Friday, July 15, 2011

Arriving at Benicassim

We spent the morning being spoiled with Spanish pastries and preserves by the only hotel staff member that spoke English, and finally having the luxury of both power and wifi at the same time in the restaurant. We aimed to leave at 9 and finally left around 12.30pm, aiming for Benicassim, the site of our first music festival, FiberFIB.

FiberFIB had been a point of debate for months. I’ve wanted to go since I was 16 and first heard that there was a music festival where you got 4 days of music and 8 days at the beach on the Mediterranean Coast of Spain, all for one ticket price. Courts on the other hand, was not looking forward to it. He likes metal music, and only metal music, and this festival offers nothing of that variety. In a few weeks time he gets two exclusively metal festivals nearly back to back so he gets his turn, but that didn’t make the idea of FiberFIB any more palatable.

Riding into Benicassim he was awestuck by the mass of beach that lay out before us and the crystal clear waters. Riding further towards the venue and being met with intense heat and dust clouds didn’t sit well. No one knew where we could park our bike so we kind of just left it in the middle of somewhere while we went and swapped our tickets for wristbands that would allow us access to the entire festival.

We took a gamble riding down what looked like a pedestrian path but did eventually find a carpark. It was only after we parked the bike that we realized we had to walk half way back the way we came to enter the campground. In 35-40 degree heat and riding gear it was probably the least fun 30 minutes of the trip.

Actually, the least fun we’ve had on the trip came after we put our stuff down. The campground was divided into sections, each covered with shade sails. Many we full and it appeared they were filling them one by one. Masses of people were standing around the edges of the closest empty one while a power tripping Spanish chick stood in the middle with a megaphone, stopping anyone putting up their tents.

I’m going to presume that the reasoning behind this was that they have limited camping space and they wanted to ensure people we packed in as tightly as possible, but at the time it certainly felt like they were messing with us for the hell of it. Once there were more people crowded around than could possibly fit in the space, she announced we could enter, and there was a huge mad dash as everyone tried to find a space.

In the heat and the crowds Courtney was not in a good mood and was 100% not interested in the idea of fighting for space. He stood there saying we would just go to another space while I frantically claimed space for our tent. As the afternoon wore on and each section was allocated in the same way, it was obvious that trying a different area would have proved fruitless. We ended up unable to put up the front of our awning and almost unable to enter and exit, surrounded on all sides by tent walls.

Luckily, while we gave up and went to the beach, the tents in front and to the right of us decided to pack up and move on so we were eventually able to finish putting up the tent. The whole experience was ridiculous, and we have 2 more of these festivals to go on the trip.

The 10-15 minute walk to the beach cheered everything up, as did the festival program. All the bands I want to see are playing the main stage, generally one after the other, and generally after 8pm – I guess that’s the benefit of being foreign and only recognizing the biggest acts. So we have to look at the week this way – the tent is for the most minimal part of our stay, we are at the beach for the week and for 4 of the nights we are here, I will go off to a concert, and Courtney and either come with me or not. It’s a beach holiday, with music, and as long as we don’t get woken up by drunks passing out on top of our tent like we did after night one, we should be fine. And at least one of us will enjoy Portishead, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Brandon Flowers, Mumford and Sons, Arctic Monkeys and Primal Scream.