Benidorm International Song Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Benidorm International Song Festival
Festival Internacional de la Canción de Benidorm
GenreSpanish music
Location(s)Benidorm, Spain
Years active1959–2006 (intermittently)

The Benidorm International Song Festival (Spanish: Festival Internacional de la Canción de Benidorm), until 2004 simply Benidorm Song Festival (Spanish: Festival de la Canción de Benidorm), was an annual song contest held in the city of Benidorm, Spain. The contest, based on the Italian Sanremo Music Festival, was created to promote Benidorm and Spanish music.

It originally ran from 1959 to 2006 (except in 1979, 1984 and from 1986 to 1992, when it was not held) and used to take place in the summer. After 2006, it did not take place again through 2021, when a revamped edition, under the name Benidorm Fest, was announced by Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) and the Generalitat Valenciana to be scheduled for January 2022, serving as the platform to select the Spanish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.[1]

The festival has undergone considerable modifications over the years, for example in the prizes. In 2004, it went from national to international. The contest was usually broadcast on television by REM (1959), TVE (1960–1985, 1997–2005), Telecinco (1993–96) or Canal Nou (1997–2006).


In 1958, the idea of holding a Spanish summer song festival like what had been done in Sanremo, Italy, since 1951 (Sanremo Music Festival) came up. This event took place in the Benidorm kiosk El Tío Quico, where the mayor of the city, Pedro Zaragoza, the writer and journalist Carlos Villacorta, director of the press office of the General Secretariat of the Movement, and the journalist Teodoro Delgado Pomata [es] were present. In July 1959, the first edition of an event called the Festival Español de la Canción de Benidorm ("Spanish Song Festival of Benidorm") was held, organised by the Red de Emisoras del Movimiento [es] (REM) (Movement Station Network) from the city's Manila Park.[2]

The mechanics of the festival during the first editions (from 1959 to 1971) consisted of presenting the songs in double versions, as was usual in the song festivals of the moment, including Sanremo. The victory of the song "Un telegrama" and its huge success in Spain at the time guaranteed the continuity of the festival in Benidorm, despite the fact that some cities in the south of Spain tried to take over the organisation of the festival. During this period, the greatest hits in the history of the festival took place, such as "Comunicando", "Quisiera ser", "Tu loca juventud", "La vida sigue igual" and "Amor amargo". It also featured the participation of emerging personalities of Spanish light song, such as Dúo Dinámico, Raphael, Bruno Lomas, Joe y Luis, Michel, Los Gritos and Julio Iglesias. In addition, although it was not their catapult to success, during these years artists such as Karina, Víctor Manuel, Lolita Garrido and Manolo Otero performed. Also, Rosa Morena, who was already enjoying success abroad before her consecration in Spain, participated.[2]

On the other hand, the period between 1972 and 1985 marked a certain decline of the festival. The press repeated year after year that the quality of the songs was descending and in fact, during these years, the festival only released the hit "Soledad", by Emilio José and awarded prizes to soloists such as Eduardo Rodrigo, Mochi, Juan Camacho or Dyango and composers such as Juan Pardo, Dúo Dinámico or El Lute. Other contenders were Betty Missiego, Braulio, Tito Mora, José Vélez, the actress Beatriz Carvajal, Nydia Caro, Andrés Caparrós, José María Bacchelli or Tino Casal. The changes in the musical and audiovisual panorama brought about by the political transition led to a growing lack of interest in the festival. The non celebration of the 1979 and 1984 editions and experimental editions in 1983 (non-competitive) and 1985 (which searched for a younger audience, inviting pop-rock groups such as Alphaville, Seguridad Social or Aerolíneas Federales) failed to raise the interest of the public, which led to the cancellation of the festival from 1986 to 1992.[3]

After a break of seven consecutive years, the contest was held again in 1993, beginning its third phase. In that first year, two categories were differentiated, the pop-rock final and the light song final, but from 1994 onwards, the old formula of awarding prizes to a single song was reinstated. The event became international in 2004, adopting the name of Festival Internacional de la Canción de Benidorm (Benidorm International Song Festival), and ceased to be held after its 39th edition (held in 2006) due to the lack of interest from the public and the media.[4] During these 14 editions, the media repercussion of the festival was null, despite awarding the first prize to Alazán, Coral Segovia and La Década Prodigiosa and the authors Pablo Motos and Rosana Arbelo. Other relevant artists of the Spanish music scene who performed at this stage were Esmeralda Grao, Paco Arrojo, Pasión Vega, Luis Livingstone, Mikel Herzog, A las 10 en casa, Barei (as part of the duo Dos Puntos), Jesús Cisneros and Inma Serrano.[2]

The festival used to be broadcast by TVE, although during the 1960s and 1970s it was not broadcast entirely because it was a show designed mainly for the public gathered in Benidorm, not as much as a television programme. The editions from 1993 to 1996 were broadcast by Telecinco and from 1997, the broadcasting returned to TVE and the regional channel Canal Nou. The 2006 edition did not have national television coverage as TVE dissociated itself from the project and was only broadcast by Canal Nou.[5]

