Music festivals in Spain
Lilly Allen. FIB 2014.
Back in our summer issue (published last July), we provided you with a brief guide to Spain’s music festivals. Over the last few years, these events have brought a completely different kind of tourist to Spanish shores and we are certain that after looking at the line-ups, some of you started thinking about spending your next spring or summer holiday somewhere in Spain. So we thought it would be a good idea to make your planning easier, by providing the musical forecast for the next few months. No need to worry about the weather, because as you might already know, it’s very predictable down there, in a sunny kind of way. Music festivals in Spain cater for every palate: quirky pop, dubstep, breaks, hip hop, synth-pop, R&B, krautrock, dub, funk, jazz, experimental, ambient, techno, and all kind of hybrids and genre mashups are celebrated. Chronologically, the first one on our list is L.E.V. a project that aims to provide a panoramic, eclectic and qualitative vision of the ample spectrum of current genres that arise from the interface of visual arts and electronic music. It takes place in Gijón, a tiny, beautiful coastal town in Asturias, known for its gastronomy. It is also known for being one of the national hot spots for musical creation, the contribution of this little town to the Spanish indie and electronic scene is significant. This year they will be celebrating their 9th festival from the 30th of April until the 2nd of May. The line-up includes a high percentage of British artists, such as the legendary and influential Cabaret Voltaire, playing for just the second time in over 20 years and performing exclusively new material. There will also be the first - and to date the only - show confirmed in Spain from Blanck Mass, the project of Benjamin John Power (half of the duo Fuck Buttons), Brighton’s Gazelle Twin, and visual arts and electronic artist Paul Prudence. Also, providing a live cinematic experience, Polish electroacoustic musician Michal Jackazek will be performing his 2011 album “Glimmer”. His performance will be accompanied by visuals from Spanish artist Alba G. Corral, who is known for her stunning live audio-visual performances, where she integrates real-time coding and drawing in collaboration with musicians. If highbrow electronic art is not really your cup of tea, there is another festival on the first weekend of May that might be a bit more appealing, thanks to a broader line-up. Taking place in Murcia, SOS 4.8 Festival features music, art exhibitions and installations. Its line-up for this, its seventh edition, includes: Morrissey, The National, Metronomy, Years & Years, The Vaccines, Palma Violets, Glass Animals, Temples, Étienne de Crécy and 2 Many DJs, alongside some of the best current Spanish bands such as Hinds (fka Deers) and El Último Vecino, amongst others. Tickets are €48,99 for both days plus €20 for camping. The end of May is the time for one of the most important festivals on Spanish soil, Primavera Sound, which this year will be celebrating 14 years in existence. Dubbed as “one of the best-curated big festivals on the entire planet” by Stereogum, Primavera Sound mixes the line-ups of London’s Field Day, Pitchfork Festival, ATP and Coachella, and blends them with the coolest Spanish acts. This year’s line-up includes bands that have released great albums in the last year or so, such as Alt-J, Ariel Pink, Caribou, Chet Faker, Jungle, Panda Bear, Sleaford Mods, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Baxter Dury, Perfume Genius and Sun Kill Moon. It also features the Spanish exclusives of a number of shows, including Ride, Patti Smith performing her legendary album “Horses” and the return of Babes in Toyland after an almost two decade long hiatus, as well as Sleater Kinney who are back with a new album after ten years and Underworld who will be playing and celebrating 20 years since the release of their influential “Dubnobasswithmyheadman”. There will also be an array of new and exciting artists such as Soak, Childhood, Hookworms, Run The Jewels and Ibey, alongside Spanish acts such as Perro, Les Sueques, Boreals and Mourn. They will play amongst long established and popular bands such as Interpol, The Strokes and Belle & Sebastian. This festival is perfect for people who are not into camping, as it takes place in the city and the area is full of hotels and apartments to rent. A three day ticket costs €185. Since 1993, Barcelona has also been the city where fans of electronic music gather in June, for Sónar. This world-renowned festival has been providing the Spanish audience with the most cutting edge acts in electronic music for 22 years now. This year the line-up includes big names such as Autechre, Hot Chip, Squarepusher, The Chemical Brothers and Flying Lotus, as well as some of the most interesting artists of recent years, such as Jamie xx, Powell, Seth Troxler, The 2 Bears, KTL, Daniel Avery and Die Antwoord. It will also feature some of the most impressive new talent, including Kate Tempest, FKA Twigs, Ten Walls, Sophie, Holly Herndon, Cashmere Cat, Tourist, Swindle and Klara Lewis, alongside some of the most interesting Spanish acts such as Niño, PXXR GVNG, LCC, Headbirds and Desert. Aside from the music, Sónar also hosts Sónar+D - a festival within a festival that gathers and exhibits the best examples of technological innovation and creativity from all over the world, with a programme that includes experimental robotics, art exhibitions, cinema, lectures and installations. The festival takes place from the 18th to the 20th of June and the price of a three day ticket is €195. On the second weekend of July (9th-10th) BILBAO BBK Live takes place in Bilbao. It was nominated as the best foreign festival at last year’s UK Festival Awards and this year the line-up includes: Disclosure, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Alt-J, Future Islands, Azealia Banks and Of Montreal amongst others. Spanish names include Delorean and Dover. Three day tickets including camping cost €123. The Guggenheim, one of the coolest modern and contemporary art museums in the world, is also in Bilbao, so we strongly advise you to book a couple of extra days and get a visit in. Bilbao is also probably one of the best cities for a foodie to explore, as it is well known for having some of the best tapas in the country (as well as the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants in the world in the neighbouring San Sebastian). A week later, from the 17th to the 20th of July, over 30 thousand people head to Benicàssim festival in Castellón, which for years has been the festival of choice for indie kids who also like electronic music. One of the strong points of this festival is its proximity to the beach and the free camping area just steps away from the venue. Located on the outskirts of a lovely coastal town (with loads of restaurants with great paella), this year’s line-up includes: The Prodigy, Portishead, Florence + The Machine, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, JamieT, Kaiser Chiefs, Public Enemy and a DJ set from Mark Ronson. It also features Spain’s most successful rock bands: Hinds (fka Deers) and cult indie band Los Planetas. Just down the coast, in Benidorm, is Low Cost Festival. It takes place from the 24th-26th July, with ticket prices that range from €58 to €135 including camping. Headliners this year are The Libertines, Kasabian and The Drums. If you want to get to know the contemporary Spanish music scene, this festival is your best bet, with Grupo de Expertos Solynieve, Nacho Vegas, Delafé y las Flores Azules, Nueva Vulcano and many more all playing. With musical offerings such as these, and the strength of the pound against the euro, it would be crazy not to plan a holiday in Spain over the next few months. Having been to most of these festivals ourselves, we can’t think of a better way to enjoy what we love the most: sun and music. Acquiring a natural suntan, pre or post festival, a couple of hours away from home, is our definition of utter bliss. More information at Spn Magazine