There are music festivals all over the world these days, but it’s hard to imagine a more appealing setting for one than Gibraltar. The British territory on the southern tip of Spain is a one-of-a-kind destination, marked by a Mediterranean climate, a fascinating history, and the famed rock (or really, mountain) that towers over most of its landscape. Since 2012, the territory has served as the location for a pop music festival. That would be MTV’s Gibraltar Calling, which takes place in Victoria Stadium, a sports venue in the shadow of the rock.
It’s proven to be a fun and high-energy event in years past, but this year the political atmosphere and the concert lineup should make for a special show.
Gibraltar has long been in a somewhat unusual position in that it geographically looks like a part of Spain, but from a government standpoint it’s under British control.
Back in 2002 there was a referendum regarding the idea of splitting sovereignty between Britain and Spain. It wasn’t a wholly Spanish effort, but an attempted compromise to end tension over Gibraltar. Shockingly, Gibraltarians voted 99 percent in favor of remaining under British rule, rejecting the compromise and Spanish sovereignty in a single motion. That more or less ended the debate for a time.
Earlier this year, Gibraltarians got a renewed promise of continued British rule. With all of the turmoil in British politics in the last year (the country installed a new government and voted to leave the European Union), the fate of Gibraltar became one of many issues at hand. New prime minister Theresa May has vowed to keep the territory under British control, which should ensure that citizens continue to enjoy the circumstances they voted for in 2002. That ought to put the country in the mood to celebrate, and as it happens the Gibraltar Calling festival is the best opportunity to do so in the coming months.
Throw in the fact that 2017’s lineup looks particularly great, and this could be one hell of a festival. Headliners on the main stage include Bastille, Charlie XCX, and Steve Aoki to keep the party rocking. Also on the main stage are some more distinctly English artists, like London-based indie rockers The Vaccines and rapper Tinie Tempah. The so-called “Classic Stage” also looks promising, with the likes of Village People and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols set to perform. Not to be overlooked, local Gibraltarian bands will also get their shot on stage, with groups like Angelwings, Afterhours, and Come In Leon already confirmed.
All thrown together that makes for a pretty awesome collection of artists who should be able to put on a terrific show. Combine that with what ought to be a renewed sense of patriotism during the summer, and you can start to envision all of Gibraltar turning out to party in the shadow of the rock. Gibraltar Calling is definitely one festival to keep an eye on this year.
The show gets started on Saturday, September 2, 2017.