Plan A Road Trip To Spain’s Top Festivals
In recent years Spain has become one of the most festival-filled countries in Europe, thanks to some pretty savvy booking by festival organisers in the country and the beautiful (and very reliable) Spanish summers. Whereas there was a time where only those with a trust fund could afford to take trips abroad to festivals, now the tickets, flights and accommodation are all bundled up into budget friendly packages that make everything much more affordable. There are so many festivals in Spain right now that it can be difficult to know which ones to choose; if you really want to have a summer to remember next year then why not hire a car in Spain and plan a road trip around all of them, taking in some of the rest of Spain in between events. You could even finish up your trip with a stop off in Ibiza if you really want to go for it!
When you start planning your road trip for next summer, book your flights early so that you arrive in Barcelona just in time for Primavera Sound (22 – 26th May http://www.sanmiguelprimaverasound.es), a five day music event with a whole range of different types of bands, artists and DJs on the bill. From the legendary Black Lips, to Death Cab For Cutie, Forest Swords, M83, Beach House and Laura Marling, you get a lot for the price of your €129 ticket. At the end of the festival, take some time out to explore Barcelona, including Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia and Barcelona beach and then hire a car and head up the coast to the French border to chill out in the fishing village of Portbou. Once you’re feeling refreshed, drive back via Girona and see its ancient Roman city so that you arrive back in Barcelona by 14th June for Sonar (14 – 16th June http://www.sonar.es/en/2012/). Sonar is set over two festival sites in Barcelona, one geared up for the daytime festival and one for the night. It offers a great selection of acts from the world of electronica and beyond, including Deadmau5, Fatboy Slim, Lana del Ray and Annie Mac.
After a few days recuperation in Barcelona after Sonar, get back on the road and head south, driving down the coast to Alicante, where you can spend a week topping up your tan and getting lots of sleep (or hitting the bars and drinking lots of cocktails). When you’re feeling ready for a festival again, head northwest towards Madrid, taking in the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Toledo on the way and then spending a few days in the Spanish capital exploring the shopping, nightlife and attractions such as the Royal Palace and the Fine Arts Museum. From Madrid you have two choices – a straight road back east to Valencia for Benicassim (12-15th July http://benicassimfestival.co.uk/), or a straight road northwest for Bilbao BBK Live (12-14th July http://www.bilbaobbklive.com/2012/index.php?lang=en). A three-day ticket in Bilbao is £88 and will buy you access to bands such as Snow Patrol, Bloc Party, Radiohead, the Kooks, The Maccabbees, Garbage and Kean. At Benicassim, for £155 you can see the likes of The Stone Roses, Florence and The Machine, The Vaccines and Katy B. After that, if you’re not all partied out then head back towards the northeast of the country for Monegros (21 July, http://www.monegrosfestival.com), which is basically a rave in the Spanish desert near Saragossa that goes on all day and all night. From there you can make the short drive back to Barcelona, leave the hire car and either take a flight back home or jump on the ferry to Ibiza to carry on the partying. Just bear in mind that with a trip like this, you might well need another holiday to recover!