When they asked me to write this article, I only had in mind to talk about the history of the flying saucer that is parked in the middle of the road at the entrance of Benidorm: the UFO in which, every year for the last several years, the world’s best Rock n Roll festival takes place; The Funtastic Dracula Carnival.

We had a hunch that if we followed this thread we’d find some forgotten treasures from one of Spain’s best music eras, but we never thought that what we were dealing with was simply living history, and that their protagonists were about to tell us the story first person. This is the story of the first years of the discotheque CAP 3000, the world’s most visited UFO.

Benidorm, 1968: Julio Iglesias had just won the famous Benidorm Chanson Contest. What back in the day had been a charming fishing village was experiencing a boom. Giant skyscrapers were growing out of nowhere like mushrooms from one day to the next. Sun and beach tourism was hatching in what we could call the dictatorship’s late broke-era; between hippies, foreign girls in bikinis, parties, the Beatles, miniskirts, carefree youth, and the motorized revolution starring the Seat 600. A whirlwind of fresh air, a social phenomenon that made its summer holidays on the Spanish Mediterranean Coast and turned it into one of the European epicenters of nightlife.

A year later in 1969, a UFO landed in Benidorm. The world’s most photographed UFO. An eighteen-ton metal flying saucer with a bank-vault-styled entrance door. It opened with the name “CAP 3000” and, like in a sci-fi flick, started what later will become one of Europe’s most important music vanguard movements.


Discotheque CAP 3000

“Located in Benidorm, CAP 3000 opened in 1969 and became one of Europe’s biggest discotheques. In 1970 a Led Zeppelin concert happened, later on, James Brown, Slade, Los Angeles and The Foundations, among others. With a capacity of three-thousand people, it was a pioneer in the Costa Blanca nightlife…”

From the book “Bacalao!” by Luis Costa, Ed. Contra

If we’re not mistaken, the engineers of discotheque CAP 3000 were Joan Cloude and Joan Pierre, two french cousins that, with their associate Celestino, a man from Pego (Alicante), found in Benidorm the perfect place and time to enterprise the beginning of one of the most fun eras of nightlife in Spain.

CAP 3000 was a true revolution and not only because of its flying saucer looks. The concept of Open-Air Discotheque, live performances, swimming pool, boutiques in the gardens, 3000 person capacity, and the music selection of its disc-jockeys set the discotheque apart as an international standard.

One of the first disc-jockeys from CAP 3000 was Juan Santamaría, a restless Valencian that had studied in France, worked in Benidorm in his youth and lived in Granada, Ibiza, Sitges and Amsterdam before starting his adventure in the UFO. This is the story of how he became one of CAP 3000’s first disc-jockeys.

Juan Santamaría:

I left Amsterdam to spend some time home, then I parted to Benidorm. I was managing for a band in the hotels. A friend of mine from Castellars was managing some bands and proposed to try to move them over there. And that I did. One day, looking at some guys playing billiards, which I really like, they asked me if I wanted to play, they were one player short. They were French and I spoke it, so we started to chatter. My partner in the game happened to be the owner of CAP 3000, and we won. He wanted to know what it was I was doing there and I told him that I was trying to make a living in the hotels and stuff.

– Can you DJ? – he asked me, and I told him that was my thing. He took me to CAP 3000. The DJ booth was a helicopter, I was tripping! The discotheque got its name because of its capacity for up to 3000 people. At 11:30pm / midnight it was completely full. Long before opening time, people queued up with their money ready to come in. Back then summers were really long. I remember being there deejaying until November, going home for Christmas and then back to open again in spring. First only the inner part of the saucer were open, then in June, they opened the gardens. I started in like April ‘72 or ‘73 and deejayed there for two years.

From the book “Bacalao!” by Luis Costa, Ed. Contra

DJ Juan Santamaría CAP 3000, 1970

The DJ booth was a helicopter! A helicopter that, José Luis Martín (Jofra), who built the UFO, went to pick with his truck up from a junkyard in Madrid. The idea of making a flying saucer shaped discotheque was from Decora Carlos, from Alicante.

