Yes, as Grey said in his comment on my brief binary review, I was warned. I seriously doubt that I’ll go back to Summercase. Here’s my Last.fm review (links point to last.fm pages).
In over 11 years of regularly attending pop festivals, Summercase 2008 was by far and away the worst organised and most blatantly commercial event I’ve ever attended.
The lineup was poor and got worse with the loss of mia and Santogold, among others. A group of low-quality English pop groups (Maximo Park, Kaiser Chiefs, Sex Pistols, The Verve…) dominated the lineup and left little room for decent local or international break-through acts.
Also, the organisers’ addiction to Disneyfied 1970s acts (Sex Pistols, Blondie, The Stranglers…) made for further dull concerts as large groups of 20-somethings mumbled through the lyrics to Atomic, a song which was fist performed before any of them were conceived. Incidentally, Blondie’s guitarist also managed to mess-up the guitar-part for Atomic, despite it being one of the most celebrated riffs in pop history. Give you a clue: it’s not good enough to just play the notes in the right order… you need to get the rhythm right too.
The thing is that, of what I saw, the only truly great concert was by Cornelius (easily the most experimental artist playing at this MOR event). Pretty much everything else was just rubbish.
As to the general organisation of the event, we were shocked and dismayed at the rudeness and generally low level of service offered by the Summercase team. Part of this was to do with the alleged policy of festival organisers to employ staff not from Barcelona, in order to prevent the normal issue of ‘free drinks for friends’ happening. What this resulted in was a service team of rude and aggressive non-locals who spoke neither Catalan nor English, and who were quite clearly unhappy with their work. Added to this, the females were forced to wear very tight pink t-shirts (men were in brown), and the festival succeeded in making itself not only a gross display of consumerism but also perfectly happy with breaking Barcelona’s modern conventions on language, culture and gender equality.
This year, I decided not to attend FIB because I thought the lineup didn’t justify a trip down to Castelló… especially when I had a festival on my doorstep. I won’t make that mistake again. And it looks like, with a huge drop in attendance, Summercase needs to sort out its act or clear off altogether.
Summercase 2008: 0