BENICASSIM FESTIVAL:
THE BEST FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD
 
 

    At least for me, the Benicassim festival is the best festival in the world, the one which delights me with more musical pleasures in the same weekend. This year I´ve felt the festival from different angles: as an artist, playing with Vacaciones; as a journalist and photographer, doing this modest e-zine; and as a fan, since I´ve always been and as I´ll always be there…

    This year has been held the fifth edition and more than 25000 people have come to the festival.

    Besides the musical activities, there have been other extra-musical activities such as films, theatre, fashion, and so on…

    One of the best features of this festival is that you can see all the concerts, as the two stages are not working at the same time, except for the dance stage.

    It´s a great festival where most of the bands who play here always want to repeat and come back again, such as The Chemical Brothers, and even there are some who come to the festival on their holiday, such as Saint Etienne´s Sarah Cracknell, that this year has chosen Benicassim to spend her holidays. All the artists can enjoy all the services of the backstage zone of the festival, like the swimming pool, the free bar, …

    The place for the festival has been the same that last year, and with the same installations: the two stages, the chill-out stage, and another stage where the fashion processions were hold, and that turned into a pop stage at 1am, with excellent Djs making us dance with the best pop music until dawn. And all the classical stands of every year. This year there has been a footbridge to reach the place, and a line of buses from the camping to the beach and to the place of the concerts, but the bad point is still the same: the camping is 40 min. from the place of the festival.

    Another nice point was the party the day before the festival in the cycle track where the festival was held some years ago, the place where some outstanding national bands were playing, such as: Jr., Ozone Babies, Flow and Vacaciones, and also Marine Research, followed by some Djs, like DJ Polar, Le Hammond Inferno and Fantastic Plastic Machine. There were more than 5000 people this night, and Marine Research came back again to Spain, after the sad Heavenly´s end. All the gigs were fine, and Marine Research played the songs from their album on Elefant records (in Spain, and on K in the rest of Europe and America) called "Song From The Gulf Stream" full of delicious pop pearls.

    As every year, there are some surprising bands, others that expect more than play, and some which can´t come in the end, like Ultrasound, High Llamas, Manic Street Preachers, and Kula Shaker this year.

    On Friday at the small stage, called "Viaje A Los Sueños Polares" we could see Freses, Iluminados, The Little Rabbits, Salako, Black Box Recorder and Bis. This is and has always been my favourite stage, as you can see the bands in the first rows, and there´s a more familiar and close atmosphere, but on the other hand, you have to put up with an unbearable hot. This first day I arrived a bit later, so I missed the first three bands: Freses, The Little Rabbits and Iluminados, but I was told that Iluminados had a lot of sound problems. Salakohad also some problems with the sound at first, but later they solved them, and we could enjoy two or three Salako´s songs sounding fine. But the two real surprises of the evening were Black Box Recorder and Bis. The first ones, the band lined-up by Sarah Nixey, John Moore and the "auteur" Luke Haines, were incredible, with their suggesting, smart and delightful melodies. The Bis´ vitaminic teen-pop made all of us dance with their eurodisco sound.

    At the main stage, called "Maravillas" I couldn´t see the national bands as Baked Beans and Australian Blonde. Gigolo Aunts delighted us with a nice power-pop gig. I loved Mercury Rev, Ocean Colour Scene and Blur gigs, because I´m a fan of them, but I have to recognize that they could make it better. Rinocerose were the last ones this day, and they made all of us dance with theit big show of flashes, lights and electronic-pop-with-guitars.

    On Saturday I arrived late again, so I couldn´t hear Kaplan, but a friend of mine told me I would have enjoyed them very much. But I arrived on time to listen to other two national bands, one that I didn´t like, such as Patrullero Mancuso, and one that I loved specially, Parade, as I think it´s one of the best current pop bands in Spain. After them, I could see Snowpony, with people from My Bloody Valentine and Echobelly in their line-up. After them, Arab Strap made some people sleep and took others into a strange atmosphere of sickness and tension. Dark Star were the last ones on this stage, and had some technical problems.

    At the main stage I missed again the national bands: Bogusflow and Sr. Chinarro. But after them, I could see five of the greatest shows of the festival: the mainstream but pleasant pop of the new british hype, called Travis; the odd but wrapping songs of Deus; the come back to the festival of one of the best bands in the world, The Charlatans, who made us dance with their hits from all over their albums; I can´t talk about Suede objectivily, as I´m a great fan of them, and this was my favourite gig all over the festival, and I even noticed some days later watching two songs on TV, that Brett had his voice a bit grunge, but they showed why they are one of the best bands in the world. Besides, they didn´t only play songs from their latest album "Head Music", they even played some Coming Up hits, and other unexpected ones from the first two albums. The last ones this night were The Chemical Brothers, who made us dance until the end of the night, despite the two lights cut-offs they had during their performance.

