On top of the mountain
Every year we visit a festival somewhere in Europe. We have been doing this since 2010 together with our good friends Bart, Nathalie and Sander. We went to Oxegen in Ireland, Rock Werchter in Belgium, Sziget in Hungary and Lowlands in the Netherlands.
Last year we decided to go to Bilbao BBK Live in Spain. The festival takes place in the Arriaiz mountains surrounding Bilbao. A unique location I would say. Especially when you are staying at the camping on top of the mountain. The views over Bilbao are mindblowing.
A visit to Bilbao is an absolute must. You can go to the Guggenheim, take a walk alongside the Nervion river or enjoy Pintxos in one of the many restaurants in Bilbao. You will find the time to do so during the day because the festival does not start until the beginning of the evening. It will probably have something to do with the Siesta. To bad for us because we prefer a festival that starts at noon. What we like to do best during a festival is lying in the sun, enjoying a fresh beer while listening to a great band.
People who know me, know we visit festivals wearing our suits. One of the best things that occurred happened on the last day. We were walking towards the festival entrance and Basques were drinking in the grass alongside the road. At a certain point they all started applauding for us because we wore the suit. It felt like we were our King on Kingsday in the Netherlands. Just one word describes it all: awesome.
The festival area is small and compact but big enough to welcome thousands of visitors. This is great because you do not need to walk long distances from one stage to another. Also the program takes this into account. The bands play back to back on 3 different stages and you will have plenty of time to see everything.
As I mentioned before, the camping lies on top of the mountain. Busses drive you up and down the mountain from and to the festival area. Another possibility is to walk down because this way you can enjoy the scenery and stop whenever you want to make pictures of Bilbao. You can also take the bus down the mountain into the city. Well organized or what! Sadly we did not have the typical Spanish weather. It felt chilly every once in a while. And the wind has free reign on top of the mountain so bring enough tent pegs.
The line-up was beautiful. The headliners were the Prodigy, Black Keys, Franz Ferdinand, Allen Stone and the Christal Fighters. Between the big international bands, smaller and local basque bands were programmed. We did not understand a word they sang but the Basque temperament exploded from the stage. Each day you could find Jolien and myself in front of the stages. Partying on the tunes from the Prodigy and the guitars from The Black Keys.
We give the festival a well deserved 8,5. The combination city and festival is excellent. The line-up was very good. The only sad thing was the late programming.