A medium-sized festival of about 40,000, Bilbao BBK Live offers an eclectic line-up at a strong value-for-money price point. The festival takes place on a mountain about 30 minutes outside of Bilbao, in Spain’s Basque country, making it a very viable option to stay in Bilbao rather than camp. Equally, if you are a bit of a culture vulture, you can avoid those slightly hazy, uneventful festival mornings by heading off to Bilbao in the morning.
Heading up the main stages are an eclectic range of guitar bands – Arcade Fire, Pixies and Foals. At the pop end of the electronic music spectrum, is Grimes, Years & Years, Hot Chip, and M83. Jargwar Ma, Tame Impala and Father John Misty (who, for some reason, has a credit on Beyonce’s new album) bring a bit of psychedelia to the line-up, while the Editors and New Order bring a solid chunk of New Wave vibes. Other standouts include Courtney Barnett, one of 2015’s breakthrough rock artists, and Jose Gonzales, a stalwart of the festival scene who always plays brilliant, laid-back sets.
Bilbao BBK has added Basoa, a further electronic stage, this year with a very strong line-up. Basoa is Basque for ‘the forest’ and the stage is billed as a magical and mysterious addition to Bilbao BBK. From the line-up, Bilbao BBK has started off its foray into electronic music in style, opting for the likes of Floating Points, Four Tet, Ame and Fort Romeau. The Basoa stage’s diverse and high-quality line-up is more than just a token add-on to an otherwise relatively straight-up indie festival, showing a recognition of the relevance of electronic music to contemporary music culture.
Tickets with camping are selling for £100.50. Flights are direct from London and Manchester to Bilbao.