Filippo, the DJ that replaced the first DJs tells us that “the owner of CAP 3000 had been a helicopter pilot at the war with Algeria and he was determined to have a heli as decoration in the discotheque. He heard that one without a motor was in a junkyard in Madrid that came from the U.S. Army base in Torrejón, and they picked it up with a truck and brought it here. The first DJ’s, Juan de Santamaría and “el Canario” thought that it could be the DJ booth, and the sound engineer mounted two turntables inside it.”

Filippo Master DJ in the booth of CAP 3000 in the 70’s

Filippo Master DJ in the booth of CAP 3000 in the 70’s

And how did Filippo start as a DJ in CAP 3000?:

“I was the DJ in disco Tubos, in the center of Benidorm between 1971 to 1974. It opened every day the whole year and in winter, when the other discotheques were closed. Everybody came to dance in Tubos. At the beginning of the 1975 season, Juan Santamaría proposed being a member of CAP 3000’s DJ team.”

CAP 3000

 At the beginning of the seventies in CAP 3000 they played music imports. From North America: disco, funky, soul, rhythm and blues, rock and roll. From England: English pop (Beatles, Rolling, Glitter), glam rock, reggae. From Spain: rock, flamenco and Spanish rock, and from France and other countries in Europe, everything that was in trend. At that time the best music could be heard in Benidorm.

We did trips to England, U.S.A. or Amsterdam before each season started to buy all the new vinyl records that were playing in every country.

Filippo Master Dj

Discotheque CAP 3000 Benidorm


The attendants were Scandinavian, Swedish, Norwegian, German, English, French, Belgian and Spanish from Madrid, Alicante, Valencia, Basque Country, changing as the summer season went by.

Disco shirts, chest hair, the mirror-ball, the Go-Go Dancers and the elegance were mixed with the glamour and psychedelia, spiraling towards the Saturday night fever.


Workers from CAP 3000


The first ever Laser Beam in Spain was installed in CAP 3000 between 1975/76. It was spectacular! It was green. The attendants were tripping with the light and, as a complement, it had smoke machines. When the smoke expanded, the laser beams drew awesome figures above the people’s heads dancing on the dance-floor. It was astounding, like being in space, it was the future, and inside of a flying saucer.

Filippo Master DJ

The logo of CAP 3000 was a cigar-smoking Martian with a drink on its hand sporting an T-Shirt of the discotheque. Something out of this world.

Among the performances in CAP 3000 was the Godfather of Soul himself, Mr. James Brown. And Gary Glitter who came onstage on a big motorcycle, because at the time, as Pepa Lloret (a Benidorm neighbor) remembers, “it was allowed to go onstage with big motorcycles, almost to the dance-floor. We girls were totally killing it sitting on our motorbikes inside the discotheque”

Also, Slade and Isaac Hayes among others performed live. What remains unclear is if Led Zeppelin really performed in the discotheque’s grand opening. The most reliable sources say that it was announced but that it never happened. Maybe it all was just a publicity stunt.


CAP 3000 advertising for the band Slade

In 1973 Benidorm already had that vertical look from its many skyscrapers. The idyllic fishing village was gone and in its place was this international center of sun-and-beach tourism where nightlife became an institution. Maybe at the time, no one knew, but the party that started there on the Levantine Coast would be the origin of a vanguard musical movement that flourished in the eighties and collapsed in the middle nineties known as “Ruta del Bakalao”. Like Luis Costa explains on his book Bakalao! “When the European EDM scene started, we had already been dancing for five years in Valencia.”



Pincha aqui para Español!

40 replies
  1. Roy Green
    Roy Green says:

    I’m positive cap 3,000 didn’t open until 71.
    I was working next door in Penelope, helping prepare the club for the coming opening in May 71.
    The cap was still being built and I saw the helicopter fly in that was to become the DJ booth.

