As an indie rock enthusiast, I went to Cala Mijas festival mainly because of The Strokes. Who would have thought that after 3 intense days and nights of concerts I would leave genuinely enjoying electronic music, listening on repeat to bands I never heard before and spending an exaggerated amount of money on records that aren’t even indie rock? That’s why you should go to festivals, because it’s definitely the best way to dive into new music in a way that is more personal and captivating than an algorithm selecting music you might like on your favourite streaming service, and more engaging than giving a listen to that band your friend keeps telling you is great.
I danced, I sweated, I slept in a dirty tent that was definitely too small for three people, but isn’t that all so beautiful? To think that after a couple of dark years we can once again gather together with hundreds of people, celebrating the power of music and forgetting the real world for a few days. Jumping and dancing to the same beats together with strangers that suddenly become your friends, and maybe even your new, fun family for a few days?
This year was the second edition of Cala Mijas. Over 110.000 people attended, and nearly 30% of the audience came from outside of Spain - mainly from Italy, Germany and the UK. The line-up was very indie/rock oriented, with The Strokes, Arcade Fire and Florence and The Machine making up the headliners. In the three days from 31st August to the 2nd of September, more than 70 bands played on 6 different stages, located in the suggestive location of Cortijo Colorado, on the Costa del Sol, surrounded by eucalyptus trees, sea and mountains.
To think that after a couple of dark years we can once again gather together with hundreds of people, celebrating the power of music and forgetting the real world for a few days
Here are my personal highlights. I will leave out the headliners because we all know The Strokes are great (in case you don’t know that, stop reading this article and go listen to Is This It):
BAXTER DURY - what can I say, I had no idea who he was, except for the fact that he is Ian Dury’s son (remember “Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll”?), but after a few minutes I was already one of his biggest fans, captured by his attitude, his tai chi poses and of course by his music. Mixing hip-hop, songwriting and new wave sounds, he creates something that catches your complete attention, never boring and with witty and clever lyrics. Check them out on Musixmatch ;)
My recommended tune: “Celebrate Me”
IDLES - angry music with a big heart, this British band from Bristol blew the crowd away. The most beautiful thing about them is their angry sound in opposition to the pure way they sing lyrics against racism and sexism:
My blood brother is an immigrant
A beautiful immigrant
He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood
He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love
He’s made of you, he’s made of me - unity
MODERAT - these three artists made me actually enjoy electronic music for the first time in my life. Probably it’s the fact that I could see with my eyes that they are indeed real people, playing instruments that simply aren’t traditional guitars and basses. The German project, born from the fusion of Modeselektor and Apparat, offered a beautiful and classy show with dreamy visuals accompanying the refined sounds and the beautiful voice of German musician Apparat.
My recommended tune: Bad Kingdom
NU GENEA - being partly Italian, I couldn’t help but feel a bit proud when the Italian duo (the only Italian act in the line-up) won over the crowd of people who probably had never heard of them before. Combining disco music with Afro and tribal music influences, they made everybody dance; try and see if you can resist!
My recommended tune: Tienaté
METRONOMY - one of the bands that best combines rock with electronics, they really set the mood for the last night of the festival, drawing one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. If you’re into rock but really want to dance, they’re definitely the band for you.
My recommended tune: The Bay
Check out this playlist if you’re looking for inspiration!