Benicàssim Festival to look to rest of Europe to attract attendees

20th edition of Valencia music event closes with average 30,000 “fibers” a day, the lowest in years

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M.I.A performs at the Benicàssim Music Festival on Sunday.
M.I.A performs at the Benicàssim Music Festival on Sunday.Gaelle Beri

The 20th edition of the Benicàssim Music Festival (FIB) was due to close on Sunday night having reached its predicted target of 30,000 attendees a day, according to the event’s promoters. But that figure is the lowest in recent years, including for 2013, when the festival nearly didn’t go ahead due to internal problems with the firm that organized it. Last year there were 35,000 attendees a day. Perhaps that is why new director Melvin Benn is keen to open the event up to new markets.

Benn announced on Sunday that for the 2015 edition, the festival will try to attract audiences from all over Europe, and not just the United Kingdom, which has been its focus in recent years. Next year’s event will be the first that Benn will organize from start to finish, given that when he took over the running of this year’s edition, the line-up was already practically closed.

This year already saw a shift in the nationalities of attendees, with 55 percent of the 30,000 “fibers” in attendance coming from the UK and Ireland, and around 40 percent from Spain.

This year saw 55 percent coming from the UK and Ireland, and around 40 percent from Spain

“In spite of the economic difficulties of the festival, it isn’t broken,” the director said. Benn did admit that the event has “slowed down” somewhat, but told the press that his team was working to take FIB back to its greatest days. He is not planning on bringing big names such as David Bowie or Led Zeppelin, however; rather he wants to make the festival “attractive” for other reasons.

Benn argued that the presence of groups such as Kasabian, The Libertines and The Charlatans were particular highlights of this year’s edition, and said he was sure that the festival could run for another 20 years thanks to members of the team who had been committed to the project since its inception.

For her part, the mayor of Benicàssim, Susana Marqués, said that for the first time in years she was seeing a “clear commitment” to the future of the festival.

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