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Living La Vida Local: Latin America market report

IQ visits some of the diverse territories that make up the vibrant, ever-expanding Latin American tour circuit

By Adam Woods on 17 Jun 2024

Latin America’s rise up the ranks has seen it go from backwater to wild west to a number of must-visit territories boasting ever-expanding tour routings that are attracting multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments. And even when economic woes hit hard, as they regularly do, live music continues to prosper. IQ reports.

It’s easy to forget, in times of sold-out stadiums, gleaming new arenas, and heavyweight tours that surge through multiple cities in multiple countries across the entire region, that Latin America wasn’t always like this.

“In days gone by, when I first started working in the region, a tour of Latin America would often be five shows,” says Bruce Moran, Live Nation’s long-serving president, Latin America. “It would be Mexico City, São Paulo and Rio, Santiago, and Buenos Aires, then they’d call it a day and fly back to London or Los Angeles.”

It’s not like that now, as travelling Anglo giants devote weeks and months to thorough explorations of Latin America, while Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Argentina lead the line in propagating their own mainstream stars, from Bad Bunny to Karol G to Peso Pluma to Duki.

Even in a year that is witnessing a relative easing-off in many territories, amid an austerity-driven slump in Argentina and economic caution elsewhere, you don’t need to look back far at all for snapshots of a musical boom time.

Take your pick from the star-studded ‘Glastonbury meets Disneyland’ 2023 debut of The Town in São Paulo, or Mexican-Puerto Rican star Luis Miguel’s 20 sold-out arena shows in Buenos Aires and Santiago last August and September to open his 2023-24 tour – a jamboree that later returned for nearly 50 more stadium and arena shows across the entire landmass.

“Artists are prepared to devote more time to the region now, and we are all the better for it”

Or you might go for Los Fabulosos Cadillacs playing before 300,000 in Mexico City’s Zócalo square last summer for a record-breaking free show; or Madonna, just the other week, playing to a million on Rio’s Copacabana Beach.

In other words, Latin America is a big, diverse place, and from Mexico City down to Buenos Aires, from Puerto Rico to São Paulo, it has gone madder than ever for music in the past few years.

Over the past half-decade or so, a huge region with just a handful of purpose-built arenas has acquired an entire network of them, from the phenomenally busy Movistar Arenas of Buenos Aires, Bogotá, and Santiago to the Antel Arena in Montevideo, Uruguay; Arena 1 in Lima, Peru, and Coliseo Voltaire Paladines Polo in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

There are more coming, too, including a new 20,000-cap arena in São Paulo, an arena in the Colombian second city of Medellín and, it is rumoured, new halls in Guatemala and Lima. A happy combination of audience demand and an ever-intensifying supply of arena-fillers from Latin and Anglo talent pools have made the case.

“We have expanded the map,” says Moran. “Artists are prepared to devote more time to the region now, and we are all the better for it. And with the increased show volume, there’s been an improvement in the quality of production we are able to source locally throughout the region. Artists are not concerned that you are not going to be able to secure the right stage system for them in these countries, because we do.”

As the regional opportunity has become ever-more evident, promoters have bulked up to meet it. Live Nation has become the region’s leading operator, having acquired Mexican market-leader OCESA in 2021, Argentina’s DF Entertainment in 2018, Chile’s DG Medios in 2019 and, through OCESA, Colombia’s Páramo Presenta in 2023, while building its own market-leading business in Brazil under Alexandre Faria.

“Looking at the region as a whole, this year, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica have performed incredibly well for us”

“We have a great group of very smart promoters,” says Moran. “It’s been fun.”

And increasingly, other giants are rolling in. In March, AEG Presents made its biggest Latin move to date, acquiring an undisclosed stake in the powerful Latin entertainment company Cárdenas Marketing Network (CMN). Chicago-based CMN, which is the power behind the ongoing Luis Miguel tour, has ascended to the upper ranks of global promoters in recent years, promoting tours by Marc Anthony, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, and others.

Likewise, Move Concerts, the region’s biggest independent, based in Miami with offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Puerto Rico, goes from strength to strength, with shows and tours for artists including Bad Bunny, Louis Tomlinson, Interpol, Keane, and Iron Maiden.

