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Multiple summer concert series kick off in Spain

Promoters Live Nation and the Music Republic are kicking off new, open-air concert series in Spain this week, as venues including the Wizink Center and Ifema prepare to host live shows over the next few months.

The Music Republic, which promotes festivals Arenal Sound, Viña Rock, Granada Sound, Madrid Salvaje and the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB), announced its Republic Alive concert series this week, with 800-capacity outdoor shows taking place throughout July, August and September in Valencia, Granada, San Fernando, Seville and Toledo.

Artists performing as part of the series, which kicks off tomorrow (17 July), include Andrés Suárez, Miss Caffeina, Diego El Cigala, M Clan, Viva Suecia and Cepeda. Tickets for the shows are available here.

This week has also marked the start of Live Nation’s Crew Nation Presents concert series, which is taking place at the 2,500-capacity La Riviera in Madrid until mid-September.

The first sold-out show of the series took place last night with a performance by Spanish singer-songwriter Guitarricadelafuente. Other acts playing as part of the Crew Nation Present series, which raises money for Live Nation’s Crew Nation relief fund, include El Kanka, Sex Museum, Muchachito and Triángulo de amor bizarro.

Tickets for the Crew Nation Presents shows are available here.

Madrid’s 15,500-capacity Wizink Center, the largest arena in Spain, is also preparing to welcome back artists and fans, with the Proactiv- and Voltereta Tour-promoted Truss Madrid Madriz Summer Fest, which will see performances from over 30 artists from 15 August to 15 September.

Promoters Live Nation and the Music Republic are kicking off new, open-air concert series in Spain this week, as venues including the Wizink Center and Ifema prepare to host live shows over the next few months

The arena will operate at a reduced capacity, with between 1,200 and 2,200 attending each concert, sitting at tables and chairs around a 360° stage.

Spanish techno-rumba group Camela will kick off the concert series, with other performance coming from acts including Funambulista, Despistaos, Izal, Stay Homas, Pablo López, Ara Malikian, Sara Baras and Sofía Ellar.

Tickets will become available here over the coming days.

Fellow Madrid venue, the Ifema conference and exhibition centre, is also returning to live music after a bout serving as Spain’s largest ‘hospital’. Abre Madrid! (Madrid Opens) began on 7 July and is running until 6 September, with acts performing to up to 1,000, seated fans on two open-air stages in the Ifema grounds, which usually plays host to Live Nation’s Mad Cool festival, DGTL Madrid and Río Babel festival.

Artists performing as part of Abre Madrid! include Xoel Lopez, La Habitación Roja, Carlos Sadness, Diego el Cigala, Mala Rodríguez and Miguel Poveda.

Ifema has been recognised as a safe space by the Community of Madrid and the World Travel and Tourism Council, allowing the venue to host events at up to 75% of its full capacity, provided that the configuration of space allows for 1.5 metres to be maintained between individuals.

In addition to the Abre Madrid! Shows, the venue plans on hosting 60 fairs and congresses in the last six months of 2020.

Tickets for the Ifema shows, which also span comedy, theatre, cinema and family entertainment, can be found here.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Venues double as Covid-19 testing centres

Venues around the world are showing their versatility in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as more and more transform into emergency field hospitals and others start serving as drive-through testing centres.

As the UK government looks to ramp up its coronavirus testing capacity, major venues around the country are transforming into testing centres.

The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is among such venues. Tests will be administered to NHS workers via a drive-through system in the car park of the 11,000-capacity arena.

Other sports and event stadia in the UK, including the Cardiff City Stadium in Wales and Edgbaston Stadium in Warwickshire, England, are also serving as similar centres.

The news comes as more venues in the UK double as field hospitals. The flagship Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre in London opened its doors on 3 April, with the ability to hold up to 4,000 patients.

Similar hospitals are planned at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (2,000 beds), Manchester Central (1,000 beds), Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (1,000 beds) and the Harrogate Convention Centre (500 beds).

In Spain, Madrid’s Ifema – a 2.9 million m² conference and exhibition centre – transformed into the country’s biggest hospital in just 18 hours. Since opening on 23 March, 939 patients have been admitted to the emergency hospital.

“Music and shows form an integral part of Ifema, and we will return very soon to share these moments”

“We have transformed our space to offer the best of Ifema – our commitment and solidarity,” states the venue’s general manager, Eduardo López-Puertas.

“Music and shows form an integral part of Ifema, and we will return very soon to share these moments,” adds López-Puertas. “When it can, music will return stronger, sweeter and more immense than before. Meanwhile, we continue to do what we have to do.”

The first coronavirus patients arrived at New York’s 170,000m² Javits Convention Center last week, with the space set to hold up to 1,700 beds by the end of this week. The transformation of a similar convention centre in Detroit – the TCF Center (67,200 m²) – began today (7 April).

The Miami-Dade fairgrounds, which host the annual County Youth Fair and Exposition Inc., has been serving as a 250-bed field hospital since the end of last month, with another part of the grounds being used as a food distribution centre.

