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Music Viewpoint

19 July 2022

(Music Viewpoint Post)

From this viewpoint, in front of the brightest and most sensational Mediterranean skyline, Benidorm, the tourist destination par excellence, pays tribute to music and songs; to its festivals, which have projected its image so much.

In front of the city that has known, more and better,  how to understand the hunch of tourism and has managed to be an icon and benchmark of leisure, enjoyment and happiness,Benidorm commemorates its great musical events – Benidorm Festival and Benidorm Fest- which appeared in two crucial moments in the history of the city, for Spain, Europe and the World.

It is the projection of music towards the success that goes with the image of Benidorm; the songs, musical compositions for the voice, are the ones that proclaim the successes; its interpreters are the personification of triumph. From this Music Viewpoint, Benidorm can peek into the success of all of them.

Here, in this Music Viewpoint, in addition to songs and performers, there is Benidorm's tribute to composers, musicians and choreographers, arrangers, lyricists and performers who seek that each verse and each note build the necessary rhythm to climb, step by step, to the top of the ladder of the longed-for fame; to the professionals of the Media - press, radio, cinema and television - who found in the Benidorm Festival and find in the Benidorm Fest the best moment, so their information and chronicles confirm the greatness and glamour of Benidorm’s festival nights; and to the dance troupes, projectionists, sound and lighting technicians, stagehands, carpenters, electricians and collaborators who made and make it possible for stage designs to be the setting of excellence of the Benidorm Festival and Benidorm Fest.

And very especially to the hundreds of people from Benidorm who worked and work hard, from all imaginable sectors of the city, to make the nights of Benidorm always unrepeatable , during its music festivals, supporting, as well as the public, events like the Benidorm Festival and the Benidorm Fest, which will always be theirs.

The Benidorm Festival and the Benidorm Fest are and represent all this and much more; each one in its era constitute the greatest Spanish musical event of its time. Both shine with their own light and here, at the Music Viewpoint.

Presided by Benidorm’s Little Mermaid, is Benidorm's tribute to those who won the precious gold trophy.
Along with the great Metal Microphone, is Benidorm's acknowledgement of those who, winning this unique trophy, have been awarded with representing Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest.


In the Spain that was taking off economically, at the end of the fifties of the last century, a song festival turned out to be the promotional referent with which it aspired to be in everyone's mind.

In Italy, San Remo Festival, for which the Italian radio television RAI was betting heavily, amazed Europe and the world with light melodies and Mediterranean dreams. Launching a similar event became a national aim.

The two great Spanish radio networks of the fifties strove to get a similar festival: Barcelona had everything to win in a bet by RNE that announced the support of TVE; Benidorm, which was at the beginning of its urban planning and on its way to becoming a national and international tourist reference, needed the projection vector that those songs could give.

And to that appointment with the tourist promotion -with the aim of making the city sound everywhere- Benidorm arrives when its Mayor, Pedro Zaragoza Orts, offers the city to host Madrid’s Voice Song Festival (REM-CAR ).


In record time, just a couple of months, Benidorm gets ready to give essence to Teodoro Delgado’s idea, director of “La Voz de Madrid” (Madrid’s Voice), under Juan Carlos Villacorta’s scheme, main supporter of the idea, that found acceptance and guarantees in the Mayor of Benidorm.

More than one thousand three hundred songs were registered for the first edition. The cream of the crop in the music world and all the Performing Arts found the showcase they were looking for, in the Mediterranean, in an emerging Benidorm that fulfilled everyone's aspirations.

The poster for that first edition was designed by the best poster artist of the time, Ricardo Summers Ysern, “Serny”.

Such was the impact of the first festival, to which contributed almost all the people from Benidorm and threw themselves into the idea, that even CIFESA, the great Spanish film production company of the time, agreed to shoot a film about the festival –“Festival de Benidorm”- coinciding with the second edition. From that moment, the Song Festival became the Benidorm Festival and launched its emblematic trophy, Benidorm’s Little Mermaid, maximum recognition for creativity and interpretation, made by the sculptor Jacinto Higueras Cátedra.


“Un telegrama”, by García Segura brothers, became the rhythm of the moment. All the successful singers of the late fifties did not hesitate to record the song with their record companies and multiplied the desired effect. “Comunicando” was the next musical hit that placed the Benidorm Festival on all radio stations and dance halls in the country.