Surveying the market, Move Concerts CEO Phil Rodriguez sees underlying sturdiness, accompanied by certain economic challenges. Brazil has cooled a little, he notes, while Argentina lives in its own bubble of new-regime chaos, but there are still some distinct stars.

“Looking at the region as a whole, this year, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica have performed incredibly well for us,” says Rodriguez. “El Salvador has done an incredible turnaround in terms of its economy and public safety. Chile has performed consistently well, although the exchange rate has gone up for the first time in years. Colombia and Peru are definitely going through a bit of a downturn, particularly with the mid- and lower-level shows.”

Since 2019, Move has operated a joint venture with another ambitious independent, US entertainment and sports company Loud And Live, whose CEO Nelson Albareda was last year named Billboard Latin Power Player Executive of the Year.

“I think the important thing about Latin is that it’s now gone global”

The international success of Latin music, Albareda notes, now requires an approach that straddles not only territories but continents, which favours heavily networked promoters.

“I think the important thing about Latin is that it’s now gone global,” he says. “You look at the promoter world, you’ve got the AEGs and the Live Nations continuing to grow globally, and we as independent promoters need to continue to grow as well. So that means that I can’t just look at one market, because I’ve got to compete against global offers. As independents, we’ve got to come together to be competitive against the Live Nations and the AEGs.”

So, all the ambition is there, but in the short term, there are one or two waves to ride out, including an economic slow-down across much of the region, which has, hopefully temporarily, dampened a little of the post-Covid live boom.

“I think all the promoters had a very busy post-pandemic ride with lots of sold-out tours,” says veteran pan-Latin American promoter Jose Muniz of Mercury Concerts. “But although the market is still solid, there should be some concern due to the high inflation and less disposable income. And we are still battling the craziness of suppliers, who are raising prices on a monthly basis.”

The years since Covid have represented something of a high-water mark for the Brazilian live business, but you won’t find many promoters who haven’t noticed a certain softness to the market in 2024.

“Brazil is doing well as a whole, but the impact of inflation has trimmed a bit of the excitement of a year ago,” says Rodriguez. “That said, it is a monster market due to its size, which makes it more resilient than the other smaller markets.”

“I feel that people are paying more attention to their pockets, and there isn’t enough money for the quantity of shows that are coming down”

Luiz Oscar Niemeyer, CEO and president of Bonus Track Entretenimento, concurs. “The market slowed down a bit this year,” he says. “On the one hand, there are not as many artists on tour as we had last year, and on the other, the public is not as eager to attend everything as last year. But anyway, we are back to the same place we were before Covid-19. The good side is to see several Brazilian artists playing stadiums, showing the development of local production and the high interest in Brazilian music.”

In a year of elections, Brazil, like Argentina, is negotiating the bumpy landing stage, as returning president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, widely known as Lula, attempts to push through a range of reforms and consumers keep a close eye on their spending.

“The first trimester of this year has been a bit calmer [than 2023],” says former Move Concerts promoter André Matalon, now of Music On Events, launched in 2021 with fellow ex-Move man William Crunfli, whose recent shows have included Luis Miguel at Allianz Parque and the South American tour of Roberto Carlos.

“There’s an economic crisis, things are settling down with the new president, and I feel that people are paying more attention to their pockets, and there isn’t enough money for the quantity of shows that are coming down and the quantity of festivals we have as well,” he says.

So, this is a little slump, but Brazil has a momentum that isn’t easily halted, and critical investment in the live market, along with positive economic projections, already point to better things.

The economic engine and foremost live city of Brazil is São Paulo, a true giant, with 12m inhabitants in the city proper, around 23m inhabitants in its urban area, and 33m in its extended metropolitan area.

“São Paulo is still the biggest market. Rio is still big, but Curitiba has grown a lot”

In spite of its status as the biggest live music city in South America, São Paulo has somehow come all this way without a modern arena. But Live Nation, Oak View Group, and GL Events are in the process of constructing a 20,000-cap, state-of- the-art building in São Paulo’s Anhembi District, where the carnival parade takes place. The arena is widely seen as perhaps the biggest missing piece of a map of modern arenas that spans the continent.

