Line-up for Spain's 2012 Festival Internacional Benicassim featuring headliner Bob Dylan
Jamaican reggae artist Sizzla Kalongi had three April concerts in Spain canceled under intense pressure from gay rights groups over lyrics, seriously upsetting a European tour that is getting increasingly smaller. But Spain's concert season is still heating up with confirmed performances by Bob Dylan, Maximo Park, James Murphy, Lana Del Rey, New Order and more.
Sizzla's Dates Canceled
Sizzla was scheduled to play in Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona in April in a tour that also included stops in at least seven other European countries, but online petitions and an email campaign led by the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transexuals, and Bisexuals forced their cancellation. In fact, the Barcelona concert hall Apolo  last week said it had sent officials a copy of the contract, "signed by the artist and the promoter," with a list of the songs. Lyrics with homophobic content or inciting hatred were "expressly excluded."
But on Wednesday, Apolo too cancelled the concert. Gay rights advocates in Spain claimed victory, saying their petitions were signed by almost 40,000 people. Of 18 clubs that booked Sizzla, at least one more in Sweden has canceled Sizzla's show, according to local press reports. Alleged homophobic lyrics from Sizzla's song "Pump Up," were posted with a petition on Change.org.  It's not the first time Sizzla, whose birth name is Miguel Collins has faced cancellations. Concerts in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom have been canceled in the past and some of his albums are banned in some countries, although he has performed in Spain in the past.
Bob Dylan To Headline FIB
Organizers of the Festival Internacional Benicassim  (FIB), now in its 18th edition, announced Bob Dylan will headline its 4-day concert extravaganza starting July 12. The "luxurious" lineup also includes Stone Roses, New Order, Florence + the Machine, High Flying Birds, David Getta and Noel Gallagher, and more, a statement said. Four-day tickets cost 165 euros, including an 8-day camping pass. The main sponsors are Heineken, Red Bull, Jack Daniels, Asus, Intel, Ron Barcelo.
Benicassim is a small Mediterranean city between Barcelona and Valencia, once a fortress, now a remade concert venue and artist magnet. Some 50,000 people piled daily in the 2011 edition, more than half of which were from outside Spain. Organizers did not return requests for earnings. Veterans of the annual concerts include Oasis, Gorillaz, Bjork, Jon Spencer, and Radiohead.
FIB is the biggest of several mass concerts held in Spain every year. It's also the most trendy and diverse. Two Spanish brothers who set out to bring concerts to their tiny community were the creators and first promoters, but in 2009 they sold their company Maraworld to Vince Power.
Sonar Nabs James Murphy, Lana Del Rey, New Order, Hot Chip
Sonar,  also one of Europe's best known festivals, has lined up James Murphy, New Order, Die Artwoord, The Roots, Lana del Rey, Hot Chip, and three dozen more groups for three days of some of the best electronic music starting June 14.
The Barcelona-based festival, now in its 19 edition, is a self-denominated "festival of advanced music and multimedia art," and involves a multimedia showcase from showcases, exhibitions, and concerts in several venues in a three day program, including two concerts.
It brings together the best and the most promising in the electronic genre. Some 80,000 people partake in the festival, which has also branched out into London, New York, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, Seoul, Frankfurt, Chicago, and other cities.
Tickets vary from 60 euro per concert or an all inclusive 155 euro pass. It's organized by Advanced Music, the City of Barcelona, and the Barcelona Center of Contemporary Culture. The main sponsors are the government of Catalonia, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, and Estrella Damn, and Adidas.
Maximo Park, Ravonettes, The Horrors To Play Kutxa Kultur
Another of the big concert venues in San Sebastian in northern Spain is Kutxa Kultur Festibala,  a two-day concert starting September 7 that this year will feature Maximo Park, The Raveonettes, The Whip, Russian Red, The Horrors, and Love of Lesbian, as well as nearly a dozen local groups.
This is the second year of the music festival, part of a broader cultural platform of savings bank Kutxa that also includes cinema, comics, and more.
This edition will be held in an amusement park and will have a happy hour for the attractions. Daily prices are 40 euros, or 74 euros for the two-day pass.
Last year, Primal Scream, Wilco, Christina Rosenvinge, We Are Standard and Thee Brandy Hips were featured at the festival. Ginmusic and Dale are the promoters, while the main sponsors are FNAC, Gaztea, and Monte Igueldo.