You can't really go wrong with Spanish summers. If you thought that Benicassim was the only festival commencing on Thursday the 12th of July then clearly (read this in the melancholic tone that only Thom Yorke can conjure) you have not been paying attention, paying attention, paying attention.
Its fresh-faced, boisterous brother, Bilbao’s BBK festival, is Northern Spain's indie-music alternative to the frolicks on offer on the Costa del Azahar. This year’s edition, as previously alluded to, sees Bilbao play host to alternative rock giants Radiohead, the group’s only gig in Spain this year and for those of you who have never had the chance to witness them live before, it promises to be something quite special. If true art is, as we at Relevant believe it to be, about originality and pushing boundaries then this Oxford five-piece takes some beating. From their debut single ‘Creep’ in 1992, the band has undergone a metamorphosis even Kafka himself would be proud of, their latest album ‘King of Limbs’ being much more rhythm focused, with influences from dubstep and DJing. They are an example of just what can be achieved through an open mind with regard to music.
This festival is not about one band however, other headliners include The Cure who appear to be rather fond of Spain, having already playing at this year’s Primavera Sound festival; Mumford & Sons, Bloc Party and, for those with a nostalgic yearning for their early teens, Sum 41. Being on the north coast of Spain offers to perfect climate for a festival, not quite being the same sweaty, scorching, energy sapping mess that many of Spain’s more sizzling festival sites can descend into.
This trip also can be combined, for the fearless amongst you, with a jaunt to Pamplona, which will be playing host to its famous San Fermines that week. These world renowned events involve a heard of angsty young toros being set loose on the city streets, pursuing crowds of nutters, drunkards and adrenaline seekers sometimes as far as the city’s bull ring.
The only real problem is getting there. If you have a car, take it. The public transport on this route is horrendous. Your main choice resides between paying €35 for either a train or a bus from Barcelona, both taking over seven hours. A faster, and in some cases cheaper, alternative is the hour long flight from Barcelona’s El Prat Airport for €30 with RyanAir. That said, so as not offer any company free advertising, particularly RyanAir who frankly don’t deserve it, I’d like to balance things out by encouraging you to watch this video of planes flying into the city’s notoriously windy airport before becoming too enamoured by the flight option.
Up to you.
Regardless of how you get there, make sure you do as BBK Live 2012 promises to be thunderously epic. The festival runs from 12-14th July, three day tickets can be purchased for €111 - including the booking fee. Visit http://www.bilbaobbklive.com/2012/ for more tickets and more info.