Stadium shows also do good business in Brazil, and late last year, Live Nation agreed an exclusive five-year deal with São Paulo FC to run concerts at the Brazilian football club’s Morumbi Stadium, which has previously hosted acts such as Madonna, U2, Beyoncé, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and Lady Gaga.

One of São Paulo’s two other major football stadiums, Allianz Parque (also known as Arena Palmeiras), has in recent months welcomed the Jonas Brothers, Twice, Titãs, 30e/Basic Track shows for Paul McCartney and Roger Waters, and three dates of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, promoted in Brazil by T4F.

Always a vast and diversified music market, Brazil has numerous centres, though the touring hierarchy has been fairly fixed. But these days, where international tours are concerned, other cities are jostling for position behind São Paulo.
“São Paulo is still the biggest market,” says Matalon. “Rio is still big, but Curitiba has grown a lot; Curitiba used to be the fourth market of Brazil, Pôrto Alegre was the third, but I think that in some cases Curitiba tends to be the second market in Brazil nowadays.”

Bruce Moran, who brought Coldplay through Curitiba’s Estádio Couto Pereira for two nights in March last year – in-between six at São Paulo’s Estádio do Morumbi and three at Rio’s Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos – isn’t taking sides, but he agrees that Curitiba, 400km south-west of São Paulo and one of Brazil’s safest cities, is a fruitful spot. “It’s been a solid market, it really has,” he says.

Since establishing its own operation in Brazil in 2017, following the expiry of its long-term relationship with South American titan T4F, Live Nation has become the major market force, staging Lollapalooza Brazil in March with Blink-182, SZA, Paramore, and Sam Smith on the bill and selling 420,000 tickets for the inaugural edition of Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina’s the Town Music and Art Festival in São Paulo.

“It is still difficult to do a precise budget as the production cost increase after Covid-19 still presents surprises in certain areas”

Other Live Nation shows coming and going in recent months include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Twice, Metallica, the Jonas Brothers, Tom Jones, and a homegrown vintage double bill of Caetano Veloso and his sister Maria Bethânia. “Brazilian music legends, 15 shows, primarily in stadiums, and they have all sold out,” says Moran.

Former T4F executive Niemeyer has promoted some of the biggest concerts in Brazilian history, including the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, and added to his tally in May with a show by Madonna on Copacabana Beach – the biggest show of her career.

“It was a free show to the public, and we had more than 1.6 million people on the beach,” says Niemeyer.

Bonus Track is behind a plan to revive the name of Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Canecão arena, with the construction of a brand-new 6,000-capacity arena on the Praia Vermelha Campus, which is owned by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The new arena is projected to open in 2025 and will host around 120 concerts per year.

Niemeyer is also responsible, with big-hitting upstart 30e, for the two-centre MITA (Music is The Answer) festival, held in Rio and São Paulo, which in recent years has taken its place alongside Rock in Rio, The Town, Lollapalooza, and Primavera Sound as one of Brazil’s most prominent festivals, but which announced a pause in 2024.

“Promoters are still battling with supplier prices,” says Niemeyer of the market in general. “It is still difficult to do a precise budget as the production cost increase after Covid-19 still presents surprises in certain areas.”

“We are seeing the festivals, even the big ones, struggling to find headliners”

On the festival front, Brazilian festivals, like those of most countries, are feeling the effects of the trend for headline stadium shows.

“The Brazilian festival business, like everywhere else in the world, has been impacted by higher costs, competition for talent, and more festivals in the market,” says Rodriguez.

Muniz agrees. “We are seeing the festivals, even the big ones, struggling to find headliners,” he says. “There are just not enough artists available and a lot of them are deciding to hit the road with their own stadium tours instead.”

A significant new entrant to the Brazilian scene is sometime Bonus Track partner 30e, which consciously positions itself as “the new generation of live entertainment.” In addition to several festival brands, including MITA, Ultra Brasil, and Knotfest Brasil – 30e has recently been responsible for the Encontro Tour of reunited Brazilian rock legends Titãs, and younger rockers NX Zero’s Tour Cedo ou Tarde.

