Arenal Sound joined the festival circuit in 2010 – looking a bit like a poor man’s Benicàssim tagged onto the end of the season, but by securing Simple Minds, The Cranberries and Spanish superstar Miguel Bosé, it showed that it has the strength to be a contender. Orbital, Scissor Sisters, The Charlatans and Franz Ferdinand came last year, and The Kaiser Chiefs have already been lined up for 2012.
It now attracts 100,000 people, who are not just here for the bands. They’re important, but Arenal Sound also promotes itself as one of the biggest beach parties in the world, all there to be enjoyed in the scorching August heat, with the added attraction of Beach Club Live, which goes on for 24 hours day, all kinds of activities on offer both on the sand and on the water, from football tournies to jet-skiing, from volleyball to sailing, or just hanging out by the pool, on the beach or in cocktail lounges.
Life doesn’t get much better than this. So good in fact that if you’re not careful you’ll completely forget to go and see any of the bands. But bands there will be, on four separate stages and going on for four full days.
If your a shoe-gazing beard-stroker that likes discussing the way the use of reverb in the middle eight clearly reflected the singer’s marxist concerns that music downloads are killing the bootleg industry, you might find some of the things going on around you around you a little frivolous. That’s OK, you can always go fishing.
Thursday August 2 to Sunday August 5, 2012
Mumbai Science, Lori Meyers, Monarchy, Kakkmaddafakka, Love of Lesbian, Lori Meyers, Sidonie, La Pegatina, Monarchy, Second, Anni B, Sweet Catpeople, Sr Chinarro, El Columpio Asesino, Hola A Todo El Mundo, The Zombie Kids, Niños Mutantes, Corizonas, Delafé y las flores azules, Maga, Zahara, Mendetz, La Sonrisa de Julia, Smile, Chinese Christmas Cards, Cut Your Hair, Felix Da Housecat, Lasers, Cyberpunkers, Dj Amable, Pin & Pin Djs, Kostrok, Rusty Warriors, Yall, Marc Dorian Dj, Elyella Djs, Kill The Hipsters, Go Mad! & Monster, Caradeniño Dj, Faceradio Dj, Daniel Kyo and Lynda Phoenix
Address: El Arenal Beach, Burriana
Burriana is a town of some 35,000 inhabitants on the Mediterranean coast. The nearest airport is Valencia, although you could also fly to any of Alicante, Reus or Barcelona and get there by train. Even handier is Castellón Airport, which was finally opened in 2011 at a cost of €150 million. The only problem is that it still hasn’t got any flights going to it. And you wonder why this country’s in crisis?
By car, if can head up from Valencia. As long as you can see the sea on your right, you’re doing well. Or you can head down from Barcelona. As long as you can see the sea on your left, you’re also doing well. When you see a sign for Burriana, you’re doing even better. Turn off there.
The festival itself is taking place on the beach. That’s the sandy thing between the sea and the rest of Spain. You might be able to find accommodation in Burriana, but if you can’t, don’t worry. The done thing at Arenal Sound is to camp – for which there are three separate campsites available for six days. Apparently there’s 24 hour maintenance. Believe that when you see it.
Oh, and one of the great attractions of the whole thing are the boat parties. Only the first 6,000 people to apply will get a ticket for that. Sounds like the Inbetweeners movie.