With 24 festivals between us, I suppose we deserve our festival veteran crowns. We could dedicate an entire blog to the tails and fails of festival goers, from the time Lauren was televised nationwide dressed as a lady bug to our tent being rescued by the Red Cross in the Scottish Highlands (yup, it rained THAT much.)
However, two years ago we decided paying £200 + for a ticket to stomp in the mud and camp in the cold with overpriced beer was no longer our cup of tea and a little festival in the tiny Spanish town of Benicassim, changed our festival plans forever.
Now, we’ve all played the “Would you rather” game, so would you rather : Tapas instead of burger vans? Bikinis instead of wellie boots? Wine that’s €3 a bottle instead of £7 pints? Guaranteed sunshine instead of knee deep mud? All while spending your day chilling on the beach and dancing under the Spanish sunset? If so, read on.
How Much Do Tickets Cost?
If we were on the ball, we could have written this sooner and let you know about early bird tickets, which if purchased before Christmas are only €110 – now they are €155/£136 (camping included.) We found some UK websites are a little sneaky and will charge you over £145 plus booking fee (looking at you Ticketmaster). Pay in Euros through the official FIB website as it works out the best price.
For this fabulous price, the festival is EIGHT DAYS, with music on 4 of those days. If you can sesh in the sunshine for 8 days, be our guest but my wee ginger head found 4 was perfect (Thursday – Sunday.)
What Is The Line Up For Benicassim?
Previous years have seen absolute legends (in our opinion) such as Paul Weller, Kasabian, Paolo Nutini, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Jess Glynne and The Courteeners. Indie is usually the main focus but often a few surprise acts are thrown in such as 2017 line up with Red Hot Chili Peppers yet The Weeknd on the same bill. The line up for 2018 does not disappoint with The Killers, Two Door Cinema Club and Liam Gallagher currently announced with many more to follow!
How To Get To Benicassim
As a tip, it is not always cheapest to book return flights. For example, we flew into one airport but left from another simply because it worked out cheaper. It is worth playing around with airport combinations for the best price through Skyscanner.
From these airports there are official festival busses that then take you to the campsite. Both times we used eufest and a single from the airport to campsite is approx. £18 (obviously varies per airport.)
When returning it is a short walk from the festival arena to the bus station in town (which looks like a large square/carpark). There is a very organised system in place where you will receive a coloured band depending which airport you are going to.
As the campsite closes early on the Monday we genuinely recommend choosing an early flight and sleep on the bus to the airport. For example, we left the arena around 4am, grabbed our backpacks & “checked out” our tent then headed straight to the bus stop. We got to the airport and napped for an hour or two before our flight. Opting to sleep in the campsite makes it so much easier to miss your flight as you’ll either a) be persuaded for an extra beer (or 10) b) lose track of time c) fall asleep in your tent & miss your alarm. Not to mention you’ll miss the mad rush & traffic as you’ll be out of the campsite before the majority have even made it back to their tents.
Also, many friends have attended Beni then gone to Barcelona for a few days after. It’s an ideal festival as part of a euro-railing adventure (as its so cheap & cheerful) or backpacking in general as its so likely to meet other travellers when you’re there to continue exploring Europe with.
Where To Stay In Benicassim
There is a few accommodation options:
Budget – Camping in the Campfest campsite is included in your festival ticket. Therefor you can pack a £15 tent from Tesco and you’re good to go. Although this sounds cheapest, keep in mind luggage allowance as if you’ve to pay for hold luggage in order to take your own tent, sleeping bag etc it may be more expensive than hiring a tent.
Best – This is the best option tried & tested (twice.) You hire a “glamping” tent through the glamping company. We paid €75 for two people. Our recommended option because –
- You won’t need to find a tent space and pitch your tent (in the dark after you arrive from your flight and probably on your 7th cider)
- The glamping campsite is still in Campfest so within a 15 minute walk of the arena but all tents are under shade so your tent won’t be quite as oven-like in comparison to the peasant campers.
- The glamping site is only accessible by those wearing the correct wrist bands. This means your tent is more secure as it has its own check in/out porta cabin & security. Although security & police do patrol all sites regularly.
