April 16, 2021

Nine hours on a bus on the way to Arenal Sound | Culture


"My daughter is a very responsible girl and I have a lot of confidence. Besides, she has to let go and have experiences." A few meters away, Mague, a 21-year-old Optics student, smiles silently at her father's words. His gesture seems more of assent than of forgiveness. "Let's see what happens," he says. You are about to get on a bus that will take you from Santander to the festival with the reputation of being the most partying and unbridled of Spain, the Arenal Sound. It's almost 10 p.m. on Monday and the first concerts start on Tuesday. The trip lasts nine hours and crosses 680 kilometers from the North to East Peninsula.

The twenties are equipped with suitcases, backpacks, chairs and folding tables, portable refrigerators, pillows, umbrellas, sleeping bags and mats. Many of them wear almost legless pants; Among them the bare neck predominates and the use of the fanny pack as a shoulder strap. And all glued to the mobile. "Where I have it." "I have no data". "There is to plug it in." They are some of l10,000 young people who have boarded the 200 buses chartered from numerous cities in the country to the town of Castellón, to attend the event until Sunday. Last year, the six days of festival added 300,000 spectators. This year, it is expected to exceed the figure.

"The music is not as important as the good vibes there are. I don't care about the cartel. There are no fights, people are quietly out of date," says Kevin, 25, who works in a factory and repeats for the third year. "I do go to music. This year for Vetusta Morla, Farruko, Karol G," David intervenes next to him, who is in his fifth edition. "Man, Martin Garrix and Don Diablo are also cool," says a third of the DJ Dutch, among the top five according to the magazine D3. Pop, rock, reggaeton, rap, trap, electronics, all styles have a place in the Arenal Sound. "I have no idea what my son hears. For me, Don Diablo is that song by Miguel Bosé from 'Don Diablo has escaped, you don't know what he has put together …", a mother comments humorously, just before Let the bus park on the platform.

The bustle grows, the farewells accelerate, some drowned crying is seen, the luggage compartments swallow the multiple belongings, people go up the stairs. The driver is noticed tanned. "You won't bring alcoholic beverages there, right?" He repeats. "No, no," they answer. "I only carry drugs, but they are not noticeable," says one shortly before refusing. Víctor, a Paraguayan who has been living in Santander for 15 years, puts order, agrees to wait a little for what is missing, explains the itinerary, with stops included, and starts his bus.

Drizzle through Bilbao. The passage is quiet. Music is heard, but most wear their helmets. There are hardly any screams. There is only a debate among several passengers about whether the cartel has fallen short in celebrities, in the tenth edition. "They say that the bombshell is 30 Seconds to Mars and I don't see it that much," says one girl about the American band led by the Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto. "Yes, the truth is, but Don Patricio is very cool," another responds, referring to the rapper from the Canary Islands.

At the height of Logroño, the first stop arrives. More Cantabrian front buses coincide. The only person who attends the 24-hour service area is unable to supply. No such influx was expected. Some threaten to take something, given the lack of control. Others point the cameras. Some take out their sandwiches. A couple rolls up on the swings. A small group ties a joint discreetly. The drivers make their huddle, drinking coffee. When they arrive in Burriana, they will park their buses until the end of the festival and those from the north front will return only in one towards their destination of origin. It scratches. Better get back to the bus.


Two 'sounders' collect their things upon arrival in Burriana.



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Two 'sounders' collect their things upon arrival in Burriana.

In the line that seems endless that connects Zaragoza and Teruel, under the clean and starry sky of this depopulated part of the so-called Spanish Lapland, small lights stand out in the dark. They mark the price of diesel at a distant gas station. Almost the entire passage is asleep or sleepy. It rearranges, moves. You hear one whisper on your mobile. Talk to a colleague who is already in the Arenal and has been able to catch a place in the camping.

The bus is already on the road to Castellón. The driver comments that there are usually Civil Guard controls in the vicinity of large festivals in search of drugs. Nobody says anything. Sunrise The dogs do not appear. People start to stretch. Orange groves alternate with ceramic factories. The bus turns to Burriana. It smells like the sea. The accesses to the festival are controlled by numerous auxiliaries and local police. You can see the skeletons of the huge stages and a sea of ​​plastic that resembles the greenhouses under which tents are sheltered from the sun. The bus definitely stops. Faces of expectation and fatigue. Kevin shoots out: "I call my mother and I don't pick up my cell phone until the end. It's my moment to disconnect."

A festival that keeps growing: now with the FIB

More than 10,000 square meters of space has won the Arenal Sound in this edition, although the daily capacity is maintained at 60,000 people. Security measures have been increased. In addition, the number of festivals organized by those responsible for the Burriana contest, the brothers David and Toño Sánchez Sotillos, who landed in the town of Castellón with two local partners.

Both, through their company The Music Republic, control festivals such as Interstellar Sevilla, Viña Rock, Granada Rock, the Festival of Les Arts and Madrid Salvaje. And now they are going to buy the pioneer festival of mass dating in summer in Spain, that of Benicàssim (FIB). Today, however, the organization does not want to talk about anything other than the Arenal Sound. Time will be for the FIB.

The mayor of Burriana, Maria Josep Safont, visited the site on Monday and discussed the improvements in the space for the transit of people. Two years ago, there was a problem of saturation of the capacity that could be solved. The intense neighborhood protests of a few years ago, translated into complaints about the noise and inconvenience caused by a festival of such magnitude, have been halted with an agreement reached with the organization.

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