I can’t quite decide whether I’m miserable and bitter about one of the best weeks of my life being over, or still revelling in some of the moments that took place in Benicassim as part of ticking off that ambition I spoke about before the weekend previewing the festival. An atmosphere that defines festivalling in a beautiful part of the world – days where during the day you’re on the beach or at a water park and at night you’re enjoying some of the best in the world at what they do.
€0.30 cans of 8.5% Amstel, Champagne Supernova, 35°+ sunshine. It was a week that I had high expectations of, and the aches and pains I’ve brought back with me go some way to explaining just how good the festival was. It’s a surreal atmosphere, take music fans from every town in the North West and fly them out from Manchester – duplicate that across the country and you have a coastal town that for 7 days is almost entirely British. In fact, there was a moment during The Cribs set (a review of which is to follow) when the front few rows had so many familiar faces in, the gig could’ve been down the road at home.
When you realise it’s a tough ask to have a lie-in after the sun comes up, the best way to go is to get to the beach and have your own siesta. A random local woman squirted her own breast milk all over my face on the Sunday (it gets weirder every time I think about it), there are plenty of these anecdotes, but that stands out as a culture shock – it didn’t taste that nice. Head back after tea and the music starts in the mid-evening, the headline acts; Florence and The Machine, The Prodigy, Blur (again, there’s more to come on this set) and Portishead started around 1am. After that, it easily reaches 5 or 6am quickly. South Beach is the place to be until then, a pool party with music that sampled Nirvana, Fatboy Slim and so much more throughout the weekend.
The king himself, Noel Gallagher, blessed the festival with the genius of his talent – any doubts of his own solo albums are now put to bed. The combinations of those new tracks with some Oasis classics was a recipe for a stand out set from the weekend – one I’m looking forward to revisiting with a review.
Experience is valuable, and there are plenty things I can take away from this year to learn from. Fly spray doesn’t work very well, the Costum supermarket by the beach sells vodka-based mixes that’ll hurt your upper body but will make you dive around like Florence, avoid the portaloos (especially in the heat), and don’t arrive on Thursday having missed the start of the week on the campsite – there are fantastic people there to meet that enhance the whole event so much, they also make regrettable decisions for you, but you’re on holiday so it doesn’t really count.
Keep an eye out for reviews on Jamie T, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Blur and The Cribs.
I’m going to sleep now.