It’s half past midnight in Benidorm, it’s hot and sticky and I’m standing front of stage where Catpeople have just started their set. The post-punk, Indie revival band are greeted with rapturous applause from the crowds as they turn in a polished and tight performance that sets the bar high for the impressive line-up to come tonight.
Last night was opening night of the 2011 Low Cost Festival and after missing Eli (Paperboy) Reed due to spending an hour and a half trying to find the venue on foot, I’ve invested in a taxi to get me from the Benidorm Plaza Hotel to the festival site at Recinto Cuidad Deportiva Guillermo. Five minutes later I’m at the venue and in plenty of time to take up my position front of the Azul stage. It’s possibly the best €6 I’ve ever spent.
Like so many festivals, the overlapping performances makes it hard to stay for an entire set without missing out, and Low Cost is no exception. With Catpeople still holding court I make my way to the Stereo stage where for a moment, I think I’m imagining things. Surely that’s Tina Turner on stage? ‘Tina’ turns out to be Koko Jean Davies and her band – The Excitements. Re-creating the soul and R’n’B sounds of the 60s, The Excitements are a revelation. Hi-octane, polished and living up to their name they hold my attention and keeping me dancing long after I should have headed to the Budweiser stage to sneak a look at Mika. But that’s the point of festival going, you have to let the music take you.
Dragging myself away from Koko’s storming rendition of Never Gonna Let You Go, I head back to the Azul stage where lasers and strobes are scanning the stage and the familiar hooded figure of Nathan slumps over his keyboards while Alice crawls over the stage like a cat. Crystal Castles have arrived. The volume pumps the crowd up into a frenzy and arms punctuate the night air, silhouetted against the white strobe lighting. It feels like someone flicked a switch and suddenly the standard went from just digital electronic to chaotic professionalism – a clear cut above the rest.
My retinas scorched with the lights and my ears ringing from the thumping bass of the Crystal Castles set, the night is still young in Spanish festival terms as I head over to listen to the 80s revival sound of Melbourne’s Cut Copy. Shades of Depeche Mode and the occasional Smith’s sound contribute to a high energy set that keeps the new romantics dancing in the moonlight. As 4am arrives and leaves again, I decide to abandon the rest of the night to the young and the clubbers who are waiting for FM Belfast, and Santo and Mr Chase to take up the gauntlet.
Heading out the gate I hoped to find a taxi or two just waiting to carry me to my bed but no, instead I found a queue of fifty or more tired festival goers and not a taxi in sight. Ignoring the bitching of my aching feet I headed homeward through streets still lively with night owls, finally reaching the nirvana of bed at around five am.
Tomorrow’s closing night and another 6am official finish is looming, with Love of Lesbian, the Klaxons and Shout Out Louds in the line-up. At this point I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make it unless I can get hold of one of those electronic wheelchairs that Madge rides in the TV series Benidorm. But then Madge never leaves her hotel which is a big mistake…there’s an awful lot more to Benidorm than just sun, sea and sand but right now the only other Benidorm ‘s’ I’m interested in is sleep Zzzzzz.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+