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Publication

Arena Market: Spain

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Just before the pandemic, the Spanish live business was reporting record-breaking turnovers and five years of consecutive growth. And while all that ceased because of Covid-19, business is on the up once more.

WiZink Center in Madrid is one of the leading venues in the country. General manager Manuel Saucedo says that now pandemic restrictions have been lifted, the venue is experiencing one of the busiest periods in its existence. “We foresee an extraordinary 2022, and 2023 is also going to be full of events.

“Something we’ve noticed is promoters and artists are increasingly assessing the quality of venues, even for stadiumlevel acts. There have been some negative experiences [at other venues], so fans are becoming more demanding – they want quality, comfort, and closer proximity to the artist.”

“We foresee an extraordinary 2022, and 2023 is also going to be full of events.”

The 17,453-capacity arena can now offer promoters a permanent rider of lighting, sound, and on-stage screens in order to make shows cheaper and simpler to produce. “This brave move is a huge step forward and is highly valued by the organisers. Obviously, the biggest tours aren’t using it, but around 60% of the concerts coming here have already taken up this option.”

The venue’s premium and VIP areas have been upgraded, as Saucedo points to an increase in the number of companies that want to have their own VIP box. As a result, rental costs for promoters remain unchanged since 2014, he says. WiZink Center can be configured for between 3,000 and 17,453.

At the time of writing, it was working on creating a small-capacity area, separated from the main floor, for around 900 people. “The aim is to have an almost daily programme of amateur bands and artists,” says Saucedo. “We want to open Madrid´s WiZink Center to bands that are starting in music so that they can fill up our grandstands in the future.”

“We want to open Madrid´s WiZink Center to bands that are starting in music so that they can fill up our grandstands in the future.”

Artists performing there include Dua Lipa, Alicia Keys, KISS, Harry Styles, and Rosalía. Also in Madrid, Palacio Vistalegre has a fully stocked calendar. Managing director Daniela Bosé says H2 2022 has a strong line-up of rock and metal acts, such as Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Evanescence, Alter Bridge, and Airbourne.

E-sports remain popular, and K-Pop is continuing to grow in popularity. Palacio Vistalegre “took advantage” of the lockdowns to improve its facilities. “We have new areas such as black box dressing rooms and improvements to the main dressing rooms, upgrades to boxes, new kitchen, new flooring in the main venue, and so on. We have increased our premium brand F&B offer and are using the Gopick app and QR access so people can order from their seats.”

Acts coming to the venue, which can hold between 2,700 and 14,000 people, include Conan Gray, ATEEZ, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Ghost. Carme Lanuza, director of Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, says the resilience with which her team faced the health crisis demonstrated its commitment to music.

“The concert programme has a huge, rich offering and will make up for lost time.”

“We are convinced that our offer speaks for itself and that we will surpass the pre-pandemic numbers. “Despite all the difficulties, we are very excited about the revival we are experiencing. The concert programme has a huge, rich offering and will make up for lost time.

This allows us to be focused on the internationalisation of our music, sustainability, social inclusion, equality, accessibility, and the improvement of the experience, plus technological innovation and improvement of the venues.”

The venue has recently increased capacity to 18,411, but it can also host concerts for 5,000 in its Sant Jordi Club. La Nueva Cubierta (10,000 capacity) in Madrid handles a broad variety of events but is mainly focussed on music. Its offer to promoters is that it has low hire fees as its parent company Grupo Friends is a production hire firm, offering clients the opportunity to rent whatever they need, from staging and sound to lighting and furniture.

Forthcoming shows include Alice Cooper and Hallowants. With a floor capacity of 10,000, Bizkaia Arena in the northern city of Bilbao has a maximum capacity of 18,000. It has all-round access to the premises, a large parking area for production, parking for heavy vehicles, sleepers, ambulances, merchandising, large working spaces, as well as a PA, accessible services, and a nearby underground station. Forthcoming events include Hans Zimmer Live and festival I Love Reggaeton.

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