On Wednesday the 14th of July I went to the Benicassim festival with Matt, Vlad, and Howard. Here is pretty much everything you could conceivably want to know about what happened there.
I went home from Cheryl’s place in the morning and got picked up by Matt and Vlad. It was kind of strange because Chloe was there and so I think it was a bit confusing for the guys when they arrived. They assumed it wasn’t number 37 because they saw Chloe upstairs through the bedroom window.
We packed our things and I had a spot of trouble with my keys and wallet before we eventually set off to Matt’s house because he’d forgotten something. Then it turned out that he’d lost his house key, but luckily one of his housemates was in. From there we headed to Vlad’s house in Edwinstowe to wait for Howard and his dad to come and pick us up.
The drive to the airport was over pretty quickly and the airport wasn’t particularly busy or anything. We all got checked in with our couple of bags after being directed to the oversize luggage section. Vlad’s bag got stopped because he had his Swiss army knife in the checked-in luggage. Quite how that can be a problem in the belly of a plane at 30000 feet I’m not sure, but oh well. They eventually let it on and we went through the rest of security.
We spent a little while having some drinks in the upstairs Wetherspoons bar this time. Then it was time to board the plane, so we got in the line. Everything went fairly smoothly and so we sat down and got on with the flight.
Matt and I used the time to complete the cryptic crossword in The Sun. Vlad managed to mess up the easy Sudoku, so Matt and I took the paper back and did the more complicated one properly.
When the plane landed we got into the airport and it was easy to feel that it was considerably hotter than the plane right away. We went through and collected out bags and then headed out of the airport to find the rental car. As soon as we got out of the doors it became apparent just how bloody hot it was in Spain at night time.
We walked around looking for the car rental place, but only found 2 closed places. Eventually we realised we needed to catch a bus to the other terminal and then go to the place that closed at midnight.
The bus drove pretty quickly, and it’s a good job because there was a huge distance between the terminals. We queued at the car rental place for a bunch of time before finally being served. I believe it was after midnight, but people were already queued so I believe they were obliged to serve them all. It might just be that the Hertz one closed earlier and my timing was all wrong, but it doesn’t matter. We got the key.
We got directions to the car park and told the number to look for (2B 06 I believe). We set about going all over the place and not finding it. People went up floors and down floors and all over the place on the 2nd floor with no luck. Eventually we found it down on the bottom floor in a place that was marked something fairly different to the number we’d been looking for, but oh well.
We unloaded our bags into the Peugeot 207 and then set about heading for Benicassim from Barcelona airport. It was strange, as it always is, to be on the other side of the car and on the other side of the road, but it’s easy enough to get used to the change.
We had a little issue initially and had to do a little bit of doubling-back, but luckily we had the sat nav to help us out with that. After a while we hit the motorway that goes down the coast and started heading through all sorts of tunnels with fans that looked like plane engines.
It got to the point where we were all hungry and we saw there were some services coming up. We stopped at a place called Ars, which made everyone laugh when Howard pointed it out.
There wasn’t much to eat if you didn’t want some sort of pastry, so we had that, then we got back in the car. We stopped after moving a few feet so Vlad could get the CD from his copy of NME so we didn’t have to listen to the shitty radio stations. They kept going in and out of range because of the mountains anyway.
On the drive we kept hitting toll booth after toll booth. In the end we spent €28 on tolls. The CD from NME was quite boring towards the end and eventually put me to sleep.
When we finally arrived in Benicassim everyone was very tired and so we looked for the camp site. We couldn’t find it at first so Vlad got out and asked some very drunk teenagers. They gave us the rough directions we needed and so we headed to the festival site. This is where we met with the second-least helpful police officer I know of. He told us that we couldn’t park the car or pitch the tent because we didn’t have our wristbands yet, and we couldn’t get our wristbands because it was too late at night. So yay, we decided to go for a drive to find some quiet place to sleep. I decided that I fancied sleeping on the beach, so we went to the beach and I touched the Mediterranean sea for the first time of the holiday before everyone suggested heading back into town to sleep in the car.
We found a car park after much driving around and just tried to sleep as much as possible in there for a few hours. A Peugeot 207 is not a comfortable place for 4 people to sleep.
I got woken up in the morning by some people walking by and pointing at us and talking to Vlad. They were English and they wanted to know if Vlad was from Manchester for some reason or other.
We woke ourselves up properly and headed into the town to get some breakfast at a nice little roadside café thing. We also used the cash machine nearby to get our money for the holiday.
After a little time wasting we went to the festival site and parked the car. We still had ages to wait so we inflated a globe and then sat in the car playing the “capitals game” where someone would name a country and someone else would have to name the capital city of that country. In the end we were just quizzing Vlad. That killed a whole bunch of time, and we covered pretty much every country in the world. After that we went up to the actual festival site and waited around in the shade until the wristband place opened up. We were some of the very first people through on that day, and we had the tent with us already, so as soon as we got our wristbands we tried to find a place to camp. The first place we looked at was on top of a wasp nest. The second place was on top of an ant nest. We then got told that the area was only for staff to camp in, so we were directed miles and miles away to the top of the camp site.
