FIB Heineken 2006 – Festival Internacional de Benicassim

Benicassim is responsible for so many special memories.

The powerful imagery of countless hazy summers spent lazing on the Benicassim beaches litter my mind at this time of year. Dreamy photographs from dreamy weekends spent lounging around the beach and festival site keep the Benicassim effect live all year round.

Going to Benicassim has become something of a ritual for me. Whenever I leave I look ruefully back at the bathtub warm sea knowing it will be another year before I am able to do so again. Benicassim has become such a great part of me that I am unable to leave it behind. It is an integral part of my life.

Some of my favourite memories are the less expected ones.

Last year I was so uplifted by Mylo, a definite anti-Oasis choice. Watching sober and getting off on the crowd’s energy was a real natural high. Wandering past the “fashion” tent and catching first sight of 2006’s future stars Infadels has definitely improved my life.

The tribe of Benicassim goers from my extended circle of friends has grown over the years. It started with an idea for a cheap holiday – festival combo spurred on by a Spanish ex-girlfriend of mine, to too many to count. The chain is simply too long.

Once you’ve tried it…all the artists I’ve met who have played there share the same feeling. Relaxed and simply €uro party, party, party! Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant spoke to me of his amusement at 30,000 Europeans unable to sing along properly to “Go West.” FF’s Alex Kapranos just enjoyed posing in his Speedos with me.

Two years ago, the late, great, Arthur Lee and his band Love were booed for the entirety of their sit because their guitarist mistakenly thought wearing a Real Madrid jersey would endear him to the Spanish crowd. Alas, a wrong white shirt in Orangeland!

This year I’m looking forward to shorter walks to the beach from the campsite. Perhaps the best thing I managed to discover last year, was that there was another way to get to the beach that didn’t involve the town. Four years on and I realise I can save myself an hour a day.

Perhaps Morrissey might even turn up for his headline slot this year, after his no –show in 2004. He’d better, his latest record, “Ringleader of the Tormentors” is by far his finest in many attempts and deserves an outing in the sun.

Roll on and rock on!

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