Mexico City, too, loves a big show. Last year, the 65,000-cap Foro Sol, which is operated by Live Nation-backed OCESA, ranked number-one for ticket sales on Pollstar’s year-end worldwide stadium tickets chart and number two in stadium grosses, generating over $170m.

Among the highlights, were four dates for Taylor Swift and three nights for Depeche Mode, as well as concerts by Paul McCartney, Muse, Blackpink, Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd, Arctic Monkeys, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rauw Alejandro, Imagine Dragons, Mötley Crüe & Def Leppard, and Peso Pluma, not to mention local and regional stars including Grupo Frontera, Rels B, Feid, Molotov, and Siddhartha.

“It turned out that 2023 was bigger than 2022, and 2024 is going to be as big as 2023. And the expectations for 2025 are huge”

2023’s Foro Sol bonanza was the extravagant crowning glory of a Mexican live scene that hasn’t paused for breath since the end of Covid.

“After the pandemic, we all thought that 2022 was going to be the huge year but that year would be an exception,” says Memo Parra, OCESA’s director of international events. “But in the end, it turned out that 2023 was bigger than 2022, and 2024 is going to be as big as 2023. And the expectations for 2025 are huge.”

Festivals are the other major strand of OCESA’s business. “The first semester of 2024, we already had EDC, which had its best year ever. We’ve had Pa’l Norte [in Monterrey], which was completely sold out; Viva Latino was completely sold out. We just announced one that is called Tecate Emblema, which is happening in May [with Enrique Iglesias and Robbie Williams], and so far with 30% better ticket sales than last year.

And we’re just waiting to announce Corona Capital, which is the biggest festival in Mexico. And we have another huge reggaeton themed festival that is called Flow, which will also get announced pretty soon.”

So, what is Mexico’s secret, besides a vast capital city, a clutch of sturdy venues, a historically healthy peso-dollar exchange rate, and a decent economy?

“I think it’s a mixture of things,” says Parra, “but a big part of it was that people learned from Covid that they want to go out and they want to live their lives in the moment, they don’t want to wait for anything.”

“It looks like the stadium shows are coming back, because a lot of the acts that I’m going to get in 2025 are the ones that were touring North American in 2024”

This year, Foro Sol is closed for a refurb from February to September, and the flow of international stadium-fillers has briefly slowed. Nonetheless, says Parra, there is plenty of other business around to make up the shortfall.

“It’s looking good,” he says. “We have more arena shows than in 2023. We’re lacking the big stadiums because everybody hit Mexico in 2023, but overall, it looks good. And 2025 looks real, real good. It looks like the stadium shows are coming back, because a lot of the acts that I’m going to get in 2025 are the ones that were touring North American in 2024. So I will be on the tail part of the cycle.”

Kicking things off a few months early, Metallica will relaunch Foro Sol when they bring their M72 World Tour to the venue on 20 and 22 September, playing completely different setlists on each night.

Though OCESA has a way of dominating the conversation where Mexico’s live business is concerned, the country’s other giant is the Monterrey-based Avalanz Group’s Zignia Live, which promotes tours, controls venues, and sells around 14m tickets a year through its Superboletos operation.

Zignia Live’s venue portfolio includes Arena Ciudad de México (known as CDMX – cap. 22,300) and Arena Monterrey (17,599) – the country’s two busiest arenas. After substantial pandemic delays, Zignia will also open a new 20,000-capacity arena in Guadalajara in September, which will, after Arena CDMX, be Mexico’s second largest.

Touted as the city’s first modern arena, Arena Guadalajara will host sports, live music, and cultural and social events. After pandemic-related delays, the arena is scheduled to open in September, providing a shot in the arm to a major market that nonetheless lags well behind that of the capital.

“Mexico City is a huge, huge, huge market, so Guadalajara, Monterrey, even though they’re big cities, become secondary markets”

“Mexico City is a huge, huge, huge market, so Guadalajara, Monterrey, even though they’re big cities, become secondary markets,” says Parra. “As it is, we continue with a trend that has been happening for the last 20 years, which is that Mexico City sells four or five tickets for one ticket in Guadalajara or Monterrey. So that gap hasn’t closed. Hopefully, it closes pretty soon.”

