Benicàssim Festival will go ahead this year, say organizers

Rumors of money problems and unhappy suppliers had ticket-holders fearing the worst

A motorcyclist runs rings around the FIB logo, at the festival site in Castellón. Work has not yet begun to set up this year's edition.
A motorcyclist runs rings around the FIB logo, at the festival site in Castellón. Work has not yet begun to set up this year's edition.Domenech Castelló (EFE)

Festival-goers took to the social networks earlier this week to express their shock and fears upon hearing the news that this year’s edition of the Benicàssim Festival, better known by its initials FIB, may not be going ahead. Reports that the company charged with organizing the music festival, Maraworld, was having financial problems, and that the preparative work to build the stages and camping areas on the Castellón site, in the Valencia region, sparked rumors that this year’s FIB may not be happening — just two weeks ahead of its planned start date.

But a press release published on the FIB Facebook page on Wednesday sought to quell the fears of those planning on attending the festival — who in the main part will hark from countries such as the United Kingdom. It seems that the 19th edition of the festival by the sea will be going ahead after all.

The statement announced that the owner of the festival, the Irish promoter Vince Power, had sold his major shareholding in Maraworld to two other promoters: Denis Desmond and SJM Concerts. Power, the statement read, “remains a shareholder in Maraworld SA,” and “will continue in charge as Managing Director until August 2013.”

In February of this year, the organizing company sought protection from its creditors

A quote from Power himself read: “The difficult economic climate coupled with the bad year suffered by Music Festivals PLC has prompted my decision to sell a major shareholding in Benicàssim Festival. I am pleased that two of Europe’s best-known festival promoters are now taking part. FIB is one of the world’s most established and best-loved live-music events and I wanted to ensure the future of the festival for many years to come. I am pleased we have found great partners to take Benicàssim forward to its next phase and to guarantee it is secure and solid for the fans, this year and every year.”

But doubts about the event’s long-term future persist. In February of this year, Maraworld sought protection from its creditors, and many of its suppliers are refusing to work on this year’s festival unless they receive guarantees that they will be paid.

In terms of ticket sales, Power announced a month ago that around 20,000 people were guaranteed to visit the festival this year, and that the organizers were hoping to see around 30,000 people a day come through the gates. Sales this year, however, have been much lower than in previous years, when as many as 50,000 people have attended. Among the headliners for this year’s edition are The Killers, Queens of The Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream and Beady Eye.

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