The Festival was thought to reward songs, whose authors achieved fame and recognition at the same time as the performers. From that moment on, the best composers in the country fought to get the Little Mermaid of Benidorm with the best light music song. Thus, Manuel Alejandro, Jesús Gluck, Augusto Algueró, Rafael de León, Miguel Portolés, García Segura brothers, López Quiroga, Alfredo Doménech, Juan Pardo, Ramón Arcusa and Manuel de la Calva, Joaquín Sabina… all were looking for the Benidorm trophy.

And the great names of Spanish music emerged from the festival, interpreting all those melodies: Raphael, Alberto, Rosalía, Federico Cabo, Julio Iglesias, Emilio José, Mochi, Dyango, Bettina, Roxana…


The best orchestras, the most prestigious conductors, the new composers, the radio and television star presenters and the best international artists longed for the arrival of the month of July and the Benidorm Festival to present their songs and achieve the success entailed by the Little Mermaid.

And the renowned musicians did not hesitate to come to the Festival for its ending show: Gloria Lasso, Los 5 Latinos, Enrique Guzmán, Conchita Bautista, Lolita Sevilla, Los Brincos, Bruno Lomas, Ramoncín, Joan Manuel Serrat, Víctor Manuel, Luis Eduardo Aute, Camilo Sesto, Los Bravos, Alejandro Sanz… Aretha Franklin -who only offered her songs in Spain in Benidorm-, Jimmy Fontana, Enrique Guzmán, Bobby Solo, Grace Jones, The Hollies, Raffaella Carrá, Boney M, Amii Stewart , Eddy Grant, Sherman Brothers or Joe Coker perfomed on the stages that hosted the Benidorm Festival.


There were 39 editions in two clearly defined stages: a first one, between 1959 and 1985, which began with the slogan "Benidorm, Cape Canaveral of Spanish Music" and which achieved its internationalization in the 1964 edition, being broadcast to Portugal, France, United Kingdom, United States, Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico; and a second one, between 1992 and 2006, which had to compete with the new musical formats of the moment and the technologies boom.

The Benidorm Festival was twinned with festivals such as Figueira da Foz (Portugal) and Viña del Mar (Chile) and surpassed in longevity all the Spanish festivals that were created; due to the success of the Benidorm Festival -and San Remo´s succes, which was always the reference – other music festivals were promoted in Barcelona,  Malaga, the Canary Islands or in Galicia.
The Benidorm Festival aroused everyone´s  sympathy and respect and two of its winners represented Spain in Eurovision: Raphael and Julio Iglesias.


In the window of hope and illusion opened in the initial months of 2021, the idea of a music festival took shape, which would shake up the music national scene, And once again Benidorm appeared.

The aroma of success and the projection of the Benidorm Festival still runs through the world of music and this encouraged the alliance of Radio Televisión Española, the Generalitat Valenciana and the Benidorm City Council to turn into reality the proposal of a music and song festival, from where Spain's representation for the Eurovision Song Contest would come out.

And much the same as in 1959, in the same time frame, in 2021, they opt for the Benidorm Fest and, in this Music Viewpoint, on July 6, the protocols were signed and the first edition of the Benidorm Fest was announced for the end of January 2022. 

And Benidorm threw itself into the Festival and the bonus of representing RTVE at the Eurovision event encouraged the Spanish music scene to such an extent that 886 songs were submitted to the first selection.
At this point in the 21st century, in addition to music and lyrics, choreography and staging come into play with the same force and the Benidorm Fest caters to the combination of musical references with new talents and a variety of styles.

And so, in the final days of January 2022, the first edition of the Benidorm Fest was held in which Chanel won 1st. Prize, with the theme SloMo -the work of Leroy Sánchez, Ibere Fortes, Maggie Szabo, Keith Harris and Arjen Thonen; produced by Keith Harris and Guardians of the Frequencies- and, on account of this, she represented Spain in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, achieving third place. A success that has fulfilled the highest expectations for the start of the Benidorm Fest, being the prelude to a future full of splendor.


But that is another story, that we will tell in this Music Viewpoint and the festivals of Benidorm.

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