Bilbao BBK Live Festival 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Attending the Bilbao BBK Live Music Festival was excellent – the lineup, perfectly organized logistics, and the vibe were just fantastic. Therefore, if you plan on attending the Bilbao festival this year, here is a detailed guide to everything you need to know. 

I had never heard of the festival before, and it was not something I always dreamed of going to either. I accidentally stumbled upon the Bilbao BBK lineup after searching where The Blaze was performing in 2023, which led me to Mad Cool and BBK Live – some of the best music festivals in Spain. 

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Between debating where to go, the deal breaker for me was the Bilbao BBK 2023 lineup and its headliner – Florance & The Machine, followed by The Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys, Phoenix, and Royskop, among others. 

Bilbao BBK Live Music Festival 2023 was my first European international festival. Therefore, I had no idea what to expect, what to bring, where to stay, and how much food and drinks would be there. 

While the official website of Bilbao BBK Live Festival provides most of the information for a smooth and comfortable journey, I still had some questions I needed help answering. 

Researching the internet provided little information or up-to-date review of the BBK festival, so I decided to write this post structured as FAQs and give you the most relevant information and tips to avoid making similar mistakes I made. 

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Introduction of Bilbao BBK Live Festival

What is Bilbao BBK Live?

Bilbao BBK Live is an annual rock and pop music festival in Bilbao, Spain. The history of BBK Bilbao started in 2006 when the Last Tour International, a Basque musical advocate, organized the first edition of the Bilbao Festival, funded by the Bilbao City Council. Back then, it was named the Bilbao Live Festival. 

From the following year until the present, it was sponsored by local Basque bank Bilbao Bazkaia Kutxa, giving this Spanish festival its current name. 

The event quickly became popular among other festivals in Bilbao, where in 2011, it surpassed 100,000 visitors. And in 2012, it brought more than 17.5 million Euros to the city’s economy! 

Since then, the festival Bilbao BBK Live has won several awards and set itself as one of the best medium-sized European festivals on the continent. 



When is the next Bilbao BBK Live Festival?

The festival always starts on the second Thursday of July and lasts three days. Bilbao BBK Live 2024 will be on July 11, 12, and 13. 

What is the Bilbao BBK Live lineup for 2024?

The organizers periodically release the lineup for Bilbao BBK Live, usually starting at the end of November, and add the headliners and artists as they confirm them. 

At the time of writing this post, this is the Bilbao BBK Live 2024 lineup: Arcade Fire, Jungle, Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Underworld, Khruangbin, and Parcels, among other Basque and Spanish music bands and performers. You can see the complete list here

The exact dates and times when this artist will perform come at a later stage, sometime in May. The organizers are highly professional with communication; they are active on social media and send information to your email. 

Bilbao BBK Live

How much are Bilbao BBK Live tickets?

There are different Bilbao BBK Live music festival tickets with different prices. There is a three-day pass as well as day tickets. You can purchase tickets only or add a camping spot, too. 

We bought our BBK Live 2023 tickets during the early bird discount period in January, costing us 150 EUR per person. It then gradually increased, and one of our friends, who decided to join us later, bought it in May for 190 EUR. 

Note that when purchasing tickets, there is an added commission of 9 EUR on the ticketing website.  

The pre-sale started on November 29 for those on a waiting list priced at 125 EUR for a three-day ticket. Bilbao BBK Live 2024 tickets price increased to 150 EUR for general sale from December 1. 

How to get tickets for the festival?

Getting tickets for Bilbao BBK Live is super easy through their official website

Once you choose the package and are ready to purchase, you’ll be redirected to the ticketing platform to complete the form and enter your payment details. The ticketing website is in Spanish, so turn on the Google Translator extension on Google Chrome. 

If you are considering purchasing the three-day pass, choose BONO 3 DIAS from the list. 

Where is Bilbao BBK Live held?