Of the smaller indies, ECO Entretenimiento represents a newer wave of Mexican promoters. Formed in 2019 from indies Sicario, Tape, and Marketen, it is part of the wider Grupo ECO, which encompasses bars, venues, an architecture practice, and a PR agency.

AXE Ceremonia, Grupo ECO’s most renowned event, these days takes place at Parque Bicentenario in Mexico City. In March, it showcased Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, FKA Twigs, Sampha, and Romy at the top of an alternative electronic bill, with backing from the ubiquitous OCESA.

“One of our ways of thinking is if there is a new promoter that is interesting and has some valid projects and a way of thinking, business-wise, that is the same as ours, we always try to partner,” says Parra. “So we partnered with the Pa’l Norte festival, we partner with Ceremonia Festival, we will partner with some independent promoters as well. So, the more the merrier.”

Economists have puzzled for years over how a country as blessed as Argentina can find itself eternally trapped in such dire economic circumstances. They might equally wonder how it is that a country with such fundamental liquidity problems maintains its status as one of the key live music destinations of South America, but it certainly does.

Part of the mystery is explained by the fact that, in a country cursed with rampant inflation – it ended 2023 at 211.4%, the highest since the early 1990s, though the rate has slowed since – you’re better off spending than saving. That is why acts from Coldplay (ten nights in October/November 2022) to Taylor Swift (three nights last November) continually test the capacity of Buenos Aires’ River Plate Stadium.

“Argentina is a powerhouse for talent and Spain is the same”

In December last year, Duki, the leader of Argentina’s exploding rap and trap movement, became the first urban artist ever to sell out the stadium, and did so on consecutive nights, shifting more than 140,000 tickets in total.

Among the country’s leading promoters is Live Nation’s DF Entertainment, which piloted the Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Duki shows, as well as the local edition of Lollapalooza and numerous other concerts.

Continuing as it means to go on, last year DF inked an exclusive multi-year agreement to promote concerts at River Plate.
“River is known as the biggest and most emblematic stadium in Latin America and is a must-play for the biggest artists in the world,” said DF founder Diego Finkelstein, whose forthcoming shows include Niall Horan, La K’Onga and Tan Biónica at Buenos Aires’ Movistar Arena.

Also in the mix are PopArt Music, co-promoter with Move Concerts of this years’ Primavera Sound Buenos Aires, and the busy Fenix Entertainment Group, which operates in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, promoting shows for Ana Gabriel, Toto, and Morat.

Among Argentina’s nimble independents is the newly Miami-based EB Producciones, which operates with a global perspective, having assumed responsibility for the Latin American career of fast-rising Spanish actress and singer Ana Mena. The aim, says EB Producciones founder Eduardo Basagaña, is to bridge the gap between the Latin and Spanish markets.

“Argentina is a powerhouse for talent and Spain is the same,” says Basagaña. “We are trying to build a reputation as a company that works very well with Spanish artists in our region. Miami is the hub for Latin music, so I am well positioned to get Spanish artists into the Latin market. We are not the size of Live Nation or AEG, so the only choice we have is to be smart, to be wise, to be boutique and to do things well.”

“Inflation is still going hard. And, of course, people are still trying to spend their money as quickly as they get it”

While big spectacles continue to grip the public imagination, there is no doubt that Argentina would benefit enormously from greater stability, and Phil Rodriguez hopes it is on its way.

“Argentina is currently going through probably one of the toughest economic storms I can remember in over four decades,” he says. “That said, the cure the country needed desperately was going to be painful – no ifs or buts. But I am optimistic. If president Milei can achieve his goals of taming inflation, stabilising the currency, and creating a much more business-friendly country, Argentina is going to enjoy an incredible period of growth and prosperity that it hasn’t had since the early 1950s.”

There is evidence, in the meantime, that Milei’s cuts are hurting the capital of Buenos Aires the most.

“Their situation is a little different, because I think they had more subsidies than the rest of the country,” says Ignacio Taier, COO of Grupo Q, owner of the Quality Espacio arena in second city Cordoba and co-promoter of recent shows at the city’s 26,000-capacity Estadio Instituto for Luis Miguel and Argentine band Tan Biónica.

