Luis Fonsi brings live music back to Santiago, Chile
After 26 days of silence at Santiago’s Movistar Arena, live music returned once more with a two-night run by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi.
On 8 and 9 November, the ‘Despacito’ singer played the first concerts at the 17,000-capacity arena since Iron Maiden’s 14 October show.
Anti-government protests have been ongoing in the Chilean capital since 18 October, sparked by a public transport fare hike and evolving into more general protests about inequality and the cost of living. The protests, and consequent government-imposed curfew, resulted in the cancellation of many live entertainment events.
The Fonsi dates marked the end of the singer’s Vida world tour, which has seen him play 16 shows in Europe, ten in North America and six in Latin America.
After 26 days of silence at Santiago’s Movistar Arena, live music returned once more with a two-night run by Luis Fonsi
The concerts also signalled the resumption of programming at the arena, with upcoming dates from Erkyah Badu, Marco Antonio Solís, Shawn Mendes and J Balvin.
Hot Chip, who were supposed to play in Santiago on Saturday, had their performance cancelled last minute. “We don’t have details yet but we were set up and ready to play when we were to told it was not going ahead for safety reasons,” the band posted on Twitter.
The group were scheduled to play at the Ten Years of Fauna event, a replacement for Fauna Primavera festival, which was cancelled earlier this year due to “difficulties in finding an appropriate headliner”.
For an in-depth look at the fast-growing Latin music world, read IQ’s recent feature on the genre here.
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Venezuela border tensions following rival concerts
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuela Aid Live went head to head with the Venezuelan government’s Hands Off Venezuela on Friday, embodying the continuing power struggle between president Nicolás Maduro and self-declared, internationally recognised interim president Juan Guaidó.
The Virgin Group founder announced plans earlier this month to host a charity concert to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Venezuelans and increase international awareness of the crisis in the country. The concert was backed by opposition leader and self-declared interim president, Guaidó. In response, Venezuelan president Maduro organised his own, rival concert, in support of his now widely unrecognised government.
The concerts took place on either end of the Tienditas bridge, which connects Venezuela and Colombia. Venezuela Aid Live was held in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta, whereas the government-backed event took place on the Venezuelan side of the bridge.
More than 30 artists played at Branson’s event, which was attended and supported by the presidents of Chile, Colombia and Paraguay. Venezuelan singer Reymar Perdomo opened the concert with ‘Me Fui’, which has become an “angry hymn” for expatriate Venezuelans.
Fellow Venezuelan expat, Danny Ocean, performed ‘Dembow’ and reggaeton hit ‘Me Rehúso’. Other notable performances came from Mexican Paulina Rubio, Colombian Carlos Vives and Argentinian Diego Torres.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) February 23, 2019
Luis Fonsi performed his famous reggaeton song ‘Despacito’, announcing afterwards: “Please, people of Venezuela, know that you are not alone.”
On the other side of the bridge, around 1,000 people attended Maduro’s concert, including members of the national army. Performances came from Venezuelan artists, including singer César “El Magnate” and rock group Yugular.
Branson’s concert was organised to raise money for humanitarian aid for Venezuelans, as the country continues to suffer severe food and medicine shortages. On the day following the concerts, trucks carrying US humanitarian aid attempted to cross the border into Venezuela from Cúcuta.
The Venezuelan National Guard blocked the entry of the aid vans, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at civilians attempting to cross the border. At least three aid trucks near the Colombian border were burned.