    • Sylvie Janic
      Sylvie Janic says:

      Oui ! Tu as raison
      Je suis la nièce d’une des actionnaires du Cap 3000.
      Magnifique époque où je dansais sur la piste avec ce groupe SLADE et d’autres !
      J’étais très gamine mais déjà grande en taille à l’époque !
      Que de bons souvenirs
      Quelle coïncidence : ce matin en prenant mon café à l’épicerie du Cap Cap d’Agde situé au numéro 4 rue du Vent des Dames j’en ai parlé un peu au Propriétaire MIKA puis en rentrant chez moi j’ai eu de la nostalgie et j’ai tapé les mots cléS : CAP 3000 BENIDORM

      • Morgane Vanwyngaerden
        Morgane Vanwyngaerden says:

        Bonjour Sylvie,

        Je m’appelle Morgane, je travaille pour la maison de production Belge Bargoens et je suis très intéressée par le Cap 3000 et son histoire.
        Je vois que vous êtes la nièce de Jean-Louis et Geneviève Brillaud. Est-ce que je pourrais vous poser quelques questions par mail?
        Vous pouvez me contacter par mail (

        Merci beaucoup!
        J’espère que mon message vous atteindra bien.


      • Pedro Delgado Casals
        Pedro Delgado Casals says:

        Bonjour Sylvie, je m’appelle Pedro et je fais un projet sur les représentations historiques de Benidorm. Je souhaite vous contacter pour vous interroger sur les prestations qui ont eu lieu dans la discothèque sur la scène de M. Brillaud.Mon email est : Merci.

    • Pedro Delgado Casals
      Pedro Delgado Casals says:

      Hi John, I’m from Benidorm and I’m doing a project about the performances that took place here in the early seventies. I would like to contact you to discuss these issues. Thank you

  2. Graham Wood
    Graham Wood says:

    My name is Graham Wood and I was the person responsible for all the early entertainment at Cap 3000, Benidorm. To correct a few inaccuracies- Cap 3000 was not named because of it’s capacity ( actually nearer 4,500) but from a famous French disco then in the Cannes area. The main guy was Jean Louis Brillaud who asked me to come and provide all the main entertainment including bringing suitcases of the latest U.K. and U.S. hits. James Brown never worked there during my period 71-74. Led Zeppelin never worked there also but we did try to negotiate a deal which never materialized. Most name artists would work for a week and included Little Richard and his band, Johnny Otis with Marie Adams and the Three Tons of Joy, Shuggie Otis, Arthur Conley, Demis Roussos, Los Bravos, Slade, Gary Glitter, Mungo Jerry, & a few others. Unfortunately I did not keep any pictures of these performances. The front door was copied from the Bank of France vault door. Not sure that Jean Louis was ever a helicopter pilot, he never mentioned it. After I left Jean Louis kept it going for a few years but no other big names ever appeared to my knowledge. He eventually sold it to a consortium.

    • Ria
      Ria says:

      Hi Graham,
      At that time I was there too with my partner. Charlie, he was one of the first DJ’s. He also worked for Jean Louis in Alicante, Club 2000.
      I sometimes worked in the boutique ground floor. I do remember that Charlie went to the UK sometimes for the music etc. with somebody named Graham. Maybe you remember something about him.

    • Björn Henning Halvorsen
      Björn Henning Halvorsen says:

      Yes, I saw Mungo Jerry(two nights) and Slade there in the summer of 1972! Mungo Jerry had a new line-up with drummer Tim Reeves and keyboard-player Jon Pope. “Mister Mungo Jerry” Ray Dorset and John Godfrey remained from the old line-up.