From the start, the Bilbao music festival has its own complex explicitly constructed for the event on the hills of Mount Cobetas, or Kobetamendi in the Basque language, located southwest of the city. This will also be the Bilbao BBK Live 2024 location. Here is the exact pin

The venue of this European music festival is enormous, covering 110,000 sq. meters, which the organizers built every year a few weeks before. There are 12 stages in total, big and small, a VIP zone, DJ tents, food and drink stalls, and two camping areas. 

Every year, up to 120,000 people attend this three-day summer music festival in Spain. However, the vast space of Bilbao’s largest park doesn’t make you feel suffocated by crowds. 

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Tips for planning a trip to the Bilbao Festival

How to get to Bilbao

Bilbao, lodged in northern Spain, is the largest city in the Basque Country, surrounded by green mountains.  

The city is well connected with other cities in Spain and the rest of Europe, so getting to Bilbao is relatively easy. There are frequent flights from Barcelona, Alicante, and Madrid, for example, and if you book far ahead, you can get pretty good deals. 

If you are coming from other European cities, you can find direct flights from the United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, and Germany, among others. 

I use WayAway to search for the most affordable flights and set up alerts to notify me if prices go up or down. And if you are a frequent traveler, they offer PLUS membership (Get 10% off with code: RFD10), which gives you cashback when you buy a ticket. You can read more about the platform here. Alternatively, you can also search for the flights at Trip.com.

Bilbao is also well connected to the bus and train system, so if these are your preferred methods of travel, check the connection at Omio, Flixbus, or RailEurope

Where to stay in Bilbao during Bilbao BBK Live?

As mentioned above, you can add a camping spot to your ticket. You would need to bring all the equipment with you. However, having camping access gives you a few more benefits, like bringing your food and drink to the camping area but not to the festival. 

If you don’t want to camp at the festival and prefer a hotel room or accommodation, there are plenty of apartments and hotels in Bilbao

Even though we had tickets for the Bilbao Festival 2023 in January, for some reason, we all (a group of four friends) somehow waited for each other to book accommodation, and we were pretty late in finding hotels and apartments close to the venue and for reasonable prices.

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Remember that the hotels, hostels, and apartment prices go pretty high once the organizers release the headliners. 

Therefore, find a place to stay right away after purchasing the ticket. Or even better, find the Bilbao hotels or apartments beforehand with a free cancelation policy if you decide not to go or find something better. 

Bilbao Hostel is closest to the festival venue, but as you can imagine, it gets booked fast. However, you’d need to walk up and down to the venue as the shuttle busses only stop at the designated stops – San Mames and Ansio metro stops. 

The best area to stay in Bilbao during the BBK Live festival is somewhere near the L1 and L2 metro lines, so you don’t have to change the lines early in the morning. The metro will run all night, and shuttle buses will take you from/to the venue.  

Don’t worry if your accommodation looks too far from the venue; it is relatively easy to get around using Bilbao public transport during the festival days. We stayed near the Portugalete metro and walked a few minutes to our accommodation. 

What is the weather in Bilbao during the festival?

Bilbao experiences an oceanic climate due to its proximity to the Bay of Biscay. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, and there is no distinct dry summer. 

The weather in Bilbao during the festival varies and can be dry and rainy. The average temperature in Bilbao in July ranges from 15C to 25C. However, nights are breezy and chilly since the festival is on the mountain with vast open space and few trees to keep the wind away. 

We had occasional rains during the festival, but nothing too bad. We were not soaking wet, nor did we get sick. 

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What to pack for Bilbao BBK Live?

Generally, people don’t dress up at the BBK Festival as they might do for Coachella, Tomorrowland, or others. Therefore, you don’t need a special outfit or full face/body makeup. 

You can obviously dress up if you want, but that’s unnecessary. I’ve seen people in regular shorts and T-shirts. 

There is no particular dress code either, so you can pack clothes you feel most comfortable walking, dancing, and standing for a few hours. 

