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Bilbao BBK 2013

03 July 2013, 10:30 | Written by Dan Carson

The European festival market has become renowned for great value, balmy weather and blockbuster lineups. Alongside Benicassim and Primavera, Bilbao BBK Live is at the forefront of Spain’s three-pronged offering in this unprecedented boom and 2013’s edition is typically robust with scheduled performances from Vampire Weekend, The Vaccines, Depeche Mode, Kings Of Leon and Fatboy Slim among others.

Taking place over the course of three days – 11 to 13 July this year – near the foot of the renowned Kobetamendi mountain, Bilbao BBK offers one of the most unique festival camps around with stunning views over the sprawling green landscape and bustling city centre to rival that of Norway’s Oya and Hungary’s Sziget.

With the music beginning in late afternoon and continuing well into the night, days at Bilbao BBK are spent exploring the campsite, which has a reputation for a relaxed vibe unparalleled by other European events, as well as the city itself. Known for pintxos – skewered Basque tapas such as salt cod, chorizo and tortilla – as well as fine Rioja and iced coffee, there’s plenty on offer for the gastronomically focused and the astronomically hungover alike.

Moving into its eighth year, festival organisers have tripled the camping capacity with a move to nearby Arraiz Mountain; a flat green plot with space for 20,000 expected attendees and a marked upgrade from the past facilities. You can bring your sangria into the site but boozing on your own supplies in the festival zone is forbidden, as are campfires. Not that you’ll need any extra warmth with temperatures expected to reach a rather sticky twenty-nine degrees Celsius by the weekend’s close.

While gates open mid-morning on Wednesday, the music doesn’t start until the following day with London krautrock merchants TOY kicking things off on the Heineken-sponsored 2nd stage, closely followed by Mercury Prize winners Alt-J riding their Awesome Wave into town as main stage openers. Editors will perform material from their fourth studio LP The Weight Of Your Love, seguing nicely into headliners Depeche Mode, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro and a 2am set from Two Door Cinema Club.

Friday serves up similar aural delights, starting with Fred Macpherson’s bombastic indie-rock outfit Spector, followed by The Vaccines – with hopes high of more new material like sunsoaked recent teaser ‘Melody Calling’ being aired – and now festival staples, Kings Of Leon, who occupy the headline position. They may well be more ‘festival ubiquitous’ than an overflowing chemical toilet and a soul-crushing hangover but when it comes to big stages, the Tennessee quartet’s back catalogue still packs one hell of a punch.

Capping off a feast of music are Texan garage-rock dynamos White Denim, Swedish icons The Hives and New Yorkers, Vampire Weekend, fresh off the back of their rapturously received new album, Modern Vampires Of The City. And if that’s not enough to satiate discerning palettes, Fatboy Slim will bring the festival to a euphoric close in the early hours of Sunday following Greenday’s bill-topping show.

See you by the mountain.

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