Franz Ferdinand performing at Andalucia Big Festival on Thursday. /FRANCIS SILVA

Franz Ferdinand performing at Andalucia Big Festival on Thursday. / FRANCIS SILVA

Andalucia Big Festival delivers on its debut in Malaga

Thousands were in attendance to see performances by Stereophonics, Franz Ferdinand and Biffy Clyro, among others

REGINA SOTORRÍO / IVAN GELIBTER

The three-day long Andalucia Big Festival got off to a roaring start on Thursday, as the newest music event lived up to all its expectations on its debut in Malaga city. Thousands of people turned up at the Cortijo de Torres fairground area to watch their favourite rock bands and musicians take to the three stages.

The atmosphere at the event was a good one, and it felt like a real urban festival. The available space was comfortable and the sound quality coming from the stages was good enough to drown out any noise from the nearby roads.

"We've come here to enjoy ourselves and relax," said Selina, an Austrian who had taken up a small patch of grass with her mat. There was an international feel among all the attendees, magnified by the melancholic sound of Kurt Vile in the background.

"It's a celebration of life and friendship," said Vanesa, who was celebrating her 44th birthday at the event. Elsewhere, Callum and his friends proposed a toast to Queen Elizabeth II, a mere hour before the news of her death came to light. "For Queen Elizabeth," they said.

An ever-changing vibe

The vibe at the fairground slowly shifted from relaxed to more electric once the main acts hit the stages, and Wolf Alice took the baton of most-watched act as the sun began to set at 7pm.

But it would be Stereophonics and Biffy Clyro who caught the attention of festival-goers in the following two hours, as both bands expertly played their instruments and acting as if they were the main acts, which they weren't.

Franz Ferdinand appeared at 10pm and had the crowd bouncing after getting it riled up with shouts of "Andalucia!" When the band played their most famous song, Take Me Out, it was bedlam.

Replacing Rage

For the final act of the night, it was Spaniard C. Tangana who took on the difficult role of replacing the headline act Rage Against the Machine, who had pulled out from the festival a month before.

The iconic band share very little with the Spanish rapper, but many of their fans were in the crowd, curious as to how he would perform. A lot of them still wore RATM T-shirts, hoping that frontman Zack de la Rocha could still make an appearance.

That didn't happen, but instead of dismissing C. Tangana's performance entirely, RATM fans chose to stay and enjoy the experience, even if he wasn't their cup of tea. "And we'd come here to see Rage Against The Machine!" said someone in the crowd, which had many people laughing.

Following days

Days two and three are expected to be just as successful as the opening acts on day one. Friday will see the sound of funk take to the stages through Jamiroquai, the captivating melancholy of Paolo Nutini or the hypnotic soul sound of Michael Kiwanuka.

Saturday's grand finale will promise to be a good one, as it will have headline act Muse close out the day's performances just after midnight, in what is surely to be the first of many editions of the festival.