That said, there are a few things I wish we had. As mentioned above, we had a few rainy moments during the festival, so having a packable raincoat is an absolute must. 

Since you’ll most likely be at the festival until 3-4 am, you want to pack a lightweight cardigan, pullover, or hoodie to keep yourself warm during the breezy nights. If you get there early when the doors open, you might have warm weather, but once the sun sets, it gets chilly. 

The festival area is primarily flat, but there is a small hill in front of the main stage. We loved sitting and relaxing there while waiting for the main headliners. Therefore, a small, lightweight, waterproof picnic blanket would have been perfect. 

You don’t have to bring any special shoes either. Even during the rainy moments, the ground is relatively mudless because they recycle old football stadium grass to cover some areas that might get muddy. This is one of the sustainability initiatives of Bilbao BBK Live. 

How to get to Bilbao BBK Live Music Festival?

Getting to the music festival venue was exceptionally smooth and straightforward. It was extremely well organized, with plenty of staff members to guide you through the process on the spot. 

There are several ways to get to the Bilbao Live Festival. The organizers provide paid and free shuttle buses. The paid service costs 3.5 EUR for a ride without a queue. 

Honestly, you don’t need to pre-pay for the paid transportation, as the free shuttle bus service is comfortable and fast. While the queue might seem long at first glance, it moves super fast, with buses coming and going in every second! And as soon as the bus gets full, it departs immediately. 

The free buses depart from/to two metro stops in Bilbao – near San Mames Stadium (Basurtuko Kaputxinoen Kalea) and Ansio metro stop (Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC)) in the Barakaldo neighborhood. 

The buses don’t go all the way to the entrance of the festival Bilbao. Instead, it drops you off at the parking lot around 1.2 km away from the gate, and you need to walk up a slight uphill, but nothing too steep. 

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On the way back to the city, you need to follow the same steps, walk downhill to the parking lot, and then sit on the bus going in your direction. 

You can also hike up to the venue following the marked trail or join a group of festival attendees willing to do the same. The route is 2.5 km and takes 30-50 minutes, depending on your speed and limits. The organizers will include the signup link in their email communications closer to the dates. 

What are the transportation options from Bilbao Airport to the festival venue?

There are no direct transportation options from Bilbao Airport to the festival venue. First, you need to exchange your ticket for a wristband at two spots in the city – San Mames Stadium and the BEC building near the Ansio metro stop. 

From the Bilbao Airport, it is easier to come to San Mames Stadium, exchange your ticket first, and then go to your hotel. Remember, you can’t exchange your ticket for the wristband at the festival entrance nor have access to the buses without it.  

The line at the San Mames stadium might seem insane, but it moves quite quickly. It took us around 15 minutes to enter the stadium to exchange tickets.

If you want to avoid the hassle of public transportation, you can book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups

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How much money will you need? 

This solely depends on how much you drink and eat at the festival. You can’t bring your food and beverages to the venue. We were allowed to bring one small water bottle, but the security removed the cap and threw it away. 

However, the prices at the festival are low and pretty reasonable compared to some of the music festivals I’ve been to. 

There are no single-use plastic cups, so you must buy the branded reusable cup for 3 EUR that you can save and use during these three days. At the end of the festival, there’s a designated spot where you can bring it back and get your 3 EUR back. 

During Bilbao BBK Live 2023, the beer and water were 3 EUR each, the soda was 4 EUR, and the shot was 5 EUR. Some drink stalls also sold high alcoholic drinks and cocktails that started from 5 EUR. The most expensive drink was a large Kalimotxo (red wine and coke) that cost 11 EUR.

As for the food, small french fries, for instance, cost 5 EUR, while a hot dog was 5.50 EUR, Burger prices started from 8 EUR, and noodles were from 10 EUR. 

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What to do in Bilbao during the BBK Live Festival? 

