Bilbao BBK Live
This festival, which takes its name from the savings bank that sponsors it, has been running since 2006. Perhaps because it doesn’t offer the same sun, sea and sand package as the Mediterranean festivals, it’s not quite as widely known, but in terms of the music on offer, this one probably beats the lot. The typical BBK Rocks line-up includes a good six, seven or eight acts that would headline wherever they went in the world. The focus is generally rock oriented, but there’s plenty of pop and indie in there too.
In 2012, and for the first time, there will be three stages. BBK is also unusual in that each day’s session doesn’t start until around 4pm, so there’s plenty of time to sleep of the old hangover, and it always manages to work the programme out to ensure that none of the main artists overlap – so you don’t end up sitting through all the support acts and then finding all the good ones come on at the same sodding time.
The first six editions of BBK Live have welcomed such illustrious names as Guns N’Roses, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Metallica, The Police, REM, Depeche Mode, Primal Scream, Rammstein, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Blondie, The Prodigy, the Manic Street Preachers, Lenny Kravitz and The Prodigy. Last year, it attracted a record 103,000 – with one of the main attractions being Amy Winehouse, who cancelled due to personal problems, and died two weeks later.
Thursday July 12, 2012
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Band of Skulls, Lori Meyers, The Gift, The Maccabees, Ben Howard, Tribes, Young Guns
Friday July 13, 2012
Noah & The Whale, Warpaint, Mumford & Sons, Vetusta Morla, Four Tet, Zea Mays, Here We Go Magic, Zoé
Saturday July 14, 2012
Corizonas, Enter Shikari, The Inspector Cluzo &, Pure Love
Address: Monte Cobetas
Bilbao is the capital of the Basque Country, a part of the Iberian Peninsula that has a very different language and culture to ‘Spain’, the country to which many of its inhabitants unwillingly belong. But without getting dragged into the politics of the thing, suffice to say that Bilbao is one of the most welcoming cities in … well in wherever … and has a lot more to offer than the usual festival locations where you’ll spend most of your time next to sunburnt Brits puking their guts up. Bilbao BBK is a place for people that have come for the thing that matters most – the music.
You can fly there direct, or otherwise go to Santander, which just an hour’s drive away. The location of the festival itself is Monte Cobetas, a hill right in the middle of the city, with the district of Altamira upon part of it – which means ‘high view’, and does indeed offer a spectacular panoramic view of the city.
From wherever you’re staying, the walk there is a pleasant one, but if you prefer to take a ride, there are free shuttle buses leaving from outside San Mamés, home of the local footy team, Athletic Club (don’t call them Athletic Bilbao, for some reason the locals don’t like it, it’s Athletic Club and that’s all), and also from the adjacent sister-city of Barakaldo, in front of the Bilbao Exhibition Centre.
Like all good festivals, however, the price of the ticket also includes the right to camp right next to the festival site, which is by far the funnest option and saves all the hassle of trying to get back to your hotel in the small hours of the morning, only to trek all the way back to Monte Cobetas the next day.
As is so common at these festivals, you can’t take in your own food and drink, because that would spoil the fun of having to queue for hours for the extortionately priced stuff available inside. Ah, the joys of festivals…