Music Festivals in Bilbao in 2022
The unofficial capital of the Basque country, Bilbao, Spain, is a truly unique city. Often underrated as an industrial town, Bilbao is close to spectacular mountain and ocean scenery and is the best place to learn about the unique culture of the Basque people. In recent years, Bilbao has begun to focus more and more on its potential as a tourist destination. And the many cultural events held in the city, including some of the best music festivals in Bilbao, are a huge part of that.
Bilbao may not have as many huge festivals as bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona. But, thanks to the Bilbao BBK Live festival and other festivals held throughout the summer, the city holds its own when it comes to live music. Check out the best music festivals in Bilbao in 2022, and consider planning a visit around attending one or more of these unique events.
Whatever festival you choose to attend, your visit to the Basque country will be much easier if you drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Bilbao. Unencumbered by heavy bags, you'll find it much easier to get around Bilbao and see not only the best music festivals in the city but also some of the other unique tourist attractions Bilbao has to offer.
Taking place over three days from March 4 to 6, Musika-Musica kicks off Bilbao's festival season at the Palacio Euskalduna with a celebration of the best in classical music. This long-running festival is built each year around a single theme, with 2022's theme being Nature. You'll hear some of the best performers in classical music perform work on this theme, making this festival a great introduction to classical music for those who want to learn more as well as a wonderful festival for already committed classical music fans.
Concert tickets are sold separately for each performance. Expect to pay around €12 for a single performance.
Music Legends Festival
Created by the organizers of Bilbao BBK Live, which we'll get to in a moment, Music Legends focuses on some of the biggest acts of bygone eras. Therefore, if you're a fan of classic rock and pop, this is a festival in Bilbao you simply can't afford to miss. If your favorite act is still touring, there's a good chance they'll be playing this unique festival.
Taking place this year on June 24 and June 25, Music Legends has hosted the likes of Jethro Tull, Steve Winwood, the Beach boys, and Los Lobos. This year features some equally big names from 20th-century popular music, including Status Quo, Hawkwind, and the Alan Parsons Live Project.
This isn't a festival where you go to hear something new. Instead, this is a party where you can sing along to your favorite songs and turn back the clock with legendary acts that will make you feel like a teenager again.
The Music Legends Festival is held at the Bilbao Arena. A two-day ticket costs a very reasonable €90, or you can buy a single-day ticket for €55.
Bizkaia Rock Day
After a 15 year hiatus, Bilbao's biggest festival of rock music is back for 2022. Held at the Estadio de San Mames, this one-day event takes place on July 3 this year, right before Bilbao BBK Live, and is the biggest celebration of rock music in Bilbao, Spain.
This year, Rock Day is headlined by Metallica. Other acts include Weezer, The Hellacopters, Nothing But Thieves, and The Regrettes, so the lineup covers everything from hard rock to alternative rock, making for a single-day festival that's guaranteed to please fans who like their music a little on the heavier side. Most tickets for this event are already sold out, but at the time of writing, some are still available, starting at €90 each for seats with reduced visibility and going all the way up to €141 if you want to be in the Golden Circle and get your eardrums blasted at the front of the stage.
Bilbao BBK Live
Unquestionably the highlight of the Bilbao summer festival season, Bilbao BBK Live is one of the top music festivals in all of Europe, attracting huge action around the world and presenting a musically diverse lineup that offers something to please everyone. In the past, headliners included Liam Gallagher, Thom Yorke, Weezer, Gorillaz, Depeche Mode, and Arcade Fire. This year's line up is just as impressive, featuring the Pet Shop Boys, LCD Sound System, Placebo, The Killers, MIA, Four Tet, and many others.
This year, the festival takes place on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of July, and will be held as usual on the scenic slopes of Kobetamendi mountain. This site will give you a stunning view over Bilbao while you enjoy the incredible music the festival has to offer. The festival venue can be reached on foot from Bilbao city centre, but the festival organizers only recommend this if you have the "soul of an athlete or mountaineer." Alternatively, there will be a special Metro service connecting the festival grounds with the city.
Then again, if you don't feel like shuttling back and forth, you can try to get a camping spot on the festival grounds. Whether you're a motorhome camper or more of a tent person, there are several spots available for you to make camp. The festival even offers a luxurious Glamping experience, which features a tent already set up for you and three of your closest friends and includes a buffet breakfast. There's also a cheaper option of a two-person tent which you can have with or without the breakfast buffet to save some money.