In Brazil, the Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo is one of a number of football stadiums – including the 78,838-seat Maracanã of reigning champions Flamengo – to be turned into a temporary hospital, with room for 200 beds. Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones are among artists who have performed at the Pacaembu Stadium.

In Germany, event production giant PRG is helping to set up a hospital at the Berlin Expo Center, due to open later this month. PRG is among a number of production companies directing its skills and resources to aid the medical sector during the coronavirus crisis.


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Venues open doors as demand for hospital beds grows

As demand for hospital beds increases across the world, arenas, stadia and conference centres shuttered by the coronavirus are being repurposed for temporary medical use.

Venue operators in countries including Spain (which has over 33,000 cases at press time), the UK (5,683 cases), Croatia (315 cases), the US (33,404 cases) and Brazil (1,629 cases) are handing over their properties to health authorities to be turned into field hospitals for patients with Covid-19.

In Madrid, Ifema, the 2.9 million m² (31.2m sqft) conference and exhibition centre, has become the largest ‘hospital’ in Spain, welcoming its first 126 patients yesterday and another 90 today (23 March).

Working alongside Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit (UME), the government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, installed 300 hospital beds in Ifema the space of 48 hours, with another 1,300 beds expected to be operational by Wednesday.

Though the Ifema hospital is meant for patients with mild symptoms, the venue is also equipped with 96 ICU (intensive care unit) posts, reports El Mundo, with the hospital site covering a total of 35,000m² (376,740sqft).

Authorities credit fangcang with a crucial role in bringing the outbreak in Wuhan under control

Ifema’s transformation is modelled on that of venues in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic originally began late last year.

Wuhan’s 16 fangcang, or shelter hospitals, have been operational since early February, and include hotels, conference centres, arenas, sports stadia and other public venues in the city. According to the Wuhan municipal government, the number of beds in the city, which has a population of more than 11m, reached 30,000 later that month.

Over half of the fangcang beds are now empty, with authorities crediting the shelter hospitals with a crucial role in bringing the outbreak in Wuhan under control.

In Croatia, meanwhile, the 22,000-capacity Arena Zagreb is similarly being transformed into a field hospital with beds for coronavirus patients to free up space in local hospitals, as many of Brazil’s top football teams hand over their stadia while the Série A season is suspended.

Current South American champions Flamengo, who play in red and black, are among the teams giving control of their stadium (in Flamengo’s case, the famous 78,838-seat Maracanã) to health authorities.

“Let us help those who need it most”

“In this grim moment, I wanted to invite our great red and black nation to renew hope and work for better days,” club president Rodolfo Landim explains in an email to Flamengo supporters. “Let us take care of our elderly and help those who need it most.”

New York’s 1.8m sqft (170,000m²) Javits Convention Center, one of the biggest event spaces in the US, is also being turned into a 1,000-bed hospital, with construction due to begin this week – as is the ExCeL Centre in east London, with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) reportedly planning a 4,000-bed field hospital to cope with the peak of the pandemic in the UK.

Elsewhere in the UK, Welsh rugby club Scarlets says its 14,870-seat stadium, Scarlets Park (Parc y Scarlets), will become a 500-bed hospital, with nearby leisure centres also being used by NHS workers.

“Community has always been a huge part of what the Scarlets is about, and in unprecedented times like these communities stick together,” says Scarlets GM Jon Daniels. “The health service and workers are doing an incredible job in challenging circumstances and we are happy to be offering help and support in any way we can.”


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Mad Cool announces 2018 dates and venue, London show

After two years at the Caja Mágica, Spain’s Mad Cool Festival is to move to a new site for its third outing, increasing capacity to 35,000 per day.

Mad Cool 2018 will take place from 12 to 14 July at ‘Mad Cool Space’, a 100,000sqm, 80,000-capacity site at Valdebebas, a new development located adjacent to the Ifema convention centre north of Madrid. In addition to increasing capacity, the Valdebebas site gives the festival space for seven stages, up from its current five.

Expanding is a “natural response to the evolution and growth of the festival” and marks the evolution of Madrid “into a city of reference for large-format live music events”, reads a statement from the event.

Speaking at IFF in September, Mad Cool’s Cindy Castillo described the festival’s former home, in the car park of the Caja Mágica complex in Madrid, as necessitated by local authority hostility to live music. “In Madrid, every venue has been shut down by the right-wing government,” she said, “so we had to look for a weird place to hold the festival.

“This increase in capacity is a natural response to the evolution and growth of the festival”

“There’s a big pavilion and Mad Cool takes place in the parking lot, but you’d never guess it was a parking lot: We have palm trees, green grass, everything you can imagine – but if you go there on Monday morning it’s all grey concrete…”

Mad Cool, promoted by Live Nation Spain, was launched in 2016 amid a boom in new festivals in Madrid, which has traditionally underperformed compared to other cities in Spain. This year’s event, headlined by Green Day, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon, was marred by tragedy after acrobat Pedro Aunión Monroy fell to his death ahead of Green Day’s set.

To mark the move to a new venue, Mad Cool is hosting a free show at London’s Koko (1,410-cap.) on 7 November. The first London Sessions concert will feature performances by Monarchy and Haux, with tickets available free from the Mad Cool website.


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