Benicàssim Gets Over Madrid

Although Festival Internacional de Benicàssim fell short of a sellout for the first time in three years, it looks to have done more than well enough to cover the new one-day twinned event it set up in Madrid.

Another couple of thousand per day or even pegging the capacity at 35,000 would have seen Irish promoters Denis Desmond and Vince Power complete a hat-trick of sellouts since buying a majority share of Benicàssim in the spring of 2006.

This year’s gathering continued to justify the festival’s "Internacional" tag as somewhere between 55 and 60 percent of the crowd came from outside of Spain.

Power, Desmond and Jose and Miguel Moran of Maraworld – the brothers who own the remaining share of the festival – seem determined to create a twin, but the first-year experiment in Madrid looks to have been an unfortunate mishap.

Problems finding a venue resulted in it becoming a one-day event at the city’s 15,000-capacity Juan Carlos I Auditorium July 19, which clashed with the Madrid leg of Sinnamon Productions’ Summercase Festival.

Maraworld said 9,000 showed for a bill that included Morrissey, My Bloody Valentine, Siouxsie, Mika, Babyshambles and Hot Chip, while 20 kilometres away Summercase appeared not to suffer as almost 20,000 turned up to Boadilla del Monte to see a lineup headed by The Verve, Blondie, Interpol, Grinderman, Primal Scream and Maximo Park.

Fans who bought the full weekend ticket for Summercase got to see a bill including Kings Of Leon, Kaiser Chiefs, The Breeders, Mogwai, The Kooks and Sex Pistols the previous day, which may have tipped the balance against Benicàssim.

Failing to sell out the main four-day festival on the Mediterranean coast was far from a disaster. The event has achieved only three sellouts in its 14-year history, as a 30,000-capacity event in 2002 and as 35,000-capacity event in ’06 and ’07, so this year’s 37,500 per day crowd was still a record.

Acts who played the main July 17-20 event but didn’t double-up in Madrid included Leonard Cohen, The Raconteurs, Sigur Ros, Richard Hawley, Roisin Murphy, Justice, Death Cab For Cutie and The Ting Tings.

Sinnamon press officer Pedro Moscoso said the company was happy with 20,000 in Madrid and the event "really didn’t suffer from the competition that much."

The festival and its 20,000-capacity twin at Barcelona’s Parc del Forum pulled 80,000 in total July 18-19.

The overall results continued the good start to the Spanish outdoor season.

Apart from the success of the first staging of Rock In Rio In Madrid, the third edition of Last Tour International’s BBK Live Festival attracted close to 80,000 over three days for a July 4-6 lineup that included The Police, R.E.M., Lenny Kravitz, Madness, The Prodigy, ZZ Top, The Dandy Warhols, Morcheeba, and The Wombats.