    • Carmen
      Carmen says:

      Mi marido Falko y yo trabajamos en el Cap 3000 en 1971 yo vendiendo tabaco en el kiosco y Falko como la mano derecha de Jean Louis, contactaba a los artistas,lo malo fue que Jean Louis no le dio nunca de alta,por lo que tuvo problemas y le pusieron una enorme multa

  3. Janice Clark
    Janice Clark says:

    Hi, my husband and I worked there I think it was 1972/3, he worked as a chef an I waited tables in the restaurant. I remember the foyer wall was covered in plaster casts of womens boobs. There was a smoke machine then and of course the helicopter. I remember one night when, Jean Louis left me a tip which was more than I earned in a full week in the UK.

    • uwe
      uwe says:

      ich war von 1973-1975 DJ mit Juan.
      bin 2x im Jahr nach Hamburg um die neusten und aktuellsten Schallplatten/Charts zu kaufen.
      war eine super Zeit .

    • Sylvie Janic
      Sylvie Janic says:

      Que coincidencia !
      Soy Sylvie, la Sobrina de Geneviève et Jean-Louis BRILLAUD ! Yo bailaba siempre con el Grupo SLADE y otros !

    • Sylvie Janic
      Sylvie Janic says:

      C’était superbe !
      Je suis la nièce de Jean-Louis et Geneviève BRILLAUD.
      J’y dansais toutes les nuits avec les GO GO

  4. Mike Connaris
    Mike Connaris says:

    In 1972 our band BLUE were resident there for August. On August 19th (my 21st birthday) we were going to have the night off because Led Zeppelin had been billed to play. The manager told us to come along and watch the concert. We turned up in our yellow transit van, BLUE emblazoned in big letters on the side and tried to find somewhere to park. The place was heaving. Excitedly we made our way over to the entrance but suddenly saw the manger rushing over towards us. “Please, can you play tonight?!!!” “Why?” we asked. “Led Zeppelin haven’t turned up!” Aaaggghhhh!! How could we play? We’d be lynched. But after a few beers and bust aids…we did. We’d never seen the Club full to capacity but we went on stage, took a deep breath, announced Led Zeppelin couldn’t be here and launched into Paperback Writer. It was difficult at first but I guess the crowd thought, “Well we’ve come all this way, we might as well enjoy ourselves”…and they did. We took a break, had a few more beers and discussed what song to open the 2nd set with. In our repertoire was ONE Led Zeppelin song – Living Loving Maid. Could we dare start with this? We thought “F*ck it – let’s do it”…and we did. And it went down a storm. So CAP 3000 has lots of memories for us. And I can vouch for Graham that Led Zeppelin never played there…although I do have a photo proof of their name advertised like Slade’s on the outside of the club…above our band’s name, BLUE. Shame I can’t upload the pic here. But I can also vouch that Slade had played there. How do we know? In our brick walled dressing room, aerosol sprayed in big letters were the words: SLADE WOZ HERE!”. Wonderful times. Mike

    • roger brockbank
      roger brockbank says:

      I can vouch Slade definitely played there. I went to the gig with a group of Brummies who were hairdressers and knew Slade. After the show we went back stage. I was later chased out of the venue by an irate Noddy holder holding a smashed glass ( he find out I was a Spurs fan and they had, earlier in the same year beaten his beloved wolves in an eufa cup final)!!

  5. Lena Löfberg
    Lena Löfberg says:

    Me and my girlfriend Gunilla went to Benidorm in July 1969 or maybe 1970. We became an every night guest at Cap3000 during the 4 weeks we stayed there. I also had a little ”affair” with one of the owners Joan Cloude, which wasn’t popular from his wife we had a very nice evening with drinks and discussions with Gary Glitter and we saw his performance which was fantastic. We also went for a party outside Benidorm one afternoon with barbecue and sangria the guests were taken there by boat. Our visit to Benidorm is a happy and beautiful memory. I have photos from me and Gary Glitter and me and Joan Cloude but it’s not possible to post them here

    • mench
      mench says:

