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Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Festival time

I see that Adele was on at Glastonbury. I don't imagine that a Spanish festival would think to go for that same sort of mix - Enrique Iglesias alongside Vetusta Morla? Last year, as I remember, Florence inherited the top spot in Somerset, now something like that I can imagine. Indie band turned money spinner alongside the long line of competent but unexceptional bands yes, one time big pop act now reduced to second or third class status, yes, but current big industry acts, no.

I like plenty of Spanish bands but I'd be hard pressed to tout any of them as material for world domination. To date there have been no Spanish Kylies or Abbas or U2s. Luz Casals, Paco de Lucia and Mecano aren't really of the same clay.

We've been to quite a few Spanish festivals like SOS in Murcia, Low in Benidorm and FIB in Benicassim. We've also seen some Spanish big name acts from old timers to plenty of current top forty stuff and tons of indie. We've done hardly any big name international stuff though. Yesterday, more or less by chance, we ended up at a mini festival in the nearby town of Elda. We'd never heard of the festival, EMDIV, but we saw some unneeded tickets for sale on a second hand site and we ended up with them. Small scale stuff indeed. Just one stage, seven bands with DJ sets in between for the roadies to do their work. There were some filler bands, local stuff with a local following like Gimnastica and Varry Brava, but three of the Spanish bands were quality acts, standard festival fodder, Zahara, Sidonie and Supersubmarina. There was a nice enough band from Ireland too, the Delorentos, who seemed to have a really good time.

I was alone for a while whilst one of the DJ sets was on. Lots of young people were jumping up and down and singing along. Even with the music there to listen to I have no idea whether the lyrics were English or Spanish. I have albums by Supersubmarina and Zahara and  I vaguely recognised a couple of tunes but the chances of me singing along (only under my breath of course) are pretty remote. I did sing along to some old Fat Boy Slim stuff though. It's an age thing I suppose. I think it may be too late for me to learn a new repertoire.

It was the same concern when we were trying to decide whether to go for the unknown bands at the start of the day or turn up for the mid order and headline bands. It was pretty obvious that we would not be doing the full fourteen hour stint. My legs won't hold me up for that long, my contact lenses would make my eyes sore and probably I'd just fall asleep anyway. Going early had the advantages for snaps, if there's light the photos tend to be in focus, but, then again, a band on a stage in broad sunlight doesn't look quite right. Early also has space advantages. I like a bit of space around me, I like being able to move around. When it gets to 2am and whether it's the drink, the drugs or the pure exuberance that makes young people jump up and down (fine) and crash in to me (not so fine) I don't like it. I don't like being, to all intents and purposes, a prisoner until the set is over and the crowd moves off to the bars, the food stalls or the toilets.

We went early. We were there to hear the very end of the second band set, we watched three bands over the next four or five hours in relative comfort with good viewing positions, very little vomit or beer spilled on us and the chance to get a drink, go to the toilet and try some of the, always interesting, festival food. By the slightly late running 1am band it was a bit more unpleasant. The brusque passing manoeuvres, the constant dodging to avoid burns from fags or flaring joints and the wobbly neighbours made us retreat to somewhere near the mixing desk, on the edges of the crowd. We watched for a while but it was cocoa time and we were home by around 2.30.

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