Madrid City Council is creating a “festival table” committee as it bids to avoid a repeat of the circumstances that led to the 11th hour cancellation of the Madrid Pura Reggaeton Festival last weekend.
The initiative, which will launch in September, will gather festival promoters to discuss the obstacles facing the sector and work with the authorities to ensure that festivals can be held “in a coordinated and safe manner”.
It follows the controversy over the two-day Madrid Pura Reggaeton, which was due to welcome around 40,000 fans to the Spanish capital last weekend but was pulled 24 hours before show time following a late venue change. Security measures and documentation presented by organisers were deemed to “not meet the necessary requirements”.
“It has been months and months of work, fighting against the clock until the end but, unfortunately, it has not been possible to reach an agreement to carry out this event,” said a statement by promoters.
Just two days before the festival was slated to start at Caja Mágica, it was announced it was being upgraded to the larger Wanda Metropolitano stadium to “gain stage space and improve public transport connectivity”. However, despite the minimum application period being one month, organisers reportedly only applied for a new permit last Monday (July 11) – leaving them out of time.
“We trusted that the Community was going to be flexible in terms of deadlines”
“We didn’t announce the change until Wednesday the 13th because we didn’t want to be arrogant and get ahead of the permits,” festival spokesperson Ibai Cereijo tells El Pais. “When on the 13th only fringes were missing, we decided to announce it, because we were 48 hours from the start.
“Yes, I acknowledge that we have delivered the documentation on security and emergency plans after the deadline. That is undeniable if the beginning of a new file is considered and all the paperwork done for La Caja Mágica is not valued. We trusted that the Community was going to be flexible in terms of deadlines, since we had been working with them since La Caja Mágica. But it has not been that way.”
Ticket sales picked up significantly following the announcement that festival headliner Daddy Yankee was retiring from music, prompting the decision to change of venue. Gente De Zona, Nengo Flow, Omar Montes, Bad, Eladio, Juan and Natti were among other artists scheduled to appear at the event.
“We realised that perhaps the parking area[outdoors] of La Caja Mágica was not prepared to welcome so many people,” adds Cereijo. “It was not a problem of capacity, which is 39,000. There are other variables that are taken into account to hinder the celebration of such a massive event. There were other drawbacks, such as a narrow path to the concert area of about 600 meters that was prone to blockages. Evacuation by road was also complicated, in addition to the lack of public transport.
“Until June we could not see all this on the ground. The administration put in a lot of objections and someone suggested the Wanda. So we planned it there, which is more used to organising massive events and brings in 65,000 people every two Sundays.”
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