Like many European festivals, Bilbao BBK starts at 5 pm and ends at around 5 am. This gives you time to explore the city or sleep to gain energy for the night ahead. 

There are plenty of things to do in Bilbao during the festival, including the famous Guggenheim Museum, its charming old town, and museums, to name just a few. 

One piece of advice is not to jam-pack your itinerary for Bilbao during the BBK Live festival. If you want also to see the sights, add one or two days before or after the festival. 

There are pretty interesting places to go on day trips from Bilbao, including the beautiful city of San Sebastian and even more majestic the Gaztelugatxe, an islet used as a filming grounds for Dragonstone of HBO’s world-famous Game of Thornes TV show. 

A few tips to know during the festival

What are the food and beverage options at Bilbao BBK Live?

As mentioned above, there is a wide choice of food and beverage options at the Bilbao BBK Live festival, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and vegetarian and vegan food options. 

What are the safety measures at Bilbao BBK Live?

A security at the entrance goes through your bag if you have one. There is a list of allowed and prohibited items you can and can’t bring to the festival. 

Besides that, I haven’t seen super intense security surveillance within the venue. And we haven’t had any issues either. 

However, follow the rule of thumb: Always be aware of your belongings, and keep them where you can easily see them. Sadly, festivals are an excellent place for thieves to steal your phones or belongings. 

Also, don’t bring expensive or luxurious jewelry at the festival if something happens and you lose it. 

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Are there any ATMs at Bilbao BBK Live?

No, there are no ATMS at the BBK Live because it’s a cashless festival, and you use a QR/NFC code on your wristband to make transactions to buy food, drink, and merchandise. 

To top off your wristband, you can go to one of two Cashless spots within the venue or online. Alternatively, you can also top it off at the Cashless desks at San Mames Stadium after exchanging your tickets for the wristband. You can pay with cash or debit/credit cards at the Cashless desks. 

And don’t worry if you won’t use all the money; whatever is left, you can get it back after the festival finishes by making a request online. All the information will be provided via email. 

Is there a place to charge a phone at Bilbao BBK Live?

Yes, there is one place with lockers and chargers to charge a phone. But it cost a few Euros. Therefore, I advise you to bring an external power charger. I had my Anker power charger with me.

If you travel through Spain or Europe after/before the festival and have your electronics with you and don’t want to leave them at the camping site or the hostel, you can store them in the lockers for an additional price. 

Are there any water fountains at Bilbao BBK Live?

There are no water fountains at the Bilbao BBK, but you can buy bottled water at the drink stalls. That said, I have seen many people drinking water from the tabs at the toilets.  

Four toilet spots are strategically located close to the stages within the venue. They are pretty clean and tidy as a personal clean it the minute you come out and before someone else uses it! 

The line for the toilets gets slightly long at the end of the concerts. Even though it moves quickly, one trick I figured out was to wait until the first two or three songs and then go to the toilet to use it queue-free. 

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Is there a lost and found at Bilbao BBK Live?

There is a lost and found at BBK Live at the Info Point within the venue territory. The organizers will send you the venue map beforehand so you know what is where. Here is the map of the 2023 Bilbao BBK Live Festival. 

What are some of the souvenirs to buy from Bilbao BBK Live?

There is a shop selling the festival merchandise on the festival territory to bring as souvenirs from Bilbao BBK. They sell T-shirts, hoodies, and bags. 

I suggest going to the shop on the first day to see what they have. We went there on the third day, and unfortunately, everything was either sold out, or they only had a few varieties. 


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2 Comments

  1. Hi really useful tips thankyou!

    Can I ask what the queues were like when you visited? I have seen (on reviews that are about 6 years) old that the bars are get busy.

    1. Hi Lee, so sorry for late response. I thought I replied. There are several bars scattered across the territory and there are many people working, so we honestly didn’t wait too long for the drinks. Usually bars get full after the performance ends, so you can also be slightly strategic.

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