“We are selling the same amount of tickets that we sold last year, which is a good thing. Of course, costs have gone up and the prices of the tickets haven’t, because we don’t want to impose really expensive tickets on people that won’t allow them to attend shows. But, of course, inflation is still going hard. And, of course, people are still trying to spend their money as quickly as they get it in order to [get] the best profit out of it.”

The Andean Region
Some of South America’s strongest live markets are tied together by the 5,530-mile-long mountain range of the Andes, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Peru, while busy cities including Quito, Bogotá, and Medellín sit on its plateaus.

“Domestic acts and Latin acts, urban acts, are having a real success, but also shows from the US, shows from the UK”

Before the market expanded in all directions, Chile was the dependable third leg of the classic South American tour itinerary, alongside Brazil and Argentina, and still, it remains a very firm favourite due to its stable spending power. Santiago’s Movistar Arena was the top-grossing South American venue of last year, according to Pollstar, while available dates at the National Stadium are increasingly hard to find.

“We have good luck because we live in a more stable country,” says Jorge Merino, booking manager and project director at prominent local promoter Lotus Producciones. “You know, we are not Argentina, we are not Peru, even Brazil. Our economy is much more consistent, and our inflation is about 3% normally, not 100% or something like that, like in Argentina.”

That said, slow economic growth, higher-than-usual inflation, and currency volatility against the dollar have cast a little cloud over Chile in 2024, though Merino suggests the market is hardly in the doldrums.

“I think that it’s harder, but I must say that we are not out of opportunities,” he says. “The Movistar Arena, which is the only real venue here in Santiago that is not a stadium or a small theatre, is busy all year round. Domestic acts and Latin acts, urban acts, are having a real success, but also shows from the US, shows from the UK – actually, we went on general on-sale just now with a Toto show that sold out in minutes.”

Somewhat more troubling are the prospects of festivals, Merino avers.

“Like everywhere in the world, festivals are a little bit weak. Because although we are still selling, we are not reaching that level that we are looking for. And we have big acts – this year, we had Lollapalooza, for example, and we had Blink-182, we had SZA, we had Sam Smith, Feid, and even that wasn’t enough to get to the level that we are looking for, but still, things are moving.”

“The lack of suitable venues to hold concerts is costing formal concert entrepreneurs a fortune due to the number of cancelled and postponed concerts”

Live Nation’s local representative is Carlos Geniso’s DG Medios, whose 2024 shows include Louis Tomlinson, Ive, Niall Horan, Keane, and Colombian reggaeton star Feid.

Meanwhile, billing itself as the largest live entertainment company in the Andean region, Bizarro Live Entertainment promotes in Chile, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Ecuador, including the Bogotá, Santiago, and Lima legs of Primavera Sound 2023. For the last five years, Bizarro has been part of BE Live Group, which holds stakes in the Movistar Arena, Santiago and the Movistar Arena, Bogotá.

In Peru, the years before Covid saw a rising profile on the touring circuit, driven by promoters including Alberto Menacho’s Live Nation-affiliated Artes Perú – which has lately brought Blink-182, and Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe to the San Marcos Stadium – and long-established promoter Kandavu Producciones, which brought the Rolling Stones in 2015.

However, in 2024, a lack of available venues is a thorn in the side of promoters. The over-selling of tickets for a Juan Luis Guerra concert at Lima’s invaluable Arena Perú in November 2022, led in turn to a series of cancellations and an announcement that the venue would be taking time to restructure and make improvements. Meanwhile, 50,000-cap local festival Vivo X El Rock (VXR) – known unofficially as “the Peruvian Lollapalooza” – lost its home at the San Marcos Stadium due to noise complaints, extending a period of limbo that began with Covid.

“It is a very atypical year in Peru,” says Alejandro González, CEO of Grupo Kandavu. “The lack of suitable venues to hold concerts is costing formal concert entrepreneurs a fortune due to the number of cancelled and postponed concerts that we have been experiencing for a year. The economy in Peru is suffering, of course, but above all I feel that the concert-going public has been mistreated by the lack of venues. The public in Lima is not buying tickets for concerts as they did before, and the concert market is suffering.”

