Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is “open for business” for live music bookings as its extensive renovation nears completion.
Former Live Nation Spain partnerships director Rocio Vallejo-Nágera came on board last month as the European football giants’ head of large events and concerts. She will oversee the opening of the newly refurbished venue, which has been operating at reduced capacity, before the end of the year.
Speaking to IQ, Vallejo-Nágera says the four-year project will be finished by December, with an official reopening event planned for the end of 2023. The stadium will have both a retractable roof and pitch – enabling it to stage live music shows all-year-round – while its capacity for concerts will be around 65,000.
“We are treating it like a new stadium,” she says. “Up until now, there have been some concerts here – Bruce Springsteen in 2016 and the Rolling Stones in 2014 – but it hasn’t really been a big thing to do at the Bernabeu. It wasn’t built for football, not music, because the production tunnels were too narrow, etc. So we’ve changed that, and that’s why I’m here. We’re open for business”
Vallejo-Nágera, who will be a panellist for ILMC’s The View from the Top panel at 2pm on Thursday 2 March, worked on projects such as Ballantine’s True Music Festival and Joker Festival, Dcode Festival, Download Madrid and Elrow Town during her time at Live Nation.
“In the past 10 years, Madrid has become one of the main cities for global tours”
“Because I come from the music industry, all the Spanish promoters already know me,” she says. “We’re already working on dates for 2024, so it’s super-exciting.
“The stadium is going to be unique and very special. Since it’s a retractable pitch, we can do concerts every other week when we don’t have in-house [football] matches. We can have a match on a Sunday and then have a concert just a few days later. Of course we have to respect the football calendar, but apart from that there is no limit. Madrid is in a great place at the moment.”
The Spanish capital is also home to the Metropolitano Stadium, home to Real’s local rivals Atletico Madrid, and Vallejo-Nágera says the city boasts a thriving live music scene.
“I think in the past 10 years, Madrid has become one of the main cities for global tours,” she says. “Some years ago, maybe Barcelona was a little bit more blooming, but I think Madrid is taking its place in the international touring agenda as a main place to visit.
“Maybe before, Spain was a country you could leave out of a global tour, but you wouldn’t do that now, I think we have become one of the main markets for global tours. And it’s not just American or British artists anymore – Latin music is growing so much and that works very well in Spain, and local acts are now filling arenas.”
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