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Concerts axed as unrest builds in Chilean capital

Following the outbreak of anti-government protests, the Chilean government has ordered the cancellation of all “large-scale events”, declaring a state of emergency and imposing a curfew in Santiago and other parts of the country.

The protests began in the capital city of Santiago on Friday (18 October), following a public transport fare hike. Demonstrations later evolved into more general protests over living costs and inequality, spreading to other areas of Chile.

Two performances from celebrity violinist André Rieu at the 17,000-capacity Movistar Arena in Santiago were put on hold following the measures.

“We are deeply sorry for the cancellations and the inconvenience this will cause to those who had bought tickets,” stated local promoter Bizarro Live Entertainment, “but we find ourselves in a situation that is out of our hands.”

Canadian singer Bryan Adams was also due to play at the arena, following shows in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The singer cited “civil unrest” as the reason for the cancellation of today’s (22 October) show.

The one-day Vívela Festival, which was set to take place in Santiago’s Quinta Normal park, was also called off. Colombian band Bomba Estereo, UK electronic group Morcheeba, Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle and Venezuelan duo Mau y Ricky were among acts scheduled to play the festival.

“We are deeply sorry for the cancellations, but we find ourselves in a situation that is out of our hands”

“We are suspending the festival as we received an official statement from the government informing organisers that all large-scale events in the metropolitan area must be cancelled, due to the difficult situation that is going on,” announced festival promoter Street Machine.

Tickets for a show by Argentinian rock band Soda Stereo, due to go on sale today for Banco de Chile customers and on Thursday for the general public, will not be available until further notice, announced Chilean promoter Lotus Producciones.

According to IQ’s International Ticketing Yearbook 2019 (ITY), Chile’s live market has “thrived” in recent years, while South America’s other major touring destinations – Brazil and Argentina – have “faltered”.

“We have our own challenges, but we see the Chilean market as much more stable than the other markets in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Paulo Atienza, CEO of Chile’s leading ticketing company PuntoTicket, told ITY.

Major festivals in the country include Lotus Producciones-promoted Santiago Gets Louder and Lollapalooza Chile. Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina recently announced that a Chilean edition of the Brazilian mega festival would take place in 2021.


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Rock in Rio founder plans Chilean fest

A Chilean edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio is in the works for 2021, confirms festival founder Roberto Medina.

Rock City-promoted Rock in Rio, founded by Medina in 1985, is the second highest-grossing festival in the world and the largest in South America. Rock City, in which Live Nation recently upped its shareholding to a majority stake, also operates a sister event in Lisbon, and formerly in Las Vegas and Madrid.

The Santiago de Chile edition marks the first expansion of the Rock in Rio festival brand within the Latin American region. Medina estimates investment needed for the new festival to be “nearly $150 million”.

The four-day event is billed for October 2021, just after the flagship Rio de Janeiro festival, with “practically the same line-up”. Drake, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Pink and Muse are among those playing Rock in Rio this year.

“Chile is a calm country with a stable economy, it seems like a logical step,” Medina told Chilean newspaper La Tercera. “800,000 people live in Lisbon, whereas Santiago has five million inhabitants in a country with a much bigger economy than Portugal.”

“Chile is a calm country with a stable economy, it seems like a logical step”

Medina also cites “great political and economic stability” in neighbouring Argentina as a major deterrent for a potential Argentinian branch.

“[Chile’s] proximity to Brazil is a positive,” states Medina, saying “almost 200,000 people” miss out on tickets for the Rio edition each year. Fans now have the option to attend the sister event a four-hour plane ride away. According to Medina, acts have traditionally played solo concerts in Santiago after their Rock in Rio appearance.

Medina also cites the positive economic impact the festival would bring to Santiago, estimated to be US$500 million over the four days.

Lollapalooza Chile, which has taken place in Santiago since 2011, is not viewed as competition for the Rock City festival. “The scale and approach [of the two events] are different,” explains Medina.

Rock in Rio takes place from 27 to 29 September and 3 to 6 October in Barra Olympic Park. Tickets will be available soon via Festicket.

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