- Torches, mats & locks are included in the price of the tent. (Prices also vary on size/style of tent and larger fancier options are available)
Ballin’ – Air Bnb/villas in town are an option. We searched in February last year for the festival in July and it was almost impossible to find any availability. Benicassim itself is a rural town, so inspired by the influx of money throwing millennials prices are hiked waaaay up for accommodation. It will also mean a lengthy walk to & from the arena at silly hours of the morning (and after a tipple or ten) but will mean warm showers and an actual bed. Have a peek at prices here.
How Much Money Will You Need?
- Festival Ticket €155/ £136
- Flight €159/ £140 – we flew London to Castellon and booked the month before. So shop around.
- Bus Transfer €18/ £15 – for a single airport to Festival transfer with Eufest.
- Glamping €75 / £66 – for Easy tent for 2 people (includes Torch, mats & lock) for 8 days (we only used 4)
- Lockers €80 / £70 – for two large lockers, this was as we were going to Paris after so put our luggage in it. Definitely not a necessity. There are smaller, cheaper lockers for passports etc if you don’t feel comfortable leaving items in your tent.
- Food €80/ £70 – cost for the entire 4 days. This included dining out. Though the first year I survived off pringles, so this budget could definitely be smaller!
- Alcohol €8/ £7 for a litre of lovely strawberry gin from the supermarket. €4/ £3.52 for a crate of 12 beers. Bar token in arena €5/ £4.40 (this may vary)
What To Pack?
Suncream. My first Beni experience was nearly ruined when I fell asleep in the sunshine (after one too many 60 cents cartons of wine) and subsequently had lobster legs. So burnt, I couldn’t bop to the Courteeners or even pull on and off my shorts without whimpers of pain.
Portable Battery Pack. It is unbelievable how big the queue is to charge your phone not to mention how expensive it is. Save the time (and money!) by purchasing a power pack here which will last the entire 4 days.
Travel Towels. Super compact these have numerous uses (other than drying yourself, obvs). We used towels as picnic blankets, for the beach or even instead of blankets if you have no space to pack a sleeping bag. You can buy one here.
In terms of clothing you need very, very little. A pair of shorts, swimwear, a T shirt or two, flip flops. Sorted.
We created a full packing list with all the essentials, whether its festivals or full blown gap years, this list has it all. Read it here.
Top Tips for Benicassim Success
- As the weather is so hot the music runs from 7pm to 7am. So our top tip would be take friends who can hack the pace, not ones who like sleep.
- Sleep all day at the beach, hiring comfortable sun loungers are a few euros (we can’t give you an exact price as each day we went they made up a different price!) These are more comfortable than a tent and the breeze from the sea means its less like sleeping in an oven.
- If on a budget shop at the supermarket. Unlike British festivals glass is allowed (in the campsite not the arena) and you are allowed to enter & exit the festival as many times as you like. This means heading to the supermarket for a crate of 12 beers for €3.20 to enjoy in the campsite instead of paying for pints in the arena. However, in comparison to British festivals, the arena prices are very reasonable. We stocked up on hummus, nibbles & hangover food from the supermarket but cannot recommend the homemade pizza from the arena enough!
- Without sounding like a mum, drink water. I bailed early the first year as a wise diet of pringles & pinot grigio for 3 days resulted in my legs to genuinely balloon twice the size. I also fainted on a road, however watching a 20-something Scottish person keel over, many assumed I was just wasted so no one helped. Luckily I was that sunburned my face couldn’t go any redder with embarrassment. I very much learnt my lesson, so when returning the following year I drank water all day before drinking at night – meaning I could actually enjoy every minute.
- Don’t contribute to the “British” reputation. Like all festivals there are some who can’t enjoy a cider or two without spoiling it for everyone. Particularly as Benicassim is a quaint Spanish town, imagine an influx of drunken, semi naked Brits demanding English breakfasts and litres of after sun. As a local you’d hate us too. If this lager lout behavior continues, understandably Benicassim won’t want us anymore, so enjoy it but don’t abuse it.
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