Benidorm: Is It What We Think It Is?
Resorts like Benidorm are often seen as sort of like a big extension of the UK abroad. The one where you go to do an extended version of 'Friday night with the boys', complete with possible alcohol poisoning, probable full frontal nudity and likely police intervention later on in the night.
The main beach in Benidorm is like a human seal colony. FHM did not approve.
FHM, in the spirit of the fearless and open minded explorer decided to go to Benidorm to see if the stereotype was true, and if the Low Cost Festival, Benidorm's big musical event, was actually a low cost festival (or a good festival, for that matter). Read on, for the truth will set you free...
Benidorm: What It Really Is
FHM has been told that if you come to Benidorm in the winter, you'll find a lot more Northern Europeans (especially Brits) escaping the characteristically shitty weather of home. We visited Benidorm in summer, and despite the odd chav shouting at his family outside a quaint ice cream stand, the place was more full of Spaniards visiting from nearby Valencia and the surrounding country. Many of these where old people, all of them dancing to particularly bad bossa-nova backing tracks in hotel bars.
In a way, this was a nice, as we actually felt like we were in Spain, not some weird alternate version of Croydon with the heat turned up.
British pubs are obviously not limited to the UK
The Low Cost Festival
So, If you've ever been to Spain, you may remember that the Spanish 'do' time a bit differently to us. In fact, you wonder if our insomniac Hispanic cousins actually get any sleep at all (asides from the odd afternoon siesta meanwhile here in the UK we're toiling away for The Man in our cubicles).
The festival was a shining example of this sleepless way of life. Starting around 6.30 on most nights and going on till after 4:00 in the morning, the fun only really began after the Mediterranean sun had departed the sky.
Spain: No fucking sleep allowed, ever
Having a pretty tenuous grasp of the Spanish language meant that FHM found the festival experience to be a bit confusing, as this year it was definitely pitched at a Spanish audience. Still, it is quite surprising how far you can get in this country by looking confused and shouting "Hablo Ingles?!" at people. It is the one piece of Spanish every jingoistic Brit needs to know.
But if you have ever been to a festival, despite the language gap, you'll probably feel at home. It's the same experience of people rocking out, drinking, doing drugs and lying on the grass that you may have experienced back home, except here the beer is different and you have even less of an idea of what the drunken girl shouting in your ear is trying to tell you. The communal festival atmosphere is familiar and so are the portaloos, punchy food prices and ramshackle fencing.
Was it 'low cost'? Entry was free, but they wanted 7 euros for a cup of beer (not really a low cost festival, then?). Luckily, FHM had alcoholically prepared before the night at the local supermarket, Mercadona, and costs were indeed kept low on the down low, yo.
This year’s acts where quite unknown to FHM. There were some big names your average British music lover will know, at least by name, such as Klaxons, Crystal Castles, Mika and OK Go, but most of the other acts were more popular in the Spanish speaking world.
FHM didn't understand the song but enjoyed the feathers, the mist and the strobe lighting
Gigs took place on three stages; with a fourth mobile stage on the Red Bull Bus, which set up smaller, quieter and more intimate gigs in front of the beach. FHM enjoyed these gigs more, as it was less crowded, and people were more relaxed, sitting on the sand.
It looks like they'll be marketing The Low Cost Festival next year to a more global audience, and perhaps you'll see more bands you recognise. That's not to say that the bands playing weren't any good, there's a Spanish version of every sultry gothic duet, ravey trance DJ, and oddly attired Indie outfit.
And they can match our bands note for note (in Spanish). At one point we were pretty sure that the frontwoman from a psychobilly band was shouting "bad women!" but we weren't exactly sure where she was going with it.
Sitting by the beach at sundown and gorging on ice cream is an understandably popular pasttime in Benidorm
Should I Go Then?
So overall, the festival was actually pretty good and worth going to (since it was free), after all, if you are already in Benidorm, what have you got to lose?
Since it doesn't really focus on any one form of music or have any massive acts, it's doubtful it'll have the kind of fanatical music audience who'd travel there just to catch the festival or their favourite band. It's more like a side order of musical fun and festive madness for your Benidorm journey. Needless to say, it looks promising and we'll keep our eyes open to see what happens at next year's one. The acts may be bigger and it may be more comprehensible. Or not.
How did FHM get there then?
FHM has a little secret to share with our fellow music lovers. That secret is NoMud.com. They (as their name suggests), offer the discerning festivalgoer the chance to avoid the mud, tents and torrential rain of the many 'closer to home' events over the summer. True, some of us just love getting covered in mud and shit and living in a tent that smells like B.O for days at a time. FHM understands. But some of us like staying in hotels, see? And yes, you tent/BO hating and hotel loving people, this is the answer to your prayers...
NoMud do nifty package deals which include a festival wristband, accomodation and airport transfers. Flights can also be included seperately, taking a lot of the hastle out of arranging your adventurous and now international piss up.
So, do ya fancy a holiday with weather that is distinctively not shit and somewhere a little more exotic than Weston Super Mare? Bet you do! Try www.nomud.com and see what festivals they have on offer now!