A new chapter for the Benicàssim festival

After serious problems last year, the Valencia event is celebrating its 20th anniversary with gusto

Tinie Tempah performs at Benicàssim on Thursday.
Tinie Tempah performs at Benicàssim on Thursday.Gaelle Beri (Redferns via Getty Images)

The Valencian coastal town of Benicàssim is once again buzzing with music, thanks to the FIB festival. Thursday saw the first day of the 20th edition of the event, which has become an essential fixture on the indie scene. Last year FIB looked like it was in trouble, due to problems at the company that organizes the festival, but it would seem that this year will mark a new chapter in the history of the event.

“There have been changes and we are committed to the future,” explained Melvin Benn, who took over control of FIB from promoter Vince Power in May. “The festival is not broken.”

So far there have been two changes that have reconciled the town with the festival: a campsite that is located closer to the shops and restaurants in Benicàssim, and the reintroduction of a “pre-festival,” which saw the streets of the town full of music and people on Wednesday night. Ten local bands, on five different stages, kicked off the event, a night before the official line-up took to the festival stages.

There have been changes and we are committed to the future” Melvin Benn, promoter

For the 20th anniversary, the organizers of FIB have included a few nods to the festival’s beginnings. In 1995, The Charlatans headed the bill, and this year they will be returning to close the event on Sunday night. The organizers are expecting to see around 30,000 “fibers” come through the gates every day.

The line-up this year also sees the return of The Libertines, who headline on Saturday night, and Kasabian, who are the main attraction on Friday. Other returning acts include James (who played on Thursday night), Manic Street Preachers, Paul Weller and Travis.

The president of the Benicàssim Association of Hostelry Businesses (Ehosbe), Luis Bas, has high hopes. “The uncertainty of last year has made way for a more open edition, which has been brought closer to the town,” he said at the presentation of the festival, in reference to the pre-festival and the new campsite. “We are hoping for a better share of the ‘pie’,” he added, in reference to the fall seen in the amount spent by ‘fibers’ in local businesses over recent years.

“We are sure that the 20 years that have passed since those days in August 1995 are just the beginning of what will be a long and exciting adventure, which we see as a thrilling challenge,” the enthusiastic new director concluded.

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