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Arena Market: Venezuela

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Swedish rockers The Hives became the first Anglo band to play Venezuela in a decade when they stopped at the 6,000-capacity Concha Acústica de Bello Monte amphitheatre in Caracas as part of a Latin American tour. The show came after the US eased sanctions which, combined with an economic and political crisis that has crashed the bolívar and left half the population in poverty, have made the nation a no-go zone for commercial tourers.

While you wouldn’t say Venezuela was out of the woods, its economy has been on the up in the past couple of years, and the government has relaxed restriction on US dollars. That has led in turn to visits by stars such as Argentina’s Fito Páez, Italy’s Eros Ramazzotti, and Mexico’s Alejandro Fernández, though tickets are clearly only accessible to a relatively small elite and entertainment-starved fans prepared to take out a loan.

The 50-year-old, 20,000-capacity Poliedro de Caracas indoor arena, a reminder of Caracas’s status as a frequent touring stop from the 70s to the 10s, when it hosted shows from Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Backstreet Boys, Kylie Minogue, and others, remains the travelling superstar’s indoor venue of choice. More modestly, there’s the Terraza del CCCT (the Centro Ciudad Comercial Tamanaco) a 5,000-seat, outdoor event centre in a shopping mall in Caracas that has been in use since at least the early 2000s.

Next to the Poliedro, at La Rinconada on the edge of Caracas, however, funds have also been found for a gleaming new 40,000-capacity baseball stadium, Estadio Monumental Simón Bolívar, which opened last year and has this year welcomed Luis Miguel, Maluma, and two nights of Karol G. Colombian stars Morat opted for the 24,000-capacity Estadio Olímpico de la UCV for their show in late June.

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