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News & updates

Sun, sea and sounds…Bench speak to eufest at the end of a crazy summer

Eufest is a specialist travel company dedicated to the festival scene – almost as much as we are here at Bench – and this year they helped almost 10,000 people get to their favourite festivals all over Europe (even helping Bench get over to Melt! Festival in July). At the end of a crazy summer, we caught up with Director Dermot O’Flynn, who started the company with his wife Anna-Maria in 2003, and Project Manager Lauren Rawlings to find out what’s hot, what’s cool, and where we should all be going in 2012…

eufest | News | Bench Interview

Can you explain what eufest do and what festivals you have covered this year?

Dermot: Well, the short answer is that we are a festival travel company. The slightly longer answer is that we provide airport transfers, accommodation and tickets for the big European music festivals. Overseas festivals have become increasingly popular with Brits in recent years. People quite like the prospect of seeing all the same big bands they would see at a UK festival, but with better weather, better locations and a cheaper overall festival experience – even when the cost of travel is included.

Lauren: Basically we try to make it easy for festival lovers from the UK to attend festivals all over Europe. Getting there using public transport can be pretty difficult – especially if the nearest airport is hundreds of miles away and you don’t speak the language or know the area very well. We provide coach services from local airports direct to the festivals, which makes the whole process a bit less painful.

This year we have covered Melt!, T-Mobile INmusic, Exit, Benicassim, Outlook, and some smaller ones such as Spirit of Burgas.

Which festivals have you been to with eufest this year, which was your favourite and why?

D: Different members of the team attend different festivals each year, so that we all get to try them out. I guess my favourite festival this year was Exit because I finally managed to see Pulp live. I know that Anna-Maria really enjoyed T Mobile’s INmusic – which is a cool little festival on an island in the middle of a lake in Zagreb, Croatia – but I think that’s mainly because she got to see Mike Skinner from The Streets performing topless.

L: I didn’t manage to see any famous topless men. However, I did experience being a rep on a coach from London to Outlook festival in Croatia, which was a pretty exhausting 28 hour long journey! My favourite festival this year, though, had to be Benicassim because Plan B were absolutely amazing and you get to spend the day time hanging out on the beach.

Are you guys hard-core enough to camp at these festivals then, or do you stay in hotels?

D: Well we used to do the camping thing, I think everyone’s got to try it, but once we discovered how nice it was to have a comfy bed, a shower and air-con we didn’t fancy going back to kipping in a tent – plus of course we need to work during the day, and campsites don’t do wifi.

At Exit and Benicassim especially it gets so hot, and if you’re dancing til the small hours when the sun starts coming up it can be pretty horrible crawling into a sweaty tent and trying to sleep – which is why we started selling apartments and hotel rooms for most of these festivals, so people can enjoy the whole experience a bit more.

Which festival would you most like to do next year?

D: Well we’re always looking for new European festivals to work with and we’ve got our eyes on a couple already. But we are currently working on our new website and we hope to be going live towards the end of the year with a whole bunch of new festivals on board.  I think it’s my turn to go to Melt in Germany – my colleagues have always done it in the past and said that the setting is amazing. It’s on an old mining site in a gravel pit, so it’s all very industrial looking, and they’ve got all the old mining equipment as a backdrop to the stages. 

Was there a festival this year that you wished you could have gone to?

L: There are always going to be festivals that we have to miss out on as a lot of them clash. We’d all love to go to Glastonbury again, but as it’s right in the middle of our mega-busy period we would never get a chance (the one and only downside of our job I guess!) I like the sound of the smaller quirkier ones like ‘Les Eurockeennes’ in France.

D: Open’er in Poland is another one I’d have liked to have gone to – they had an awesome line-up this year. And I missed out going to Spirit of Burgas in Bulgaria, which was a shame. I’ve been the last couple of years and it’s a great little festival on the coast.

Who has been your highlight act from this year’s festival circuit?

D: It’s got to be Pulp, as mentioned earlier. I honestly thought I’d missed my chance of ever catching them live. Arctic Monkeys at Benicassim were great too.

L: I saw Arcade Fire twice and they were fantastic. For dance music lovers the dance arena at Exit is legendary – an absolute must! There really is nothing else like it on earth. It is set in the moat of the old fortress and when the sun comes up you can see it’s rammed with 20,000 people all still going strong – crazy.

What was your last festival of 2011 and what will be your first of 2012?

D: Outlook was our last festival of 2011, at the beginning of September. We took lots of coach loads of people from the UK all the way to Pula in Croatia. It was a real trek but good fun.

L: We made sure we had plenty of DVD’s to keep the passengers entertained. And to be fair everyone was so excited on the way there that it went pretty fast, and on the return we all just slept.

Our first festival of 2012 will be T-Mobile INmusic in Croatia which will be around mid-to-late June (they haven’t confirmed the dates yet). It’s only £84 for two days – including camping – so you can’t go wrong, and their line-ups are getting better and better each year. It’s in the perfect spot for a little beachy summer holiday afterwards too.

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