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The Spanish promoter gives IQ its verdict on the 2023 festival, headlined by Florence + The Machine, Pavement and Arctic Monkeys
By James Hanley on 18 Jul 2023
Spanish independent promoter Last Tour has revealed that international sales helped drive a record year for its Bilbao BBK Live festival.
Held from 6-8 July, the festival’s 17th annual edition averaged crowds of 40,000 per day to see artists such as Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Pavement, The Chemical Brothers, Pavement and Idles, breaking the attendance record set in 2022.
Organisers say 35% of fans travelled from overseas, with 75 countries represented – led by the UK, France, the US, Germany and Italy. Three-day tickets sold out, along with passes for the final night headlined by Arctic Monkeys.
“It has been an excellent edition, and we are thrilled with the results,” Last Tour communication director Eva Castillo tells IQ. “The audience response has been great, and the changes we made, such as the new FOH setup and lower bar height, have been well-received.
“Throughout the year, we have worked on various improvements that have proven successful during the festival. We carefully listen to audience feedback each year to enhance their experience for the next edition, and they were pleased with the implemented improvements this time.”
“Diversity shone at the festival, with attendees of all kinds coexisting in the same natural space, creating a more inclusive, greener and cleaner event”
Earlier this year, the festival, along with Last Tour stablemates Cala Mijas and BIME, became the first in Europe to receive B Corp certification, joining the B Corp community – a global movement using the power of business to tackle social and environmental issues.
Day tickets for Bilbao BBK Live were priced €66, while three-day passes cost €164, or €182 plus camping. A total of €3 from each ticket was donated to help alleviate the effects of the 2022 fire at Mount Balmaseda in Enkarterri. Excess food was also donated to the Biscay Food Bank, and support was given to the migrant population through organisations such as Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak and KoopSF34.
Organisers also again dedicated their efforts to creating a space free from sexual assault with the EZ DA EZ (No means no) campaign, and introduced the Maite-Jokoa programme, promoting healthy relationships through sex education in entertainment venues.
“Diversity shone at the festival, with attendees of all kinds coexisting in the same natural space, creating a more inclusive, greener and cleaner event,” says Castillo. “Furthermore, 100 people with reduced mobility enjoyed the concerts from the new platform of Bilbao BBK Live, making the festival safe and accessible for everyone.
“Four young individuals from the LAN program, which is part of the Down Syndrome Foundation and other intellectual disabilities in the Basque Country, also gained valuable work experience during the festival.”
“The venue is unique, and this year it has been more present than ever”
Bilbao BBK Live takes place in two mountains: Kobetamendi, where the festival is held, and Arraiz, where the campsite is located, meaning mobility is a major challenge every year. In response, Last Tour provided free shuttle services operating continuously from Wednesday to Sunday.
“We also enhanced the bus services with reserved date and time slots and promoted a walking route, Kobetamendi Irteera, to reach the festival,” adds Castillo, who hails Kobetamendi as the festival’s “main headliner”.
“The venue is unique, and this year it has been more present than ever, thanks to the green decoration and the lightening of structures and stages,” she says. “Another highlight, as always, has been the audience, to whom we express our gratitude for their attitude and vitality. They have been respectful and mindful of the environment that hosts the festival, which helps us reduce the environmental impact with each edition.
“And of course, we want to acknowledge the bands and artists who have performed at the festival and delivered stellar performances, such as Florence+The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Pavement and Phoenix.”
Bilbao BBK Live returns to Kobetamendi, Bilbao, from 11-13 July 2024.
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