Kandavu plans to bring VXR back in the final quarter of 2024, according to an exasperated but determined González.

“VXR sells 20,000 tickets without announcing the lineup”

“VXR sells 20,000 tickets without announcing the lineup,” he says. “For this year, we will do something very interesting at the festival, and in 2025, we aim for it to be two days and not just one as it was in its past editions.”

Colombia, at the northern limit of the Andes, has greatly increased in significance in recent years, as the home base of regional and global stars including J Balvin, Maluma, Karol G, and, of course, Shakira.

Live Nation’s Páramo is a key player in the Colombian music scene, renowned for its flagship event, Estéreo Picnic, a four-day music festival held in Bogotá that has quickly become one of the most prominent events in South America and is Colombia’s largest music festival, drawing crowds of more than 100,000. Also in their festival portfolio are Baum Festival and Knotfest, both similarly held in Bogotá.

In March, meanwhile, Colombian promoters Breakfast Club and TBL Live joined forces to create new entertainment company Breakfast Live.

The combined firm plans to stage around 60 events in 2024, including reggae event Entono Soundsystem at Bogotá’s Movistar Arena and the inaugural Tomorrowland presents CORE Medellín in May.

Medellin is fast rising, too, and the city is set to gain a 16,000-capacity multipurpose arena, costing more than $50.6m, by 2026. Arena Primavera (Spring Arena) will be built in the city of Medellín. Built by CLK Group, it is projected to host 600,000 spectators across 75 events each year.

“We have artists that are being heard around the world, so that creates awareness for Puerto Rico, which is very positive for us”

The Caribbean
Of all the over-performing talent pools in Latin America, Puerto Rico is perhaps the most prodigious. Puerto Rico has around 3.2m residents, but without this Caribbean island, there’s no Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, Rauw Alejandro, Wisin & Yandel, Luis Fonsi or indeed Ricky Martin, and without its diaspora, there’s no Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, or Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The capital of San Juan is effectively ground zero for reggaeton, which has spread out from the Caribbean across Latin America and the wider world over the past two decades. And the home arena for its biggest stars is the city’s ASM Global-operated Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot – 20 years old this year and in the midst of birthday celebrations.

At the time of writing, the 18,500-capacity Coliseo had just staged three shows for Eladio Carrión, a US-born star of Puerto Rican descent, with 45,000 tickets sold. The venue’s top exec, ASM Global regional general manager Jorge Pérez, says the big-time status of the island’s cultural exports and the arena’s ability to give them a major venue on home turf have been hugely mutually beneficial.

“We have artists that are being heard around the world, so that creates awareness for Puerto Rico, which is very positive for us because not only are we exporting our culture, our music, but it creates traction and awareness for Puerto Rico itself,” he says. “As a world-class venue, we have benefited from that.”

Technically an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico is a destination for significant numbers of US fans, drawn by the promise of Caribbean adventure and, of course, cheaper tickets.

“About 10% of the tickets that we’re selling across the board are coming from the US. Sometimes it might be cheaper to see someone like Bad Bunny here”

“About 10% of the tickets that we’re selling across the board are coming from the US,” says Pérez. “Sometimes it might be cheaper to see someone like Bad Bunny here in San Juan, just because his pricing is more attractive. In the US, front-row tickets are $800, $900 face value; here, those same tickets are $100, $150.

“We estimate that maybe 30,000 or 40,000 people a year are coming to see a show, so that’s creating room tax estimated at maybe $20m. We have worked to create that economic movement from the diaspora and from the US in general, and that’s something that we’re very proud of.”

A second Caribbean centre for major touring shows in recent years has been Santo Domingo, capital of the neighbouring island of Dominican Republic, where stars including Luis Miguel, Karol G, Bad Bunny, and Coldplay have latterly played the Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez, creating obvious routing synergies.

“When management agencies are looking for dates, they’re trying to fit Puerto Rico in with Dominican Republic as well,” says Pérez. “So that tandem is something we’re seeing a lot. Acts that are going down to South America may stop in the Dominican Republic for a few days, San Juan a few days, and then head down. And they’re attractive markets because Dominican Republic sells a lot of tickets as well, so they are stops that makes sense.”


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