The Best Acts of the Gibraltar Music Festival 2015
This year was the 4th edition of the Gibraltar Music Festival.
It’s grown from a relatively small event in 2012, where the first festival goers watched Jessie J headlining and Ali Campbell from UB40, to a hugely impressive lineup for 2015. This year 15,000 people packed in to Victoria Stadium over 2 days for the festival beneath The Rock. They had some big household names across the 3 stages with plenty of popular upcoming bands and performers too.
I visited Gibraltar this year to report on the music festival and the National Day for Must Love Festivals. I’m also making a video about the trip, but while I’m working on that you can check out the photos I managed to snap from various places around Victoria Stadium below for a sneak preview of what I filmed. Where I stood ranged from being right at the front of the crowd to up above in the VIP section, but I managed to get plenty of great shots and really enjoy the two days of music.
Gibraltar Music Festival 2015 Day 1 Performers
Gibraltar Music Festival 2015 Day 2 Performers
You can use these links to jump to specific artists and just press the back button in your browser to return to the list. More information about visiting the festival here.
The final video will show both of the festivals and plenty more of Gibraltar too (think Monkeys, hiking, Dolphins, places to eat) so make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel to see it when I press publish.
The Gibraltar Music Festival is an official part of the build-up to the National Day, which is celebrated annually on the 10th of September, the date in 1967 that they voted to remain under British sovereignty while still retaining some powers to self govern. People from Gibraltar are fiercely proud of their heritage, referring to themselves as British Gibraltarians and celebrating hard! More on that in my post about National Day soon.
Gibraltar Music Festival 2015 was a complete sell out and it’s no surprise with names like this:
Now here’s my photos of the acts I managed to catch at the festival while I was filming!
Little Mix were a big hit with the crowd early in the day, which saw more families and teens than later shows.
Tom Odell came out swinging and gave his performance all he had which the crowd really responded to. Some members of the crowd more than others!
Paloma Faith was one the acts I was most looking forward to, and she got a great reception, despite putting her foot a little wrong when she called Gibraltarians ‘half-English and half-Spanish’. I know exactly what she was getting at but some of the crowd were not so impressed! Avoid making the same mistake if you come over for a visit – Gibraltarians are very proud to be British Gibraltarians, hence their celebrations around National Day. You won’t offend anyone too much, but nobody likes it when their heritage is confused.
Duran Duran closed the first day of the festival with a great set that surprised me with how many songs of theirs I knew! Lead singer Simon Le Bon kept the crowd happy but I’m yet to work out what his ‘Delete’ T-shirt meant – or the blurred out adult movies on the big screen in the background!
Ella Henderson was the first act I caught on day 2 and she enjoyed herself on stage. Plenty of fans turned out to see her early in the day as well as the next act.
James Bay was popular and put plenty of energy into his performance, with sweat streaming off his face in the afternoon sun. He’s got one of those nicely rasping voices that always sound good to listen to.
Gabrielle was a surprise announcement and played on the smaller Radio Gibraltar stage. Another one of my favourite acts at the festival, it was easy to get right up front and she was very relaxed, having a laugh and a joke with the crowd. Or, as she put it, she’s ‘a chatty bird’ and ‘has been around for a while now’. I found myself still humming her songs (along with some Madness) long after I left Gibraltar!
The Kaiser Chiefs
The Kaiser Chiefs were indeed Chiefs of the whole festival, mainly thanks to their lead mentalist – sorry, lead singer. They had the most festival-fit style of music for the crowd to really get into, but lead singer Ricky Wilson also did as much work as any aerobics instructor. Highlights of his performance were repeatedly trying to grab at the crane camera, eventually managing to hang a cymbal over it, riding the motorised track camera at the front of the stage, tipping up stage speakers to stand on them, and finally just sprinting up and down the length of the stage to roars from the crowd. The best act to watch by far with almost endless energy.
I was expecting to be one of the only people excited to see Madness, old-school ska rockers, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The older fan base turned out in force and the whole of the Radio Gibraltar stage was crammed to its limits. Being in the middle somewhere as everyone went crazy for classics like Baggy Trousers and Our House can only be described as excellent.
Kings Of Leon
Kings Of Leon drew the biggest crowd in the end back at the main stage. They had the best light show with some fairly mind-bending video trickery happening as they played out the festival. They weren’t the most energetic on stage and lead singer Caleb said a few cryptic words about wanting to enjoy this gig as it would be their last for a long while, but it was brilliant anyway to hear their most crowd-pleasing tunes live. I couldn’t figure out what the guitarist was up to at one point but I think he was using his voice through the guitar mic! Sounded good anyway.
More about the festival
Tickets at the festival were priced at £65 for one-day entry or £79 for both days. The festival operated an electronic card payment system for other bars and food stalls which could be topped up easily at kiosks near the back of each stage. A VIP ticket cost £250 for one-day entry or £300 for both days. VIP tickets included unlimited food and drink, with well-stocked bars and food from some of the best local restaurants – it’s definitely worth considering for the price difference if you want an easy life!
There was a long queue to get into the festival at around 3pm on the first day so try to either get there earlier or turn up a little later, depending which acts you want to see. The queue only lasted 45-minutes or so, but the VIP entrance was clear for the duration. Lots of people brought picnic blankets and camping chairs which they set up around the edges of the arena or further back from the stage. This is a good idea for groups with kids and older people, although the drawback is that people will be standing in front of you so you won’t get the best views later in the day without getting on to your feet.
Would I go to Gibraltar Music Festival again? Yes, definitely! Especially as you can fly direct to their new airport from many parts of the UK and probably be close enough to walk straight to your accommodation. I’m look forward to seeing which acts they announce for next year…
If you liked my photos, please give them a share in your favourite places and leave me a comment!
Would you have gone to watch this year’s lineup?
I visited Gibraltar as part of the Must Love Festivals project, to shed light on cool but lesser-known festivals around the world. Thanks to our hosts Visit Gibraltar and Gibraltar Music Festival for partnering with us and helping us explore the territory, and to our project partners at Expedia.co.uk.