FIB (Festival Internacional de Benicassim) is one of those summer festivals that you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. Rather than solely being a multi-genre music festival, it can also be viewed as a Mediterranean holiday, continuously bringing the sunshine and the heat to the festival. With the festival arena doors opening at around 6.45pm every evening for 4 days (Thursday-Sunday), you get plenty of time to explore the beautiful beaches in the surrounding area during the day and are able to incorporate enough relaxation time to give you the energy for the festival in the evening (which continues until the early hours of the morning). This year, FIB 2016 did not disappoint, with an incredible line-up, numerous stages and a dynamic atmosphere, it can definitely be seen as one of Europe’s best festivals.
FIB always begins on the Thursday evening, which gets the crowds warmed up for the weekend ahead. Even though the VISA stage wasn’t open on the first day, there were still sufficient acts on the other stages to keep everyone entertained. Madrid-based electro-soul musician John Grvy, opened up the main ‘Las Palmas’ stage in style, showing off his newer material and catchy tune ‘Faded Away’. He even threw in an exciting cover of the Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’, getting the crowd to participate as much as possible. By the end of the set, John himself threw himself into the crowd and danced along with everyone - it was certainly a great way to kick off FIB 2016. Later on in the evening, London indie pop band ‘Teleman’ performed a lively set on the new Radio 3 FIB Club Stage. The tent became pretty packed, and the bassist especially was encouraging everyone to have a good time.
Following on, producer and singer-songwriter/drummer Georgia performed an eclectic set on the J+B Dance Stage. Georgia is certainly one of those acts that needs to be witnessed live, flawlessly drumming and singing and performing catchy experimental tunes, the crowd could definitely appreciate her musicianship. Her new song ‘Never Let You Go’, was a highlight, and despite a few technical issues, Georgia powered on through and performed an energetic and exciting set. London grime act Skepta took over the main stage, and drew an exceptionally large crowd to his set. There were mosh pits galore and ‘Shutdown’ was certainly a crowd-pleaser. A rumour had been circulating twitter that festival favourites (and FIB-lovers) Hinds, would be making a special secret set appearance on the club stage at around midnight under the name ‘Las Weers’ - this proved to be true and the Madrid four-piece performed a phenomenal set jam-packed with hits from their album ‘Leave Me Alone’. The performance concluded with a stage invasion during ‘Davey Crockett’ which left everyone leaving the tent with smiles on their faces. Ultimately, Thursday night headliners Major Lazer graced the main stage at around 1am, continuing to hype up the crowd and performing hits such as ‘Lean On’ and ‘Light It Up’. Considering that the Thursday didn’t have as much music on as the following days at FIB, the variety of genres and acts was enough to keep everyone occupied and entertained. Also, the quality of the smaller acts on the Club Stage was remarkable, and Hinds’ secret set was the cherry on the cake.
Day 2 of FIB 2016 was an exciting day - full of class indie acts that were guaranteed to perform incredible sets throughout the evening. The day commenced with an entertaining set from the one and only Rat Boy on the VISA Stage. Frontman Jordan Cardy continuously displayed his riotous ways by encouraging the crowds to dance and eventually build up to a festival version of ‘bull-dog charge’ and mosh-pits galore. The audience were loving it and Rat Boy performed new material as well as favourites such as ‘Fake ID’ and ‘Move’.
Following on from their secret set the night before, Hinds graced the Main Stage on Friday evening with yet another incredible set, expressing their gratitude to FIB for letting them play the Las Palmas stage and telling the audience about how they’d been to the festival every year since 2009. Hinds smashed it yet again and conquered the main stage with favourites such as ‘Castigadas en el Granero’ and ‘San Diego’. Watching Hinds in the bright sunshine is definitely something that needs to be done, their tunes are perfect for the summer. Shortly afterwards, rock outfit Band Of Skulls took over the VISA Stage with a flawless set packed with tunes new and old. Their most recent album ‘By Default’ went down a storm with the crowd. Festival favourites The Vaccines, performed a spectacular set on the Main Stage later on in the evening. Frontman Justin Young conveyed each and every lyric with his force of personality, gripping the audience’s attention instantly. The set was brimming with energetic non-stop tunes from all three Vaccines albums, ending with ‘Norgaard’ which of course got the crowd going even more. Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, brought the Main Stage alight, with new album ‘Ellipsis’ having gone straight to Number 1 in the UK, Simon Neil brought even more vibrancy to his vocals than ever before, a perfect way to celebrate success of the new LP. Jamie XX took over the VISA Stage later that night, blasting tunes from ‘In Colour’, perfect for the late night atmosphere. Lastly, Friday headliners, The Chemical Brothers brought the Main Stage to a close impeccably, exhibiting the power of electronic music over the late-night festival ambience - it was truly dynamic.
