Since 2012, the Gibraltarians have had the chance to see their favourite musicians at their very own genre-varied festival to mark the celebration of their very own national week.
Great Britain hosts several big annual music festivals during the summer months, such as Glastonbury, Reading or Download Festival to name a few, but no one ever thought to have such a grand-scale music event in Britain’s very own overseas territory of Gibraltar.
In August of 2012, it was confirmed by Gibraltar’s Ministry of Culture that the following month, they would host their very first annual music festival. There and then, Gibraltar Music Festival was born. The very first festival managed to attract big names in the music industry, such as British musician Jessie J as the headlining act, and also sets by Ali Campbell, and local bands Noiz and Jetstream.
This year, on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of September, Gibraltar will host their fourth annual music festival, having already secured big names in the music industry, such as Grammy award-winning band, Kings of Leon. Also headlining at this year’s festival will be English rock band Duran Duran.
Gibraltar Music Festival 2015, hosted at Victoria Stadium next to the runway (see directions and travel plans below), is expected to have a colourful line up this year with other bands and artists including Estopa, Tom Odell, The Feeling, Lawson, Third World, Rae Morris, Reach, Strange Brew and Tim García. Many more solo artists and bands for this year’s line-up are still yet to be announced on the festival’s official website. Further updates and announcements for the line-up can be found here.
Attendees at this year’s festival have even more to look forward to, as Kings of Leon’s drummer, Oklahoma-native Nathan Followill, said last year that the release of the band’s seventh studio album would be “coming soon”, and many suspect that they could play new material at the annual festival.
Doors open at 2pm on the first day of the festival, and will end at midnight, although it will not be possible to enter the stadium after 11pm. Main stage sets will start at around 2:30pm.
No food or drink will be allowed to be brought into the stadium. However, there will be several food and drink stalls inside the stadium where attendees will be able to buy food and drink to cater all tastes and vegetarians. Exceptions will be made for baby food and people with medical conditions that requires them to eat certain foods.
Smoking is permitted at the event, but organizers would like to remind festival-goers to respect other people attending the event. Chairs will be permitted and so will blankets, so long as it is one per person, and no tables will be allowed inside the stadium. Personal use cameras will be allowed, but professional grade equipment will not be allowed.
The stadium is wheelchair accessible and there will also be emergency medical services on the scene should there be any accidents.
Please also take into consideration that, although it will be possible to use your bank card to pay for vouchers to later exchange them for food and drink once inside the stadium, there currently is not an ATM machine on-site.
Ticket prices range from £65 for a day pass, to £79 for a weekend pass. Other packages are available from £250 to £350. Children under the age of 12 are allowed free entry to the event, although it is still required to get tickets for them at the Ministry of Culture at 310 Main Street, as they are currently not available online. Children who wish to enter the VIP area must purchase a full ticket. Free tickets for children are only available to parents or guardians who themselves have tickets, and proof of parent or guardian status must be taken when claiming the child’s tickets. Adult tickets and packages can be purchased on the official website here.
The concert comes as an even more festive way for Gibraltarians and tourists alike to celebrate and their heritage and sovereignty, as the Gibraltar Music Festival is always held during the Gibraltar National Week celebrations.
Gibraltar National Day, also referred to as National Day, Gibraltar Day or Gib Day by locals, is celebrated every year on September 10, and celebrations usually involve street parties, barbeques, family reunions, foam parties, fireworks, and of course, their very own concert. It’s traditional for Gibraltarians and visitors to dress in Gibraltar’s national colours, white and red, for the duration of the celebrations. It is considered a national, cultural, historical and political event.
Gibraltar National Day is a very important event to locals, as it it marked as a day to celebrate Gibraltar’s first sovereignty in 1967, where Gibraltarians were giving the choice to vote whether they wanted to pass under Spanish sovereignty, or to remain under British sovereignty. Although voters chose to remain British, and are still a British overseas territory, Gibraltar has it’s own democratically elected government, currently represented by the Governor Sir James Dutton, a retired Royal Marines officer.
The festival alone manages to attract people from all across Europe ever since it began in 2012. Gibraltar is easy to get to by plane, car or bus.
Gibraltar has its very own international airport, located right next to the border. In fact, Victoria Stadium, where the festival will be hosted, is right next to the runway. Direct flights to Gibraltar are available from Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports in London, and Monarch also offer flights from Manchester and Birmingham. Since April 19, EasyJet have also started offering direct flights from Bristol, as well as direct flights from Tangier, Morocco, that went into effect on March 29.
Málaga airport is a popular international airport just a couple hours drive (or bus ride*) from the Gibraltarian border. Málaga receives flights from all over Europe and the rest of the world on a daily basis, many of them offered by low cost airlines.
There is a bus between Málaga city centre to La Línea, Gibraltar’s bordering town, several times a day. The bus takes three hours and is offered by Portillo Bus company. One-way ticket prices can usually be expected to cost around 13€. Getting between the airport and Málaga’s bus station is easy, since there is a short-distance train from directly from the airport to the city centre train station (María Zambrano), which is right next to the city’s bus station. The trains run every 20 minutes.
If you wish to travel to the festival by car, there are many car hire companies at airports across the Costa del Sol and the South of Spain, including Málaga, Jeréz and Seville. Travelling to Gibraltar will take at the most just a few hours from each of these airports.
There are a number of hotels in Gibraltar and the bordering town of La Línea, as well as other nearby towns. It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, due to the fact that, in previous years, the festival has attracted many visitors from overseas.
Gibraltar is most probably well known to the rest of the world for its diverse wildlife, but most notably, being home to around 300 Barbary apes*, that can be found mostly at the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. It is possible to reach the top of the rock by cable car. Gibraltar also has many dolphins swimming in its surrounding waters, and there are several companies in Gibraltar that offer trips out to sea so tourists can see the dolphins.
*Please note that the apes can be dangerous animals, and it is recommended that visitors not carry shiny objects on their person, such as jewelry, and it is advised to also remove any other objects that the apes can take, such as handbags or hats. More importantly, feeding the apes is punishable by law and anyone caught feeding the monkeys can be fined several thousand pounds.
Gibraltar also has much more to offer, such as the Great Siege Tunnels, St. Michael’s Cave, and the Moorish Castle. Gibraltar is also home to a mile-long main street full of popular shops.
In more recent years, one of the more popular destinations in Gibraltar is Ocean Village - a man made Marina that also houses several residential buildings, offices, restaurants, bars, shops, and a casino. One of the most unique things that Ocean Village has to offer is the Sunborn Hotel, which is the world’s first 5-star super-yacht hotel, and is docked in Gibraltar permanently.
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