FIB Heineken 2003

Festivals could be a hotbed in the DVD market and yet none of the major European events have taken the opportunity to release one. Reading, T In The Park, Roskilde and the mother of all festivals, Glastonbury, are all missing out on easy money every year from the thousands who attended, as well as the many more who wanted to but couldn't. Fortunately, Spain's relatively new summer event, Festival Internacional de Benicãssim, has stepped up, broken the ice and hopefully begun a trend that others will follow. Capturing the friendly, fun-loving atmosphere from last summer's successful August weekend, this two-disc DVD does a fair job in choosing acts from the long list of the world's top musicians who appeared. The footage used for the live performances is good quality but it's not exactly award-winning. The shots move in and out of close and wide, making it challenging to enjoy the performances. The animation and graphics that interweave throughout are a little shaky and at times, come across as unprofessional. The biggest disappointment, however, is the footage they chose for inclusion. A lot of the major acts that did perform are featured (Blur, Suede, Super Furry Animals, Moby, and yes, Donovan), but they made some poor choices, including lesser-known acts like Hoggboy, Deluxe and Swayzak, when beloved artists like Beck, the Postal Service, Badly Drawn Boy and Richard Hawley are strangely absent. The interview portion as well is pretty weak. Maybe it's the language barrier (they are asked in English by a Spanish interviewer who is not fluent), but the questions asked to bands like Placebo, Múm and Blur are so mediocre even the artists seem surprised and disillusioned. The concept of this DVD is a great idea and since 2004's FIB line-up is even better than the one captured here, we can only pray and hope that they improve on how they compile for the next one. (FIB, www.fiberfib.com)