Bilbao BBK Live closes its 17th edition, a three-day festival that has left an unforgettable mark on the attendees and the organisers. Between Thursday and Saturday, the emblematic mountain of Kobetamendi has been transformed into a vibrant epic-centre of music. With a top-level line-up, Bilbao BBK Live has brought together more than 120,000 people from all corners of the world to enjoy the concerts in Kobetamendi and Bereziak – the festival’s programme of free concerts across Bilbao. From the kick off on Thursday to the end of Saturday, the festival has offered an all rounded experience, celebrating diversity, local culture and world class international musicals.
This year, 35% of the public was international, coming from 75 countries, with the United Kingdom, France, the US, Germany and Italy as the leading countries of origin.
In the opening of this seventeenth edition of the Basque festival, more than thirty international and nationals met at the top of Kobetamendi with Bilbao as a magical backdrop. Surprising festival goers at early hours of the afternoon, an aizkolari (Basque rural athlete) splits a car in two as part of a surprise performance. This celebration of the Basque folklore is part of SuperEuskadi – an artistic project by Vicente Paredes.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE is one of the most awaited shows of this edition exceeding expectations at the Nagusia stage performing classic anthems like Shake It Out, Never Let Me Go or Free. Way past midnight, the electronic storm of THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, who have lived up to their legacy offering a spectacular show with incredible visuals.
The iconic queer powerhouse, VILLANO ANTILLANO, who delighted the Beefeater stage crowd with an energetic show full of dance, reggaeton and dancehall while doing a call for the inclusion and freedom of the LGTBIQ+ community.
The iconic performance by M83 made the crowds emotional with throwback classic hits like Midnight City and Wait. HAAi’s mesmerising set at BASOA kept revellers in a glorious trance paying homage to one of the most special stages of the festival which also saw powerful sets by VIOLET, ANZ or CALL SUPER.
The nostalgia infused show by PAVEMENT. The Californian band brought back their 90s indie rock sounds lead by Stephen Malkmus.
TINARIWEN, the Tuareg musicians performed a beautiful show full of blues and folk sounds during the golden hour at the Txiki stage. At the Beefeater stage, the Colombian rapper NANPA BÁSICO surprised everyone with his romantic lyrics and powerful visuals.
The charismatic and contagious RÓISÍN MURPHY, who has dazzled with a refreshing show full of costume changes, versions of their own songs and constant nods to the disco music in what has been one of the funniest and most intense live performances on Friday.
PHOENIX defined the second day of the festival reliving the best indie hits of the decade of the 2000s with its Frenchified pop present in If I Ever Feel Better, 1901 or Lisztomania, and presenting new melodies from his latest opus Alpha Zulu.
The complete x-ray of national and international electronica, both at LASAI, where the polished vision of the Andalusian GAZZI, in charge of curating this day, has brought us icons of ambient and slow tempos such as 8KITOO or MALIBU; like in BASOA, where we have been able to travel from the reimagined Latin rhythms of Denmark to the frenetic SHERELLE’s set.
The sensory ecstasy unleashed by THE BLAZE, who transported the public to their universe particularly through hypnotic rhythms and emotional melodies, which were fused with some enveloping and overwhelming visuals, creating a magical atmosphere full of energy and intensity.
Saturday was the perfect ending of the festival featuring unforgettable performances like the ARCTIC MONKEYS, YOUNG FATHERS, GAZZI, LA PALOMA, THE LAST DINNER PARTY and IDLES to name a few.
Once again, the great headliner of the festival has been Kobetamendi – a festival venue totally surrounded by nature, who this year has been more present than ever with the decoration of the stages using natural leaves and tree branches. Once the stages are taken down, all the decorations will be used as compost to promote the reforestation of the burned forests of Balmaseda.
Diversity has been a big protagonist of this edition welcoming music fans from all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Bilbao BBK Live closes 2023 without any serious incident reports being made during the three days of the festival. In an effort to support meaningful causes, festival goers have donated €3 from each ticket to alleviate the effects of the 2022 fire on Mount Balmaseda in Enkarterri, the festival donated surplus food to the Bizkaia Food Bank, awareness raising and support for the migrant population through Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak and KoopSF34. And for yet another year, the festival has fought to become a space free of sexist attacks with the campaign “EZ DA EZ” (No means No).
Bilbao BBK Live will return in 2024 between the 11th and 13th of July.