Despite the growing fears of cancellation, the nineteenth instalment of Benicassim festival went ahead as planned, much to the delight of us Brits! There’s nothing we enjoy more than the chaotic cocktail of great music, alcohol and a little bit of sunshine.
However, the sweet relief of blue skies and scorching weather was definitely short-lived. After the first night it became apparent that sleeping past 9am was unbearable, especially as the gruelling task of actually finding your tent and proceeding to get into it happened only 3 hours earlier! Don’t get me wrong though, you do become accustomed to the early morning task of frantically tugging at zips just to feel a waft of ‘fresh air’. The unison of ‘slug-like’ appearances and movements brought every camp-site community that little bit closer…
It was definitely a relief when the sun began to set and the first night of the festival actually arrived.
Thursday night welcomed the trippy sound of Temples, serving up the perfect setting as the sun bowed down. The ability to transport us so effortlessly to that “twilight zone” is striking. The whimsical psychedelic drench of the 60’s emits throughout their set, with ‘Colours To Life’, ‘Prisms’ and ‘The Shelter Song’ proving to be massive hits with the crowd. That Bolan/Lennon blend is endearing beyond all measures, evoking even the stiffest of stiffs to twirl dreamily on the spot.
Queens Of The Stone Age need no real introduction, what can I say? Explosive, fervent and on fire! Opening with ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ the crowd relishes Homme as he truly embraces and commands the main stage. Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ also trickles into the opening song to the delight of many. The band played a lot of their new material from latest album ‘…Like Clockwork’, despite a lot of the audience not knowing many of the songs, it did not falter the energy and excitement. There were of course the classics, ‘No One Knows’ and ‘Gunna make it wit chu’. Suffice to say QOSTA totted up a few more fans that very night…
In true Liam Gallagher style, he rocked up in his anorak and stood like a statue throughout the majority of Beady Eye’s set on the Friday. Frustrating though his presence is, he does have one, and this kept a lot of the crowd transfixed. “That’s enough living in the past”, were the words falling from his mouth after he smashed two of the Oasis classics; ‘Rock N Roll Star’ and ‘What’s The Story Morning Glory’. It’s a strange emotion; you just want to love Beady Eye because, hey, it’s Liam! It’s just the apparent lack of interest and the fact that, aside from the Oasis songs, only ‘The Roller’ caused a stir throughout the dispersing crowds.
Fortunately Primal Scream turned it up as lead singer Bobbie Gillespie quite literally bounced onto the stage. His infectious enthusiasm sent ripples through the crowd as the band jumped into classics, ‘Movin’ On Up’ and ‘Loaded’. The surge of excitement, passion and Scottish flags did not waver throughout, with Bobbie’s intoxicated movements driving the crowd wild!
Saturday saw The Arctic Monkeys stepping onto the stage to rapturous applause, opening with their new single ‘Do I Wanna Know’ before hitting ‘Brianstorm’ and ‘Dancing Shoes’. Alex Turner’s sultry strut makes it difficult for your eyes to venture elsewhere. The stripped back version of ‘Mardy Bum’ was a massive hit with the crowd before leaping into ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’. The Arctic Monkeys just kept rolling them out, hit and after hit, and with the appearance of Miles Kane in the encore, it just topped off a superb night!
Finally we arrive at Day 4 of the festival and spirits are still running high. An electric performance from the Palma Violets kicked off the tone for the evening. Loud, feisty, brash and a band that really couldn’t give a f***. It was amazing to see a bit of life and naughtiness, yet amongst the intoxication they give a stella performance. With the great ‘Best of Friends’, ‘Chicken Dippers’ and ‘Johnny Bagga’ Donuts’ filling the sky, it was refreshing to see a bit of mayhem!
A few hours after, Jake Bugg casually strolls in, giving a truly spectacular performance from start to finish. The well-known hits ‘Lightning Bolt’, ‘Two Fingers’ and ‘Trouble Town’ was outstanding, standing on one spot his modest talent oozes out. The simplicity of his set made it that extra special and with the acoustic ‘Country Song’ and ‘Broken’, hearts melted.
The final headliner of the four days was The Killers. Surprisingly they opened with ‘Mr Brightside’ and continued to conduct a unanimously chanting choir throughout all of their early classics: ‘Somebody Told Me’, ‘Human’ and ‘Smile Like You Mean It’. Brandon Flowers proceeded to converse in Spanish throughout some of the set, how accurate this was, the majority of us will never know. They concluded with a barrage of lights, fireworks and ‘When You Were Young’, a very fitting end to an epic festival, and they certainly milked it.
So there you have it, an entire week of excess in every means.
Would I do it again?
Words by Amy Morrison