The decline of Spain’s best festival

We live in the festival boom period that this 2022 has come back stronger than ever after the pandemic. A too many parties? that saturate the Spanish music scene and create a bubble that will have to burst at some point.

But so that there are henceforth as many macrofestivals as Primavera Sound, BBK Live, Mad Cool, O Son Do Camiño, Arenal Sound, Mallorca Live, Cala Mijas and many others through which some of the greatest artists of the music scene pass, other festivals must have existed before these were the ones that paved the way in the 90s.

parties like Doctor Music Festivalwhich was celebrated in the Pyrenees, and whoseat the first edition in 1996 brought together David Bowie, Suede, Sepultura, Blur, Iggy Pop, Patty Smith, Lou Reed and Moby and Massive Attack among others on the same poster.

The Asparagus Rock which took place between 1989 and 2003 for 15 years in different cities of Andalusia. A festival that was growing and that, for example, in 1998 had a poster full of big national names that coexisted with Faith No More, Dream Theater, Ocean Color Scene, Bad Religion or Iggy Pop among others.

And of course Benicassim International Festivalthe fact that for many years it was the best festival in our country and one of the best festivals in Europe.

The FIB was the first major festival in Spain and for many years the best in our country. Now returns in 2022 after the pandemic, having changed hands three times, with a more modest cartel and overtaken by its competitors.

A festival created in 1995 by the Morán brothers with Elefant Records label founder Luis Calvo and Spiral magazine creator Juako Expeleta. Since 1997, the Moran brothers have been in charge of the festival, which has grown over the years in public, in posters and in name.

I remember perfectly having listened to the concerts of the FIB and the interviews on Radio 3 thanks to which I discovered groups like Belle and Sébastien among others.

In 2006, Vince Power, a British businessman with extensive experience in organizing music festivals, became a shareholder in the organizing company. The festival continued to grow, especially in the British Isles where most of the audience came from, and it still had much of its essence when I was able to go there for the first time in 2011.

This year FIB has been named one of the top 10 festivals in Europe next to Glastonbury and Oxegen among others. Primavera Sound had been happening since 2001, BBK since 2006, Low Cost in 2008, and there were five years until Mad Cool’s first edition.

The epic poster for the first of four editions of FIB that I enjoyed included names like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Mumford And Sons and Portishead among others. It was one of my first experiences in a big festival with international bands and both the programming and the sound and the organization seemed brutal to me.

Although it has continued to maintain itself over the years very good public figures, more than correct posters and an irreproachable organization it seems that the golden age of the FIB is a thing of the past. Several changes in the organization added to two years of pandemic have meant that the FIB is currently a little behind some of the main festivals in our country.

In 2020 the FIB was going to celebrate its 25th anniversary but the pandemic has arrived, which canceled an edition where Liam Gallagher, Khalid, Vampire Weekend, Foals, The Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren, The Kooks, Rita Ora and The Lumineers were going to perform, among many others, and already with 37,000 subscriptions sold. A poster undoubtedly powerful but quite far from the posters of the most legendary editions of the festival which had placed it in the European elite.

This 2022 returns after the pandemic with more popular prices around 70 euros and an interesting but not very exciting line-up. For the first post-covid FIB, The Music Republic (the Spanish promoter who took over the reins in 2019) presents four days of irrelevantly named international music, including Izal, Two Door Cinema Club, Steve Aoki, The Kooks, Justice, Love of Lesbian, Tyga, Becky Hill, Mando Diao, Kasabian, La MODA, Nathy Peluso, Lori Meyers or Tom Walker.

Both the magic of the place, the good organization that the festival has always had and the good vibes it has with Benicassim and its beaches will play in favor of this edition. It is undeniable that the FIB is a festival that continues to attract large numbers of people, which has great historical weight, a great international name and a legacy that will always be there.

We don’t know what will happen in the future between so much uncertainty and so much competition. We will have to see how this edition works and see what The Music Republic is banking on for the 2023 edition, continue on this path or try again to bring in the big names in international alternative music who have made FIB for years the one of the best festivals. in Europe.

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