Summertime means festivals and from Glastonbury in early June to Leeds and Reading in late August, Britain spends every weekend rocking out in a serious fashion. From the major name festivals to the smaller boutique events, it seems that everyone who is anyone is heading to a festival, which means you should be too.
However, there is a growing trend to look outside rip-off Britain with its expensive yet water-downed pints and rubbish weather and seek festival fun on foreign shores. Once you factor in the cost of getting there and where to stay (many festivals provide free camping), the benefits of seeing your favourite bands in the blistering sun become all too apparent.
Get In The Sunshine
There has always been a major travel link between Britain and Spain and the nation sandwiched in between France and Portugal remains a popular tourist destination. Spain has also become one of the major destinations for festival goers so why not combine a sunshine break with a few days at a music festival?
The obvious choice is Benicassim, which takes place in July, and with up to 9 days of free camping included in your festival ticket, the price starts to become very reasonable. The festival, situated in between Barcelona and Valencia and being a two hour train journey from both cities lasts for four days and goes long into the night. In fact, the bands start playing around 5pm in the evening with the last acts finishing up around 6 or 7am. After that, if you are still up, it is a short trek to the beach to sleep, catch some sun and try to recover before doing it all again the next evening.
WHERE IS BENICASSIM?
Benicassim rules the roost
Benicassim is an astounding festival (if the gale force winds stay away) and is a very relaxed and chilled out atmosphere. With numerous stages, indie bands and big names dominate the line-up until 2am and then dance acts take centre stage. It’s a great blend of artists and the timing of the event makes it perfect for those that hit their peak when the UK clubs normally close or when the sun starts to break.
There is more to Spain that Benicassim though as Barcelona rightly proves. The Primavera festival, occurring at the end of May, is celebrating its 11th year in 2011 and has grown into a five day festival. The line-up is very indie-centric but again, features many glitchy or charismatic dance acts when the sun goes down. If you think these festivals do not offer enough dance music for you then the Sonar festival in June in the Catalonian capital is for you.
Foreign festivals can be affordable
The Barcelona festivals do not provide camping but they take place in the city, with the Metro line or buses ferrying revellers back to the city centre at all hours. Flights to Barcelona can be found for quite cheap and Barcelona has a host of hotels and hostels which will suit any traveller on a budget. Given the festival hours, you will only need a hotel to contain a bed to sleep for a few hours each day; anything else would be a waste!
British festivals are an excellent and integral part of summer but if you want to experience something brighter, taking in a Spanish summer festival could make 2011 your best summer yet.