    On Sunday two of the best bands wouldn´t play, such as Manic Street Preachers and Kula-Shaker, but despite this, we could enjoy the rest of the chart this day. I enjoyed very much this afternoon the bands which played at the small stage. The Libs were the first ones. They are a spanish power-pop band with delightful songs. After them, the french Dominique A, took us into their particular atmosphere, and one of the best ones were The Delgados, who were really nice, with their scottish pop, but the best ones this day would be Hefner, one of the biggest surprises of the festival. They were very funny and talkative, so they took the audience into their pocket with a great attitude and good songs that reminded me to american bands such as Pavement. They had to play some bises after their gig, and this is very strange at this festival as only very few bands have ever got it.

    The main stage started with Niños Mutantes, that I missed, and after them I could see 4 great bands: Cinerama(my favourite band this night with so good songs that made me dream); Stereophonics (I prefer them live than on CD); The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (with a lot of energy bringing the blues and rock´n´roll roots up to date) and Automatics (one of the best national bands of the festival). Massive Attack didn´t sound badly, but they didn´t surprise me.

    I tried to visit the dance stage, but it was impossible to stay there as it was always very crowded of people. I could only see Andreas Dorau´s performance, and I was lucky because it was a good live show and very funny.

    Benicassim is still my favourite festival, and if you think you know a better festival, invite me and I´ll be there.

    The best 5 bands at FIB for:
 
 

Ruth (Vacaciones)
1-Cinerama
2-Marine Research
3-Bis
4-Black Box Recorder
5-Parade
Nacho (Yellow Melodies)
1-Marine Research
2-Hefner
3-The Delgados
4-Travis
5-Arab Strap
Ismael (Yellow Melodies)
1-Automatics
2-Blur
3-Jon Spencer
4-Mercury Rev
5-Gicolo Aunts
Lucas (Flirt)
1-Vacaciones
2-Ultrasound
3-Hefner
4-Jon Spencer
5-Patrullero Mancuso
Joan Vich (Primeros Pasitos)
1-Jon Spencer
2-Le Hammond Inferno
3-Patrullero Mancuso
4-Rinocerose
5-Cinerama
Jesús Llorente (Acuarela)
1-Hefner
2-Dominique A
3-Black Box Recorder
4-Suede
5-Arab Strap
Pedro (Grabaciones en el Mar)
1-Mercury Rev
2-Bogusflow
3-Arab Strap
4-Gigolo Aunts
5-The Delgados
Tanis (Jabalina)
1-Cinerama
2-Marine Research
3-Fantastic Plastic Machine
4-Vacaciones
5-The Charlatans
Felipe (Fresones Rebeldes, LTBE)
1-Andreas Dorau
2-Cinerama
3-Hefner
4-Vacaciones
5-Bis
Alfonso (Schwarz)
1-Snowpony
2-Arab Strap
3-Rinocerose
4-Jon Spencer
5-Innerzone Orchestra
Álex Loscos (Gallygows)
1-Les Rhythmes Digitales
2-Deus
3-Mercury Rev
4-Gigolo Aunts
5-
Luis Nácher (Circus Clown)
1-Deus
2-Jon Spencer
3-Hefner
4-Mercury Rev
5-Gigolo Aunts
Carlos (Cosmic)
1-Ocean Colour Scene
2-Rinocerose
3-Hefner
4-Travis
5-Stereophonics
Viginia (Isla Desierta Fanzine)
1-Cinerama
2-The Charlatans
3-Mercury Rev
4-Hefner
5-Suede
Xavi Guillaumes (Miracles For Sale Fanzine)
1-Gigolo Aunts
2-Suede
3-The Charlatans
4-Mercury Rev
5-Black Box Recorder
Carlos Revillo (Grasa e-zine)
1-Suede
2-Rinocerose
3-The Delgados
4-Hefner
5-Mercury Rev
Veronique
1-Suede
2-Hefner
3-Cinerama
4-The Delgados
5-Rinocerose
Maite
1-Gigolo Aunts
2-Mercury Rev
3-Suede
4-Cinerama
5-Deus
Marisa
1-Deus
2-Gigolo Aunts
3-Andreas Dorau
4-Suede
5-Mercury Rev
Jorge Caruso
1-Jon Spencer
2-Hefner
3-Massive Attack
4-Rinocerose
5-Deus
Germán
1-Hefner
2-Bis
3-Jon Spencer
4-Cinerama
5-Andreas Dorau
Diego
1-Suede
2-Massive Attack
3-Mercury Rev
4-Gigolo Aunts
5-Bis
Karletes
1-Flow
2-Mercury Rev
3-Suede
4-The Little Rabbits
5-The Libs
Pili
1-Bis
2-Marine Research
3-Hefner
4-Ocean Colour Scene
5-Suede

So, the best of FIB ´99 were:


According to the votes:

1- Hefner (12)
2- Mercury Rev (11) 
3- Suede (10)
4- Cinerama (8)
5- Gigolo Aunts (8)
6- Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (7)
7- Rinocerose (6)
8- Bis (5)
9- Deus (5)
10- Marine Research (4)
11- The Delgados (4)
12- Arab Strap (4)

According to EL PLANETA AMARILLO e-zine (Rafa Skam):

1- Suede
2- The Charlatans
3- Marine Research
4- Black Box Recorder
5- The Delgados
6- Cinerama
7- Bis
8- Hefner
9- Mercury Rev
10- Gigolo Aunts
11- Automatics
12- Parade

© Rafa Skam