In Summer 2019, a commemorative exhibition to mark the 60th anniversary of the festival was held at the Museo Boca del Calvari [es] and was visited by more than 10,000 people during its first month.[6]

Golden Mermaid Trophy winners[edit]

As of 2006, the first prize winner was awarded with the Golden Mermaid Trophy (Sirenita de Oro) and €36,000 (about US$47,000) to produce a record. Second and third place winners received the Silver Mermaid Trophy (Sirenita de Plata) and the Bronze Mermaid Trophy (Sirenita de Bronce), respectively. The three prizes previously consisted of 100,000 , 50,000 ₧ and 25,000 ₧, respectively.[7]

Edition Year Performer Song
1st 1959 Monna Bell and Juanito Segarra [es] "Un telegrama"
2nd 1960 Arturo Millán [es] "Comunicando"
3rd 1961 José Francis "Enamorada"
4th 1962 Raphael "Llevan"
5th 1963 Alberto Pestaña and Rosalía [es] "La hora"
6th 1964 José Casas "Eternidad"
7th 1965 Federico Cabo [es] "Tu loca juventud"
8th 1966 Alicia Granados "Nocturno"
9th 1967 Tony Dallara and Bettina "Entre los dos"
10th 1968 Julio Iglesias "La vida sigue igual"
11th 1969 Mirla Castellanos "Ese día llegará"
12th 1970 Donna Hightower and Joe y Luis "Tus manos"
13th 1971 Ely Forcada [es] "Mi rincón"
14th 1972 Eduardo Rodrigo [es] "A María yo encontré"
15th 1973 Emilio José [es] "Soledad"
16th 1974 Juan Erasmo Mochi [es] "Un camino hacia el amor"
17th 1975 Juan Camacho [es] "A ti, mujer"
18th 1976 Dyango "Si yo fuera él"
19th 1977 Alfonso Pahino "Aléjate"
20th 1978 Yunque "Toro negro"
21st 1980 Jerónimo "Quisiera"
22nd 1981 José Umbral "Y te quiero"
23rd 1982 Fernando Ubiergo "Yo pienso en ti"
24th 1983[a] No competition held
25th 1985 Círculo Vicioso "Portero de noche"
26th 1993 El Desierto que Viene[b] "Tierra del amor"[b]
Romero y sus Amigos [es][c] "Sabed amigos"[c]
27th 1994 Esmeralda Grao "Fuego y miel"
28th 1995 Tábata Ley "Sólo amor"
29th 1996 Malizzia & Malizzia "Y no puedo más"
30th 1997 Diego Daniel "Soledad"
31st 1998 Enrique Casellas "Seguramente"
32nd 1999 Quinta Esencia "De manera espontánea"
33rd 2000 Alazán [es] "Alcanzarás la luna"
34th 2001 Carlos Fénix "Mi razón de vivir"
35th 2002 Marta Solís "Vida"
36th 2003 Carlos Barroso "Enséñame"
37th 2004 Guy Swimer "Sweet Lady"
38th 2005 Coral Segovia [es] "Maldito corazón"
39th 2006 La Década Prodigiosa "A tí"


  1. ^ In 1983 the contest became a musical exhibit without winners. Complaints against this decision emerged.
  2. ^ a b Pop-rock modality.
  3. ^ a b Ballad modality.


  1. ^ "More Benidorm Fest details revealed… 🇪🇸". EBU. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Macías, Fernando (23 July 2020). "Benidorm, punto de encuentro de la cultura y la música española" [Benidorm, meeting point of Spanish culture and music]. (in Spanish). RTVE. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  3. ^ "'Douze points': un repaso breve por la historia de Eurovisión" ['Douze points': a brief review of the history of Eurovision]. Valencia Plaza (in Spanish). 23 August 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  4. ^ "El Festival de la Canción de Benidorm no se hará por segundo año consecutivo" [The Benidorm Song Festival will not be held for the second consecutive year]. (in Spanish). 9 July 2008. Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  5. ^ Carros, David (17 July 2021). "La Generalitat Valenciana ultima un acuerdo con RTVE para un gran evento de Eurovisión en Benidorm" [The Generalitat Valenciana finalizes an agreement with RTVE for a great Eurovision event in Benidorm]. ESCPlus (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Más de 10.000 personas visitan la Exposición '60ª Aniversario del Festival de Benidorm' en su primer mes" [More than 10,000 people visit the Exhibition '60th Anniversary of the Benidorm Festival 'in its first month]. (in Spanish). August 12, 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  7. ^ Macías, Fernando (23 July 2021). "Raphael, Julio Iglesias o Karina: del Festival de Benidorm a Eurovisión". (in Spanish). RTVE. Retrieved 30 September 2021.

External links[edit]

  • Benidorm, Overview with video of the city. From a local citizen.