Azkena Rock is so called because it’s first edition, in 2002, was held in the Sala Azkena in Vitoria, with Bakyard Babies headlining. That was the only year that happened, for the year after, Last Tour International took it over and made it an open air festival in the Mendizabala district, immediately instating the unique aspect about Azkena – there are two stages but only one is used at a time. While one band performs, the other gets ready next door, so festival-goers don’t get to miss a thing.
It’s had an up and down existence, but has overcome all those difficulties, and 2006 marked it’s true breakthrough with 44,000 people turning up to see Pearl Jam. The focus had generally been on hard rock and punk, and places much emphasis on less commercial and more underground acts. That said, it’s also been inviting more and more high profile bands, with past visitors including Wilco, Alice Cooper, Tool, Ray Davies, Bad Religion, Sex Pistols, Deep Purple, The Black Crowes, Hanoi Rocks, Fun Lovin Criminals, KISS and Slash.
Last year there was a record 55,000 people at Azkena to see headliners Ozzy Osbourne, Queens Of The Stone Age, Brian Setzer, Paul Weller and Thin Lizzy.
Thursday June 14, 2012
Status Quo, Twisted Sister, Blue Öyster Cult, Dropkick Murphys
Steel Panther, Pentagram, Graveyard, Israel Nash Gripka, Porco Bravo, Dr Maha’s Miracle Tonic
Friday June 15, 2012
Ozzy Osbourne, The Mars Volta, Black Label Society, Danko Jones, Rich Robinson
Gallows, Gun, The Screaming Tribesmen, Lüger, Pontius, Snibb 3, Lions in the Street, Willis Drummond, Dick Brave And The Backbeats
Saturday June 16, 2012
Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Darkness, My Morning Jacket
M. Ward, Charles Bradley, Hank 3, North Mississippi Allstars Duo, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ben Kweller, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, Sallie Ford & The Sounds, Outside, The Union, Triggerfinger
Address: Recinto de Mendizabala
The official name of the second largest city in the Basque Country is Vitoria-Gasteiz (the former being the Spanish name and the latter the Basque name), and for your interest, it’s the European Green Capital in 2012 and its twin cities include Anaheim in the USA.
It has its own airport, Foronda (VIT), but is also very simple to reach from Bilbao or San Sebastian. Coming by train, the station is less than 2000m from the festival site.
And said site is in what is usually an area of wasteland not far from Estadio Mendizorroza, home of Alavés, a team now languishing in Division 2B, but that in 2001 made it all the way to the UEFA cup Final, losing that amazing final to Liverpool, 5-4. If you can work out the buses, then you could use one to get to the ‘Recinto de Mendizabala’, but Vitoria is not an enemrous metropolis, and it won’t take you too long to get there walking. It’s a nice enough city, and it would be a shame not to see a bit of it while you’re here.
There’s no campsite, although to be fair you could probably find somewhere easy enough to pitch a tent and get away with it – while if you’re planning on staying somewhere in the city, you’d better get it sorted out quick. You’re probably not going to be the only people looking for a bed for a night that weekend. Who knows, you might find yourself in the room next door to Ozzy?