30 Jul 2017

Indie Campers; the Highway to Hell.

Entrance to the festival.
So I decided 3 years is far too long since I'd been to my favourite music festival, Festival Internacional de Benic├ássim. I have been here twice before, once in 2013, and once in 2014. Both times I have booked hotel accommodation and just endured the trek to and from the festival site each evening. To me it was an easy option to skip the dreaded camp site. Camping in a tent in the middle of Spanish heat isn't something I'd like to check off my bucket list. So this year, we decided to book it all quite late on, meaning all the nearby hotels and apartments were either sold out, or extremely pricey. Weighing up our options and desperately avoiding the tent scenario, we discovered a company named Indie Campers. Their vans looked pretty impressive and we thought, g'won then, let's give it a crack. We purchased a caravan pass alongside our 4 day festival ticket + camping and was ready to go.
Our interior looking a lot like it's supposed to...
Flying from East Midlands to Alicante where we would start our 3 hour drive along the Spanish highway to Benic├ássim. When we arrived a woman named Mafalda was waiting for us to exchange the keys and talk us through the van. Showing us our mobile home for the next 5 days. We expected it to look like the swarve photographs we'd bought online, but actually we were faced with this big f*ck off yellow submarine Fiat Transit Van which on the inside looked similar to your average garden shed. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm actually not on this occasion. 
What we expected to see...
So we had the keys, was shown the pot we had to piss in (which cost us an extra 40 Euros and looked similar to a toddler's training potty), and were given a third of a tank of fuel. And so we began along the highway where we found a service station to fill up the tank. Some of you may know, in Spain, they have service attendants at gas stations where their job is to fill your car up for you and you just go to pay. So that's what the female service attendant did. Filled our Fiat Transit Diesel Van, with unleaded fuel. As stated on the fuel cap. See photograph.
A devil in disguise.
See where this is going?

Yeah, the van had an unleaded fuel cap on it, even though it's diesel. And so as you'd have guessed by now, less than 5 minutes back onto the highway, the engine light shone like Blackpool at Christmas. We continued for 15 minutes before being informed by Mafalda that this was really serious and we were to pull over and find a mechanic immediately. This was around 12pm. Now stuck in the middle of nowhere, in 38 degree heat with no food or drink, we started panicking. 
Indie Campers staff were nothing but useless. Assuring me every two or so hours that in 30 minutes time I'd hear from them and that they had 2 teams on the case and the poor gent had even skipped his lunch for his efforts. After being awake since 2.30AM without food I found it difficult to imagine HAVING A LUNCH TO SKIP, prick. Anyway.
We took matters into our own hands and by 5pm, WE GOT A MECHANIC. Miguel, we will love you for eternity, you don't even realise. Poor old Miguel didn't speak a word of English nor did we speak a word of Spanish and so with lots of toing and froing with help from Spanish friends translating for us, Miguel and his Mr. Man mate cleared out the tank and guided us to a service station where we could put DIESEL in the van. Wahey! And we were off.
Lucy had the balls to take the Fiat back on the road and guide us up the coast where the festival was taking place. I completely whimped out of driving and so kudo's to Luce for getting us there in one piece.
When we arrived at the site (after a few wrong turns and a U-turn only Van Diesel would be proud of), a lovely man guided us through the masses of pop up tents and drunken Brits where we would find our caravan spot. Waving like Queen Lizzie, we were feeling pretty pumped in our yellow sub for the festival.

My claustrophobic top bunk.
I have to mention as well, despite having multiple different delinquents on the phone representing Indie Campers, one in particular, who blamed us and showed no sympathy at all for the fault on their van. They have since called me and refunded us for our day missed at the festival, the repairs and have even provided me with a 5 day voucher to use one of their brand new models. The ones we thought we were getting according to the photographs on their website.
I appreciate that they have done what they can to try and improve the situation, it's just a shame they didn't know how to deal with it at the time.

Looking back on it all now, it is one of THE funniest experiences of my entire life. You truly could not have written what happened to us that day. From the beginning to the end it was one huge emotional rollercoaster.

Have a similar story or any questions about the festival?
Lemme know: ravenebonytwigg@gmail.com

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

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