Music and Spain have always gone hand in hand. It’s a country not only steeped in culture but also one that has provided rich inspiration and understanding for many artists. Top that with a love of celebration, fine weather, and long nights and the country makes the perfect location for a festival. Here, Culture Trip breaks down the best ones to let your hair down at – no matter what your musical taste.
Arguably the most famous entry on the list, Benicassim has showcased the greatest in indie, alternative, electro, and everything in-between for the past 20 years. Taking place just north of Castellon, and with perfect access for hanging out on the beach, this four-day event brings the best times and the biggest musical hitters.
For those who like their festivals a bit more relaxed and intimate, Vida has plenty to offer. Taking place in a charming coastal woodland and with acts sometimes performing from a land-locked boat, it’s fair to say that this festival is for those wanting to take a break from it all. However, the more relaxed pace still attracts big names, the likes of War on Drugs, Wilco, and Primal Scream performing in recent years.
Proving that the UK doesn’t hold a monopoly on Hard Rock weekenders, Azkena promises two days of the finest metal, punk, and classic riffage. With icons such as Kiss and Tool playing in the past, its fast-approaching fifteenth year should no doubt be a time to remember. Add in the fact that it takes place in beautiful Vitoria-Gasteiz, capital of the Basque community, and you have a recipe for a perfect time.
A must-go for any electronic fan, Sonár’s lineup announcements are always a thing of wonder. More akin to a complete takeover of Barcelona, thanks to its famed ‘Off Sonár’ after-parties, there’s no shortage of talent on offer here. Adding to the appeal, however, is a series of conferences and talks by industry professionals as well as a real sense of community amongst those attending.
There’s no escaping that the main attraction here is that this festival takes place in a huge waterpark, Illa Fantasia. With over 18,000 in attendance, free transport, and a huge range of bars to satisfy thirst, I Am Global provides the opposite to the usual camping experience.
Fast trying to take Primavera’s indie crown, Madrid’s DCODE festival has the financial advantage of being just one day. Taking place in September, this is one of the last chances to catch some of the best live bands on the circuit while the sun still blazes. With acclaimed groups such as Beck and Foals taking the stage in recent years, DCODE always manages to make sure a lack of quantity is made up with sheer quality.
With the Arriaz mountains to look at, nearby beaches to lounge on, and music starting later so one can enjoy sunbathing, BBK is the perfect all-rounder. Attracting huge names such as Muse and Kings of Leon, and with Bilbao itself to explore in the day, it is no accident this is one of the most admired festivals in Europe.
If you’re looking for more than just a weekend to remember, look no further than Arenal Sound. This Burriana-set shindig offers six days of the best rock, pop, and indie. Approaching its fifth year, Arenal’s popularity has been growing quickly, partly due to its understanding that it takes more than great acts to make a great festival.
Only recently arriving in Spain, DGTL is a DJ’s dream. Interactive performance art, arresting set design, and a crowd ready to dance the night away make this an unforgettable experience. With the likes of Boddika and Pearson Sound previously on the decks, this year is sure to promise another fantastic lineup to get Barcelona moving.
The king of indie festivals in Europe, over 100,000 people travel to Parc del Forum each year for Primavera Sound to catch headliners like The Cure and Radiohead. Industry icons and exciting newcomers fill the program, while those wanting to escape the music have all of Barcelona and, indeed, Barceloneta to explore. It’s a combination that brings attendees back year after year.