1st Andalucia BIG Festival in Malaga, Costa del Sol/ Spain

Woahhh, this is what Málaga has been waiting for: a festival, that offers international acts in mega-size! Think 3 huge stages, 45.000m2 of artificial grass, bars at every corner, dozens of food trucks offering local cuisine, VIP areas with terraced views, 100.000 festival goers over the three days and a line-up to totally die for – yep, you’re almost there…Málaga itself is the third-most visited touristic hot spot in Spain by now (after Barcelona & Madrid), and is just a brilliant place for a city break. The September sun is still warm and summer certainly hasn’t finished by then. Yet, this festival has catapulted it all up a notch, as you’ll have global superstars coming to town, when you fly down South.

Organised by the lovely people behind the iconic Mad Cool festival in Madrid, this was going to be a huge gig for the city, the Costa del Sol and for Andalucia. We loved the eclectic mix of bands and singers, who made the very first edition of the Andalucia BIG Festival one to remember. Mad Cool’s co-director Javier Arnaiz thinks that Málaga ‘has everything to have a first-class festival’, and so they went to work on a line-up like no other for their first edition.

The first day kicked off with Franz Ferdinand, Suede, Biffy Clyro and Stereophonics headlining. On Friday, 9 Sept, Jamiroquai was headlining, as well as the gorgeous Michael Kiwanuka, the Glass Animals and Paolo Nutini. Claudia Peifer clocked in on Sunday, when Muse, Years & Years, Los Planetas, Nikki Hill and Aurora topped the bill, amongst many others. The sheer size of the place was incredible – people were hanging out everywhere, completely relaxed, everything was easy, everyone was welcoming. So watch our cover of the very first edition NOW, when Norwegian pop princess Aurora delighted the crowd, Nikki Hill delivered solid rock and R’n’B, and Years & Years brought London’s Camden Town to Málaga. What a glorious 3 days it was!


So, if Mad Cool co-director Javier Arnaiz thinks, that Málaga has what it takes to stage a music festival of the tallest order, you better listen up! Covering the city’s Recinto Ferial with 45.000m2 of artificial grass is inspired, as making over 100.000 festival goers feel welcome to relax and chill out just about anywhere in the festival area is no mean feat. Sponsored by the Junta de Andalucia to the tune of 3.5 Million Euros (of which 80% came from the European Feder funds), it was clear the Andalucia BIG Festival as a music event HAS to be a success.

And no doubt, it was! With a world-class line-up including Franz Ferdinand, Stereophonics, Biffy Clyro, Jamiroquai, Michale Kiwanuka, the Glass Animals, Paolo Nutini, Muse, Years & Years, Los Planetas, Aurora, Nikki Hill and so many more artists on stage, there was always something going on to guarantee you to have a good time. Food and other amenities were brilliantly carried out, with a water fountain that had hardly any queues (another great thing)! Food stalls and trucks offered great nosh from Thai to veggie & vegan, to Indian and South American/Latin cuisine (Mexico, Venezuela & Cuba), not forgetting festival favourites like great pizzas. The organisational experience of Mad Cool’s team definitely shone through!

Supposedly Andalucia’s biggest festival to date, they want to make this brand new festival an annual event – yes please, is what we say! At the same time, synergy with the community, sustainability and respect for the environment are high up on the list of priorities. The organisers have a vision of linking people from all over the world through culture and music, wanting to make it such an experience, that it will attract music fans from all over the globe. Featuring genres such as pop, indie, rock, electronic dance music, R’n’B and new trends with emerging talent, they should be well on their way to achieve this!


If you’ve been watching the city of Málaga’s progress during the last few years, you might feel slightly dizzy by now. Steamrollering forward on a cultural and entertainment level, Málaga is the third most visited city in Spain by now, after Barcelona and Madrid! No wonder that the guys behind Mad Cool said ‘yes’ to organising the debut event of the Andalucia BIG Festival! Classic attractions like the Alcazaba Castle, the Picasso Museum & his birthplace, the Encarnación Cathedral, the Thyssen Museum, as well as the Centre Pompidou are all huge cultural references for a visit.

However, the gazillions of tapas bars and little restaurants situated in narrow, cobble-stone alleyways and roads will charm you no end. World-class cuisine and Michelin-starred eateries (Byoko, Vino Mio, La Antxoeta Art Restaurant, Kaleja & Taró) are there to ‘bowl’ you over, whilst theatres like the Teatro Cervantes will quench your thirst for experiencing and ‘feeling’ not just Spanish culture and dance, but offer shows by global stars in performance arts and music too. Street art, murals and sculptures also make the capital of Andalucia such an exciting experience, whilst fairs and fiestas here are legendary, so they definitely know how to party and be merry.

With many European destinations just a couple or three ours flight time away, Málaga is the ideal city break offering on average over 300 days of sunshine a year. All major European airlines fly to Málaga airport (Air France, Air Lingus, British Airways, KLM, Scandinavian Airlines, Air Europa, Royal Air Maroc, Lufthansa, ITA Airways, Iberia, Swiss & TAP Air Portugal), so there are no excuses. And apart from the city’s fabulous sights and hugely attractive calendar, there’s also 14km of coastline, which is home to 16 beaches…so don’t forget to pack your swimming trunks! Heading the Costa del Sol, you’ll find another 150km of beaches when you head South, peppered with great holiday destinations such as Fuengirola, Mijas, Benalmadena, Marbella, Estepona, Sotogrande, all the way past Gibraltar to Tarifa.

Being a cool 2800 years old, Málaga is one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe. Founded at around 770 BC by the Phoenicians, they already knew then that this was a great place to go, so if you haven’t been yet, start planning for your ultimate Andalusian holiday experience pronto!

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