      Photos from Benidorm Cap3000 from Lena Löfberg!
      ude or if it’s Joan Pierre? But I belive is Joan Cloude
      me and Joan Cloude or if it’s Joan Pierre? But I belive is Joan Cloude

      the beachparty we were invited to
      the beachparty we were invited to

      me and Gary Glitter
      me and Gary Glitter

      me and my girlfriend Gunilla with a friend we met at Cap3000
      me and my girlfriend Gunilla with a friend we met at Cap3000

      • Sylvie Janic
        Sylvie Janic says:

        incroyable ses photos !
        Je suis Sylvie, la nièce de jean – Louis et Geneviève BRILLAUD à l’époque !
        J’ai reconnu mon oncle ! Que de souvenirs !

  6. Ian Holt
    Ian Holt says:

    I was there in 72 to see Slade. It definitely wasn’t open in the summer of 71, at least when I was there. There was a story going round that they paid The Beach Boys megabucks to play at the grand opening but I’ll take the fifth over it’s veracity.

  7. Hernandez Philippe
    Hernandez Philippe says:

    Bonjour à tous;

    Pour ma part je faisais partie du groupe Krash et je m’appelais Philippe lawrence, nous avons joué au Cap 3000 pendant l’été 74.
    Nous sommes restés plusieurs semaines, alors que nous étions venu pour quelques jours. Dès le premier soir Jean Louis nous a demandé de prolonger.
    Il nous est arrivé la même aventure que Mike Connaris mais avec Jhonny Halliday qui devait venir et qui n’est jamais arrivé.
    Le fameux soir, Jean Louis nous à dit une heure avant le concert, Johnny ne viendra pas, je compte sur vous sinon il vont tout casser. On a fait le job, succès total si bien que nous avions reçu plusieurs offres de grands clubs qui souhaitait nous recevoir, je me souviens d’Alicante mais après le reste est flou.
    Je n’ai pas de photos de notre passage, malheureusement, nous avions 20 ans et nous ne pensions pas qu’un jour nous serions content d’avoir quelques souvenirs.
    Ma carrière fut longue et riche mais pas tout à fait terminé
    Si quelqu’un souhaite que nous conversions n’hésitez pas à me contacter

    • Sylvie Janic
      Sylvie Janic says:

      Bonjour Philippe,
      Je suis la nièce de Geneviève et Jean-Louis Brillaud ! J’étais toujours avec eux tout au début de l’ouverture del Cap Tres Mil Que de très bons souvenirs pour moi Maintenant j’habite au Cap d’Agde sans le Sud de la France
      Mon téléphone :

  8. Rosmarie Olsson
    Rosmarie Olsson says:

    Kul att se googla och glömmer aldrig tefats diskoteket utanför Benidorm . Helt enastående för en ung tjej från en liten stad som Kristianstad , året var 1977 Cap 2000 hette det då om jag inte minns fel .

  9. Gilbert Courtois
    Gilbert Courtois says:

    Hello Cap-3000,
    I am looking for valuable information about a rock band (Baxter) former band (Titanic) who played at cap 3000 in 1974 or 1973.
    Would you be kind enough to confirm the date of these concerts in your establishment?
    With my sincere gratitude
    Gilbert Courtois
    Baxter band guitarist

  10. Kevin Roy
    Kevin Roy says:

    I was there in 1972 . I was 18 and my first holiday out of the U.K. My friends and I saw Slade at CAP 3000. We were right at the front near the stage. It was a fantastic night and Slade were in top form. I can’t remember if we saw Mungo Jerry the same year or if it was 1973 as we came back to Benidorm.

  11. Arrando Grayson
    Arrando Grayson says:

    I was lucky enough to entertain the crowd at Cap 3000 in a band called: Clyde ‘Nem & Her in 1975. We enjoyed the crowd and it is an experience I will never forget.