We found a massive empty plot and began putting the tent up in the boiling hot sun. It wasn’t actually that difficult, but it was extremely hot inside it.
After we’d put the tent up we headed to the centre of Benicassim again and went to a restaurant to get some food. It turned out that the place was owned by Romanians, and that made Vlad quite happy. We ordered pizzas (they didn’t have any Pizza Dracula) and then sat around on the pavement under the gazebo thing.
A man was behind us for a while sorting out some wires and things like that. It turned out that he was actually the DJ. We discovered this when really loud techno/dance music came on right behind us. It was quite strange, to be honest. Sitting down in the heat in the middle of the day, eating pizza while listening to this really up tempo loud dance music. Oh well, it was fun enough.
At some point we went back to the festival site and went through to the main section when it opened. We sat down in the shade of one of the stages and watched some of the very first bands begin to play. The one I remember sounded a bit like the singer from the B-52s, which was quite interesting, but I wasn’t overly impressed with their work if I’m honest. Still, it was the first band we saw while we were there. I do remember seeing a girl there who was wearing a top that was mostly transparent and she had crosses of black tape covering her nipples. Fairly interesting fashion/lifestyle statement if you ask me.
We watched some more bands while we were there and had a few more drinks. We watched a few bands and then the main acts I was interested in came on. We watched Charlotte Gainsbourg perform her eclectic mix of songs, followed by Ray Davies powering out some impressive tunes, and finished the night off with Kasabian. Well, I say we… I feel asleep on the grass during Kasabian. I woke up a few times and heard some of the songs I wanted to hear, but I was pretty much dead to the world for most of it. I was glad to get back to the tent and go back to sleep again.
We spent some time at the beach, which included the first proper venture into the sea. It was really quite nice, once you got over the initial rocks and stones. There was a tendency to walk like someone with special needs on the way back to shore though.
After the beach we went to a Romanian bar that we’d noticed. We sat inside and watched the ridiculous amounts of female flesh that Romanian music television has to offer, and then had some paella and Ursus!
We went back to the site after a while and these are the band we saw:
Mumford & Sons
We decided to go to Valencia for part of the day. Vlad bought some chequered glasses ready for The Specials and I decided to buy a silly festival hat. It was really nice in Valencia. We saw part of the F1 track and a really cool-looking building on the way back to Benicassim.
When we got back we went to the festival site and began the drinking. At one point my hat got stolen, but I’m not at liberty to discuss what happened to it. A short while later I lost everyone. I waited in the arranged place for everyone, but they weren’t there when I was, so I decided to head to the front of the crowd while The Prodigy were playing. I was wearing sandals and so this turned out to be a fairly bad idea. Someone landed on my foot and my toe started to bleed. I headed out of the crowd and wandered around for a little while. I decided to sit down next to a pylon where I could see people moving around in the tiny hope of seeing someone I knew.
After a minute the girl who was sitting there turned around and we started talking. Her name is Christina and she’s a psychology of language student in Copenhagen. She gave me a tissue to wrap around my toe to help stop the bleeding and we sat there and chatted for a while. She told me that I should get rid of my hat because it made me look like an English tourist, which is quite an insult. I told her I’d give it to the next English person I saw. I spotted someone who looked English, and he was, so I offered him my hat. He didn’t want it, so I threw it after him as he walked off. When I turned around a few seconds later the was picking it up.
After a while Christina’s friends met up with her and then they wanted to go see a band, so they invited me along. I figured I might as well see some bands, rather than wait around and see none, so I tagged along. I ended up seeing some of The Japanese Popstars, and then they all wanted to go to see some of The Klaxons. I got there in time to see some of Golden Skans, which made me happy. The girls all headed off, so I waited around for a few minutes scanning the crowd and then gave up and went back to the tent. I got woken up a short while later by Vlad throwing a glow-stick at me. I wasn’t very impressed at the time.
I think we spent the vast majority of Sunday on the beach. I’m also pretty sure that Sunday was the day I found a praying mantis in the tent, and brushed my teeth with toothpaste and some horrible warm beer that we had instead of fetching some water.
It was overcast for the first part of the day, and the waves were pretty big and loud, but I slept for quite a while. We spent some time in the sea and after some other events that I have completely forgotten we went back to the festival site and saw the following bands:
Two Door Cinema Club
I wish I had managed to finish writing this blog entry less than a month after going, but I am apparently useless at finishing off massive posts like this, and so I’m just going to post the stupid thing now and say that I’ll come back and fill bits out in the future, even though I’m fairly sure that I won’t actually do that.
Bands I remember seeing
The Paris Riots
Southern Arts Society
Mumford & Sons
The Japanese Popstars
Two Door Cinema Club