Preview of Benicassim Festival taking place Costa Del Azhar, Spain on 15th-18th July 2010

Ok, so miraculously Glastonbury might have had the weather to rival Benicassim this year, but did it have the beach? Did it have the Mediterranean all night party atmosphere? Did it have the line up? Maybe not. The mother of all European festivals is now in its 16th year and has become renowned for providing us with four solid days of the most popular music the world has to offer...and a few surprises.

Benicassim Festival

Situated right on the beach, the festival is in effect a nine day party, with the campsite opening three days before the festival and remaining open for two days after. And as Spanish times apply, the festival doesn't get started until 5.30pm and carries on through the night, leaving you plenty of time to hit the beach and enjoy the sun during the day. It not only provides great music but also art, theatre, short films and the now obligatory 'Silent Disco'.

With past line ups rivalling that of any world renowned festival, this year doesn't disappoint. The headliners are bands of the calibre you'd expect for an event like this; Kasabian and Vampire Weekend on Thursday and Friday and The Gorillaz on Sunday; hopefully they will have a better reception in Spain than they did when they stepped in for U2 at Glastonbury. But the headliners sure to steal the show are the mighty Prodigy on Saturday night; their epic live show is one not to be missed.

Of course Benicassim attracts all the festival staples; Dizzee Rascal, Lily Allen, The Courteeners, The Cribs and many more, but it also has some real gems. Ray Davis (The Kinks), fresh from bringing a tear to the eye of everyone in the crowd at the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury this year, and Peter Hook (Joy Division) who will be playing the band's iconic album 'Unknown Pleasures'. And for a real cult classic, the Sex Pistol's John Lydon's band PiL will be headlining the stage on the Saturday night - competing with The Prodigy - decisions, decisions! For the most random line up of the festival, head to the stage on Friday night to see alt-folk rockers Mumford And Sons followed by Calvin Harris, before the ethereal synth-pop of Goldfrapp headline the stage.

New music is on the agenda too. Having released their second album to critical acclaim in May this year; Foals are definitely ones to watch. And a band who have supported them in the past are the Northern Irish trio Two Door Cinema club. They have been tipped as ones to watch this year in pretty much every poll going and they bring their quirky electro-pop to the stage on the Sunday. If it's a chill out you're after, the atmospheric sounds of Australian band Temper Trap headline the stage on the Thursday night, whilst the Strokes front man, Julian Casablancas continues his tour of the festivals with another solo set well worth a watch on the main stage on Friday night.

So with multitude of bands to choose from, and just as many extra-musical activities, our main problem will be finding the time to enjoy the sun and everything else this Mediterranean beach town has to offer.

Robyn Burrows

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