If you fancy swapping muddy fields and warm Strongbow cans for sunny beaches and cold sangria, get yourself a ticket for Benicassim. Claiming its spot as one of the top dogs, Beni blends the best parts of a Spanish beach holiday with a European music festival, guaranteeing you a unique and unforgettable experience.
Unlike your standard weekend of camping and music as is similar at almost every British festival, Beni stretches the experience out to eight days, letting you get the absolute most for your money. Even without live music for the first four days, the nearby beach is only a short shuttle bus ride away and early bird camping will not leave you disappointed because as the festival vibes kick in, you’ll find yourself in the mist of one giant party.
The headline acts don’t start until the late evening, meaning you can chill out on the beach during the day, and still leave yourself plenty of time to drink at the campsite before gearing yourself up for an entire night of music. After the headliners, you can either stay in the arena, bouncing between the DJ stages, or head back to the campsite and re-join the never ending party.
At €159.30 (£126) for a standard 4 day ticket (entitling you not only the festival period but the whole 8 days of camping!), you can’t go wrong.
If you plan early, you can grab cheap return flights at around £120 and baring in mind that a Reading/Leeds weekend ticket is priced at £213 for only three days of music, it’s well worth it.
I visited Beni for the first time in 2013, swiftly returning in 2015. To give you an idea of the standard of acts, a few artists I saw include: The Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Primal Scream, The Killers, The Prodigy, Public Enemy and Blur.
Amongst the various names you travel to Beni to see perform, you’ll also find incredible up-and-coming artists that will blow your mind. For me, a special mention must go to a seemingly unknown blues guitarist I had the pleasure of stumbling across during my second Beni – Curtis Harding, who set the crowd on fire performing his debut album, Soul Power.
Moving on to the current year and the next Benicassim line up, it’s clear that the standard certainly has not dropped. For rock fans you’ve got Muse, Biffy Clyro and Mac Demarco to look forward to, while Kendrick Lamar secures the hip hop presence. Unfortunately Skepta will be making an appearance, let’s just hope he gets shut down. 90s dance fans prepare to have your heads blown off by the Chemical Brothers and the special guest appearance from trip hop legends, Massive Attack!
If you haven’t yet experienced a festival abroad, I couldn’t recommend Beni more! Its value for money, quality of music, and beach holiday vibe make it a clear winner in my books.