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Following two weeks of protests in Barcelona, concert promoters and venue operators state the importance of continuing with business as usual
By Anna Grace on 29 Oct 2019
Concert promoters in Barcelona, Spain, have noticed a decrease in ticket sales as the result of protests in the city, sparked by the jailing of nine Catalan politicians and activists two weeks ago.
Promoters including Live Nation and Barcelona-based The Project, as well as venues such as el Palau de la Música and el Gran Teatre del Liceu have seen a decline in sales since 14 October, when the Spanish Supreme Court sentenced the organisers of the 2017 Catalan independence referendum to 9 – 13 years in prison.
“Sales have fallen and we still haven’t recovered the rates that we had before,” Tito Ramoneda, co-founder of The Project and vice president of Spanish Promoters’ Association APMusicales told El Periódico. According to Ramoneda, sales have dropped by around 30% over the past two weeks.
El Palau de la Música, which closed its doors due to difficulties in accessing the venue during the height of the protests, has seen a 69% decrease in concert ticket sales, with organised visits to the building dropping by 5%.
“We have to preserve cultural life,” says el Palau director Joan Oller, echoing a sentiment expressed to IQ by Hong Kong-based promoters in August. “We can’t forget that el Palau maintained its musical offering during the civil war. Beyond the crisis we’re going through, it is always important to keep our link with culture.”
“Sales have fallen and we still haven’t recovered the rates that we had before”
Ticket sales for Live Nation-promoted concerts in Barcelona have also been lower than usual, a source told El Periódico. However, unlike in 2017 – when the Catalan leaders were originally arrested – shows are going ahead as planned.
The Project promoted a Herbie Hancock concert as part of Barcelona Jazz Festival over the weekend and Live Nation has upcoming shows from Daniel Caesar, Royal Republic, Bear’s Den and Vampire Weekend.
Concert and festival promoter Cruilla has noted a “good rate of sales”, selling out shows by a selection of Catalan and Spanish acts including Iseo and Dodosound, Manel, León Benavente, Buhos and Els Catarres.
Primavera Sound, one of the first representatives of the music industry to speak out against the sentencing, states that “more passes than normal” were sold in the week following the sentencing.
Political upheaval has taken its toll on live music across the world in recent months, with protests in leading to the cancellation of the inaugural edition of Rolling Loud Hong Kong and multiple concerts and festivals in Santiago, Chile.
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