Nestled on the mountainous slopes of Kobetamendi Hill, the Spanish festival features impressive views and brings a diverse crowd from all walks of life

While the idea of a Spanish festival usually conjures up images of festival goers partying under the sprawling sun, Bilbao is a city of contrasts juxtaposing the new with the old, misty nights humid with rain to days of scorching heat, and fans of classic rock anthems to pop lovers and ravers. The downpour, however, doesn’t deter the Spanish crowds and the festival remains an essential three-day annual event combining rock, pop and punk with pints of chips and breathtaking views. Scroll down for our five main take aways from Bilbao BBK.

© Dena Flows
01

IDLES pretending to be The 1975

Hailing from Bristol, there was some intrigue about whether the band’s reputation for raw, charged punk had rippled across the ocean. While the crowd began as small as around 20 people, the band delivered an incendiary performance that galvanised the audience from its humble beginnings and apathetic mood to a roaring mosh pit. People got knocked down, a writer was punched in the nose (he suspected it was broken the next day). Spanish festival goers at the front knew all of the words, save for the one person who shouted, “The 1975!”. Frontman Joe Talbot was quick to respond by pretending that they were, indeed, The 1975. Guitarist Lee Kieran and bassist Adam Devonshire both jumped into the audience at different points during their performance, continuing their screaming and instrumentals surrounded by a furious crowd that mirrored their anger and bellowed back. The set ended with chants of “Well done!” – a track on 2017’s Brutalism – from a much larger and impassioned audience than was seen at the beginning.

© Tom Hagen
02

Depeche Mode closing with Personal Jesus

While the legendary band walked through their newer material and hits, there was a lull in the group’s encore – that was preceded by the crowd singing Just Can’t Get Enough‘s opening. However, the set culminated with the anthemic closer Personal Jesus, throughout which Dave Gahan swung his hips and strutted round on stage, reminding people why Depeche Mode are one of the greatest rock bands alive.

© Tom Hagen
03

Things got freaky with Die Antwoord

The rave-rap group gave an energetic high-octane performance at the main stage on the last night. Yolandi Visser’s devilishly sweet and syrupy vocals whispered and screeched all whilst she was bounced and zipped round the stage. Large volumes of smoke blasted out to the beats, complemented by a bonkers show of trippy visuals with bananas and brains revolving on the backdrop, and dancers dressed as dinosaurs.

04

Basoa is the festival’s best stage

Seeing festival goers through the night was the Basoa stage. Implemented as recently as 2016, the stage saw DJs and producers such as The Black Madonna, Dixon, Lena Willikens, Andrew Weatherall and DJ Tennis take to the decks. Lit by heavy strobe lighting that mixed with the copious amounts of dry ice, a cloudy illusion rippled through the crowd in the outdoor area. Enshrouded by trees, the lights filtered through the leaves to give a utopian glittering effect, while the artists kept the vibe levels high.

The Basoa Stage at @bilbaobbklive ✨ – #bbklive17

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05

The Killers drew one of the largest crowds filled with dedicated fans

Turns out people really like The Killers.

Apoteosico están siendo @thekillers en este #bbklive17 #foreverbbklive

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