sending the crowd bonkers for an hour of madness. Urging the crowd to dance, well with tunes such as ‘Holiday’ and ‘Fix up look sharp’ it was hard not to. From the Dizzie heights of the rascal’s performance the crowd were on a high for the final headliners Gorilliaz, however it wasn’t the climax I’d hoped for- even with special guest De la Soul. The only thing that impressed me was the stage décor. Playing most of their new album ‘Plastic Beach’ which was rather monotonous and didn’t get the crowd going. They ended on ‘Clint Eastwood’- the only track that seemed to kick a bit of energy into the audience.
After four days of none stop music that about wraps Benicassim up for another year, bring on the next one.
Benicassim takes place every year in Castellón, Spain near Valencia and is one of Europes biggest festivals, they offer an unprecedented 9 day camping pass. You should check out more info here.