  12. Dave cooper
    Dave cooper says:

    I went there in 1978 we were staying at the los pelicanos and it’s sister hotel los ocas this features in the Tv show Benidorm you had to get a boarding ticket to enter cap 3000 intiled you to one free drink and entrance inside was dj in helicopter bridge across swimming pool to get on to dance floor and the main stage when you looked back across the pool there was leather seating that seemed to go on forever in an arc to the right it went outside with eating area the dance floor had four strobes that went on together it was fantastic
    Telly savalas was staying at the dom panchio and he drove a Porsche Carrera around Benidorm

  13. Pancho
    Pancho says:

    Just out of nostalgia I decided to look up this club into my surprise I found this website. I realize that most of the post or a year or more odor but I decided to post anyway. I was touring in disco bands in 1979 and played at this club several times. It was the first time I seen a live laser on stage for anywhere for that matter. The night we played there I had taken my first trip on acid first and last might I add.. when the laser cut on I started to run off the stage in my bandmates had to grab me and calm me down! Those were the good old days this club used to really bang hard!

  14. Alex Green
    Alex Green says:

    Hello, Looking for information about the Helix Monument that stood outside Cap3000. Picture for reference:
    I’m doing some research on the architecture of Benidorm and I am particularly interested in the sculpture.
    Thank you, Alex Green

  15. Fethi IGLI
    Fethi IGLI says:

    Benidorm et son monde mythique.
    Ça vit la nuit plus que le jour. Son CAP 3000, je n’oublierais jamais, de la vie. Un mythe qui n’existe nulle part ailleurs. Cette soucoupe volante venue d’ailleurs ne laisse personne indifférent et elle nous attire comme un aimant. Avant de vous aventurer de l’autre côté de la manche pour les fêtes de la nuit, une escale à Benidorm sera vraiment bénie, l’embarquement sur le CAP 3000 vous emmène à l’au-delà terrestre, si j’ose dire. Il a suffisamment dépassé les nuits folles d’Ibiza ou de Maracanna au Brésil. Le cap 3000 de Benidorm est mondialement connu pour les jolies filles, il est la face cachée des nuits chaudes des étés. On peut tomber sur des Brésiliennes, Espagnoles, Scandinaves, Françaises, Européennes, Magrébines, etc. pour être précis dans mes propos, sexe à gogo garanti, pour les timides. Qui dit mieux.

    Il m’est arrivé de m’installer dans un coin, du CAP 3000, ma tête un peu lourde sous l’effet du Whisky mélangé au Coca avec 2 glaçons plongés dans mon verre. Je flottais comme dans un nuage de rêve en admirant ses jolies filles, à moitié dénudées sous leur déhanché, qui m’envoyaient dans les chimères sans issue, une invitation me tend la main pour m’inviter à danser et ça se terminait sous la belle étoile, mais ça ! C’est l’éthique du CAP 3000 de Benidorm et personne n’y échappe. Viva la vida.

    Le 17 juillet 1968, Julio Iglesias est un jeune espagnol inconnu, chante au CAP 3000 au festival de la chanson et gagne ce concours, désormais la carrière du jeune espagnole décolle depuis le CAP 3000. « Le 17 juillet 1968 » est une date célèbre, pour Julio Iglesias et depuis cette date tous les 17 juillet de chaque année, il revenait pour célébrer cette date historique, au CAP 3000.
    Mon bonheur était de le voir devant moi, le 17 juillet 1979, sur la scène du CAP 3000.
    Pour les gens qui ne le savent pas, il existe aussi une discothèque : le CAP 3000 à Languidic, dans le 56, année d’ouverture 1968, le CAP 3000 à Benidorm, année d’ouverture, 1968, qui a copié l’autre, je l’ignore. Le CAP 3000 de Benidorm à une longueur d’avance, sur celui de Languidic, il est unique en son genre et avec sa forme en soucoupe volante, qui dit mieux.
    La ville de Nice en France a fait fort, elle a construit un centre commercial gigantesque : le CAP 3000.


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