Benicassim (FIB) - The best fest in the world?
Andrew Future - 11 July 2003
Interview with FIB's José Luis Morán
FIB - The Festival Internacional de Benicassim is the best festival in the world. Last year it has Radiohead, Muse and The Cure, and this year it has an equally top line up playing under the stars in the mountain backed, seaside resort in southern Spain. All the bands go on at night, leaving you free to soak up the sun and the beach during the day. The festival has a range of indie and dance, as well a theatre, fashion shows, films and modern culture. It's the perfect setting for the time of your life. Visit the Official FIB site and get your ass there!
As a bit of background, we chatted to Jose, one of the gents behind the event
Who are you and what do you do to make FIB the best festival in Europe (we've only been once and it was the greatest thing ever!)?
My name is José Luis Morán and I am the co-director of FIB. I think the public and press are the ones to say what they think of the Festival, so thank you for the compliment. It would be very difficult numbering the things that have made us get here. More than a project there is a passion that is difficult to quantify. In my opinion there are 5 reasons that have helped to bring the festival to where it is.: first of all, and I don't know if this is the right order, the team that works during the year on this project. Second, the festival placement - a city at the beach in south Spain-.The third reason, the way the artists are treated; from their arriving to their departure. Forth, the state of the art production of the Festival and the last but no the least one is the great audience we have. They have a very good musical knowledge and everybody lives and participates on the concerts like no other.
What were the highlights from 2002?
Radiohead and The Cure. Having the two bands at the Festival was very exciting and they created a lot of excitement; it was a big success.
What have been the most important bands to play?
Radiohead, The Cure, Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, Paul Weller, Belle and Sebastian, Dj Shadow, S. Etienne,Air...more or less...
What have been the worst?
Friday and Saturday was rain menace and all were working under a lot of tension. Finally it did not rain but it would have been a big problem for the Festival like this.
Is having a free bar and a swimming pool backstage asking for trouble?
No, I don't think so. Spain is a country used to party until late and so our guests. There has never been a problem during these years and I don't think it will. The swimming pool is great for anyone that wants and can use it. The water is always relaxing. It is our distinguishing mark!
What ways will you set about making 2003 even better?
It is not easy to improve year by year. Anyway, year after year we try to get better infrastructures and camp areas to make the audience feel more comfortable, but it gets a point where we cannot get better just for many circumstances out of our control.
What was your first festival experience and what's been the best band you've seen?
In 1995... a long time ago.... Without doubt ; Bjork and Radiohead, of course many many more, but this ones stand up.
In England in 2002 at the Leeds festival where Guns n Roses played, there were huge fires as campers started riots, setting toilets on fire - has anything like that ever happened in Spain or in Europe?
Not in Spain. I think here people are more calm and don't get influenced so much for alcohol or drugs. I think that people attend the festivals to enjoy with respect and it is difficult when they get aggressive.
Do you think it should be allowed to carry on?
In my opinion the vandalism of a few cannot prejudice others. Most of the people behave correctly. Festivals are unique experiences where people can enjoy music at a very good price, where levels of tolerance and communication are greatest than in everyday life. Maybe this situations are unavoidable. It is impossible to get control of all the people attending a festival and we depend on their community spirit. Getting back to football, what would happened if all the stadiums where there had been violence in were closed?
How do you perceive Mean Fiddler's involvement in the festival industry?
Mean Fiddler Group is a big company on the entertainment field. It has experience and a good reputation. In my opinion it is positive its involvement in the festival industry. It is always good if the big companies contribute to the better and bigger development of music but only if they don't have an aggressive policy.
Have you been to any UK events?
Yes, in Reading, Glastonbury, Leeds and some smaller ones which I don't remember the name of!
What do you see as the benefits of holding a huge music festival far away from a big city?
Maybe the most important and only reason is that makes easier to accede and negotiate with the local governments. But in another hand the production is more expensive and complicated..
What do you think festival goers want to see more of at events?
Enjoyment, freedom, to know people, listen good music, it is a kind of religion that everybody should practice at least one time in their lives.
What will FIB 2003 do to surprise us and rejuvenate our inspiration for music festivals (we go to so many!)?
Get off the lights and scare you? Or maybe make you spend time with our audience to get a touch of their freshness... I don't know, we hope to surprise you this year...
How do you see the role of the internet in music and with events such as FIB?
Fundamental. Nowadays totally important. From communicating to sale and buy and also to entertain and learn. In our country is not yet as big as it should be but it is true that most young people use it almost for everything and this is the FIB target.
How do you see FIB evolving and changing over the next few years?
Securing its place in the Spanish and international festival market. Like one of the most interesting culture offers in Europe. The FIB is more than music is: dance, theatre, film, dosing and art.
What did you personally get out of FIB last year?
That it was great, that one cannot get to sleep. The market evolves very fast and we need to be aware of the new tendencies. The Sold Out carries unknown problems until then.
What was the most important thing you learned from FIB over the last few years?
To be very patient and tolerant. I also have got more professional in such "special" field as it is music.
Who else is going to be at this year's festival?
Blur, Beck, Travis, Placebo, Suede, The Coral, The Raveonettes...
When was the last time you camped at a festival?
I think it was at Reading a lot of years ago. It was specially unpleasant because of the rain but the festival was great.
Why is FIB so popular with people from across Europe? It's a truly international event!
In my opinion the Festival personality has surprised most people who have made something special out of it. Also, I think the international promotion has been made with a proper criteria and on the right countries. The rest is thanks to wprd of mouth.
Muchas gracias, hasta la vista en augosto!
Don't forget, buy your tickets at the Official FIB site