Speaking of money, tickets to Bilbao BBK Live cost €164 for a three-day pass. If that's a little steep, you can spend €66 on a single day pass, which is comparable to what you'd expect to pay for concert tickets for a single musical act, so it's really not a bad deal. Of course, camping costs extra, as will food and drink once you're on the festival site.
This incredible mountain festival is undoubtedly the biggest and best Bilbao live festival of the year, and one that music fans can't afford to miss. If you're in the city while this festival is on — and you can secure tickets — you owe it to yourself to check out some of the biggest musical acts in the world while surrounded by incredible Basque country mountain scenery. Bilbao BBK Live will give you three days in July you'll never forget at the biggest event of the year.
Bilbao Blues Festival
If you prefer your music a little more on the soulful side, Bilbao Blues Festival's got you covered. This Basque city may not be the first place you think of when you think about the music of the Mississippi Delta and the American South, but Bilbao's Blues Festival is one of the leading festivals of its type in this part of Europe. Held from July 29 to July 31, 2022 at El Arenal, this festival aims to bring the best of African-American-inspired music to northern Spain.
Artists performing this year include Shemekia Copeland, Bob Stroger, Piano Willie, and Kimberly "Hot Sauce" Jackson. This year's festival has a noticeable slant toward the Chicago blues tradition, but you'll also hear different blues styles ranging from traditional to experimental at this lively festival.
Aste Nagusia means Big Week in Basque, and is sometimes known in Spanish as Semana Grande. However, this festival actually goes on for a little more than a week, being held this year from August 20th to the 28th. And while this isn't a music festival per se, it is a unique celebration of Basque culture and heritage in Bilbao and a can't-miss event in the city.
The party starts at the Arriaga Theater in the city centre when a rocket is fired into the sky to announce the beginning of the festival. Then, the party takes over the city streets, with Basque music and dancing just about everywhere you look, along with some of the best street food in Bilbao from the vendors that line the streets. You won't find international touring acts here. What you'll get instead is homegrown Basque musicians celebrating their unique culture in the most fun and most memorable way possible. That makes this a truly unmissable festival in the Bilbao summer calendar, and you'll certainly hear plenty of music in the streets, even if you may not know the names of the performers.
Held from October 20 to October 29, BIME Live may be one of the newer festivals on the Bilbao scene. However, this genre-spanning celebration of music has already attracted some of the biggest names in international music, including The Chemical Brothers, Manic Street Preachers, and Imagine Dragons.
BIME is something of an industry insider convention, with an event held in Bogotá in the spring and the Bilbao event held in the autumn. However, along with the workshops and meet-and-greets for industry insiders, there'll be plenty of opportunities to enjoy incredible music. The performers for this year's Bilbao event have not yet been announced, but given past lineups that have played BIME, you can expect some of the biggest musical talents in the world at this festival. Keep an eye on the website so that you don't miss the announcement of who will be playing the 2022 edition.
Planning to stay some more days in Bilbao?
Attending a music festival is a fantastic way to experience this underrated Spanish city. But if you find yourself in Bilbao for a short amount of time, you may have trouble seeing everything the city has to offer. Don't fear; our guide on how to spend 3 days in Bilbao will help you get the best out of the Basque capital when time is in short supply.
Most visitors to the city will want to see the Guggenheim Bilbao, undoubtedly one of the best museums in Bilbao and in all of Spain. This incredible museum of modern and contemporary art is worth seeing just for its stunning Frank Gehry-designed architecture, but the collection of art installations inside is just as impressive. If, on the other hand, you prefer more classic art, the Museum of Fine Arts Bilbao is a great place to explore.
Thanks to the uniqueness of Basque culture, Bilbao also has some excellent options for food you won't find anywhere else. Head to Erribera Merkatua, Bilbao's central market, to sample local produce and some of the best food in the city. Alternatively, you could take a guided tour of the city's bars and restaurants or set out and explore them yourself in search of the best pintxos in the city. These tapas-style small plates are an indelible part of Basque culture and something you simply have to try while in Bilbao.
Bilbao central market isn't just for foodies. Shopping addicts will find it offers some of the best shopping in Bilbao, but that's not the only place to get your retail fix. Check out the Gran Via or the Zubiarte shopping center to look for bargains in the city.
However you choose to spend your time in Bilbao, you'll soon see that the city has a culture and an atmosphere that is completely its own. Drop off your bags at a Bilbao luggage locker and you'll be perfectly positioned to enjoy the best of what this town has to offer. Traveling light has never been easier, so get ready to explore Bilbao before or after your music festival and find out what makes it so special.