Benicassim 2: I’ve Got Soul But I’m Not A Soldier

Down through the rubbish piles I walked to the shower block. Luckily it was almost empty. I couldn’t decide whether this was down to the hour (7.00) or just a suspension of hygiene regimes by my fellow festivaliers. Fear of the shower block itself may also have been a factor.

No Hot Water Either

So… A big rectangle, concrete floors and drains and three long coldwater pipes with spaced out shower heads and taps. God knows how much urine has gone down those drains. Personally I have not risked the porta-loos. They are a no-go area for me. I came to watch bands not to contract cholera. I am using a bottle in the tent. As I also have a bottle of water in there, I’m taking care not to mix them up. I keep them in separate corners of the tent. They are different colours at least which helps. They would be harder to distinguish if I was partial to Irn Bru
There are no cubicles or curtains in the shower block. Or even a perimeter wall. Everyone goes under in swimwear or underwear. Very hygienic. No lockers and no basins or mirrors. What has happened to human rights. These showers would be unacceptable in a Mexican jail. The gang bangers wouldn’t have it. There would be irritation, which, in a Mexican jail, is the stage immediately before the rioting and the murdering spree. My shampoo and shower took ninety seconds and I was out of there.


Even Worse When It’s Busier

Back in Camp Repugnant. I got some nice fresh clothes on and headed for town. I ordered a full english at one of the bars. It came out as the Spanish interpret it. I ate the eggs, tomato and a slice of the singed bread that passes for toast, leaving the hotdog sausages and the flimsy floppy bacon. I sat near the fruit machine, unplugged it and used the socket to charge my phone, tablet, iPod and battery bank. There were wires all over the table. The staff looked at me funny. I get that a lot, so i ignored it and ordered more coffee. Before I left I was able to use their bathroom for a shave, having had the foresight to bring a razor.

I spent about four hours in some shade at the beach, came back to town and found a great bar with turbo air con. It had been 35 degrees in the early afternoon.  After a couple of freezing beers I got some pasta and headed up to the fest.

On the main stage Catfish and the Bottlemen were first up followed by The Vaccines. I watched from quite far back. I could see ok and the jumbo TVs were high quality as was the sound system. Two great bands and two great shows. They did about an hour each. As the crowd thinned which it always does between shows I found myself getting nearer and nearer to the front.

C and the BM


A Shot Of The Big Screen. The Vaccines

I was now about six rows back and there were six or seven dainty looking girls sat on the floor waiting for showtime. Brilliant. This was as far as I would go. They would be smaller than me enabling a good view. They would probably be gentle souls politely clapping each number. I know you can see where this is going.

More and more people moved in around me and the girls. My personal space halved every four or five minutes. Then the girls stood up, the two directly in front of me were about the size of Russian shot putters. Massive. North to South and East to West. Due to the expanding crowd it was now much harder to maneuver. Four equally giant males carrying flimsy litre size cups of beer pushed in front of me and hit on the girls.

crowd bennicassim

The band struck up with their latest single, ‘I’m the man.’ Two bars in and it all kicked off. The previously gentille young girls were now demented dervishes and moshing along were the four beer swilling giants. Spit, sweat, beer and fag ends filled the air. And this is a new single. What’s gonna happen when the band fire up into a real anthem like Mr Brightside or Human. I ‘watched’ a couple of more tunes and realised, being amphetamine-free, I had no business in the moshpit.

Bursting through the crowd, moving away from the stage towards me, came a truck dressed as a man. Behind and holding on to the truck was his distressed girlfriend. It had all gotten a bit too much for her and the human juggernaut was barrelling through the mob, to get her to the relative calm at the perimeter. Here was my chance. I followed them. Like a running back behind my lead blockers. Other revellers adopted my great idea and joined on behind me. A conga line formed and we snaked our way to the outside.

Although it was still crowded it was 400 times better further back. A lot of people were still on the move, forwards and backwards. Inexplicably many were carrying drinks through the crowds. How is that a good idea? Every now and then someone would throw a plastic cup of beer high into the air, showering everyone in the vicinity. At €9 a litre I prefer to drink mine.

Mental In The Mosh Pit
Further Back. Like Being On A Desert Island Compared To The Front.

Anyway The Killers nailed it and Brandon pulled his regular stunt of getting an audience member up to drum on ‘For Reasons Unknown.’ This is a regular event at Killers concerts now. Hopeful drummers in the front few rows hold up placards proclaiming “Can I Drum?’ A local guy got the call and he absolutely smashed it. It’s a cool idea whoever came up with it.

Great show and afterwards I retreated to one of the many bars for a drink or six. Eventually I left the noisy litter strewn stages area for my even noisier and dirtier tent area. About three hours until dawn and no chance of sleep. Ah well. Whaddaya gonna do?

Next: I find €100

  • First Part of Benicassim  HERE
  • Links to the other stuff, Camino, Seville etc  HERE
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