Saturday was an almost sold-out day at FIB due to the fact that headliners Muse were performing later on that evening. Fans had been queuing eagerly since 7.30am, therefore it is without a doubt that wherever Muse play they always draw the biggest crowds. The day started out with a set from French band ‘La Femme’ on the VISA Stage, who seemed to go down a storm with the predominantly Spanish crowd, with the audience singing along continuously to the songs. Irish indie band ‘Walking On Cars’ performed an exceptional set on the Main Stage as the sun was high in the sky. Numerous Irish flags could be spotted throughout the audience, as well as large numbers of people singing along to hits such as ‘Speeding Cars’ and ‘Catch Me If You Can’. The band seemed to thoroughly enjoy the set and the warm welcome from the audience could be felt throughout the vicinity.
Spanish singer-songwriter Lois took over the FIB Club Stage with poise and sophistication, filling the tent with his rich vocal, and catchy tunes. English rock band The Coral drew an extensive audience to their set on the Main Stage, with ‘In The Morning’ being a particular highlight, encouraging the crowd to dance along accordingly. Liverpudlian 70’s rock band ‘Echo and the Bunnymen’ triumphed the VISA Stage, concluding with crowd-favourite ‘Lips Like Sugar’, Ian McCulloch certainly gave a flawless performance. Slightly overlapping with festival headliners Muse, indie rockers The Kills performed one of the best sets of the weekend on the smaller VISA Stage. Alison Mosshart’s front woman presence was extraordinary, portraying the lyrics with emotion and passion, whilst Jamie Hince’s guitar playing was out of this world. The Kills certainly captivated the crowd with their faultless performance. Headliners Muse, took to the Main Stage, receiving a warm welcome from the packed-out crowd. Muse will never disappoint and performed all the favourites as well as newer material from last year’s album ‘Drones’. During ‘Mercy’, streamers galore were fired out into the audience as well as lots of confetti which made the set a full-on show. Shortly afterwards, English electronic music duo Disclosure closed the Main Stage late at night with an unforgettable set. Particular highlights were ‘White Noise’, ‘Omen’ and ‘Latch’. Again, the electronic music was perfect for the late night atmosphere at FIB 2016 and kept the party going into the early hours of Sunday morning.
The last day of FIB 2016 came around too quickly, even though the festival is longer than others, it went by in a flash. However, Sunday again was another day to look forward to, jam-packed with indie bands and with insane headliners Kendrick Lamar and Massive Attack closing the Las Palmas stage for 2016, it was certainly going to conclude with a bang. American skate punk band Fidlar, played an energetic, loud and dynamic set on the Main Stage. Bringing about the large mosh pits to the Las Palmas stage and the crowd surfers too, Fidlar created a unique festival ambience brimming with liveliness and drive that ensured that the audience were moving the entire time. Fidlar explained that it was their first time in Spain, and judging from the reception of the crowd it certainly won’t be their last.
Swiftly following on from Fidlar, indie favourites Catfish and the Bottlemen conquered the Main Stage at FIB with pure quality and class. The audience were screaming every lyric back to charismatic frontman Van McCann, including the ones from newer songs ‘Twice’, ‘Anything’, ‘7’ and ‘Soundcheck’. There were crowd surfers, people on shoulders, mosh pits and general enjoyment throughout the crowd as the indie-rock outfit played tune after tune. It just seems Catfish and the Bottlemen are on the rise to even bigger things and this flawless festival performance (with Van ending it on top of the amplifiers with his guitar balancing in the middle) - emphasises the true musicianship of the band. Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco played to a packed out crowd on the VISA Stage, including the infamous stage dives into the audience as well as receiving a great welcome from the Spanish audience too. London-based indie rock band The Maccabees ended their ‘Marks To Prove It’ era with their impeccable performance at FIB on the Main Stage, playing tunes ranging from the old such as ‘X-Ray’ to the newer ‘Something Like Happiness’. Lead guitarist Felix White encouraged lots of hand clapping, singing and dancing, and the set itself was just full of pure energy and gratitude from the band to the audience. Towards the later part of the evening, The 1975 played an hour-long set on the VISA Stage, playing a variety of songs from their sophomore album as well as older favourites. Matty Healy again proved to be frontman material, introducing the songs, expressing the lyrics through his facial expressions and interaction with the audience. The light show at 1am was also spectacular. The Sunday night came to a close with an amazing headline performance from the one and only Kendrick Lamar on the Main Stage and another uniquely brilliant performance from the trip hop Bristolians Massive Attack.
FIB 2016 was certainly an edition full of incredible music, an amazing atmosphere and pure good times. The late festival start times allow you to enjoy your holiday as well as experience a late night festival atmosphere like no other. The genre diversity this year was excellent, and was perfectly placed at the variety of stages present at FIB. The new Club Stage proved to be a success, showcasing the cream of the crop in upcoming Spanish music as well as other indie bands. The small area of the festival arena also allows you to get from stage to stage without any hassle, ensuring that you don’t miss any acts and experience the full festival to the maximum. FIB is one of those festivals that has to be on your bucket list, so you can have a good time, in the best weather, watching phenomenal music for four whole days. It’s excellent!