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Tuesday, May 24, 2022
HomeLatest NewsJamiroquai, Muse and RATM with European funds: the Andalusian government sponsors a...

Jamiroquai, Muse and RATM with European funds: the Andalusian government sponsors a festival in Malaga with 4.3 million people.

Tickets for the new Malaga Music Festival went on sale last Friday. Mad Cool’s big Andalucía festival, like the others, aims to be amazing: Muse, Rage Against the Machine and Jamiroquai are its headliners. But unlike the others, this one has a generous government sponsorship of 4.3 million euros (including VAT) provided by a state-owned company dependent on the Ministry of Tourism. 80% are accounted for by European funds. The payment caused discomfort in part of the sector and suspicions of the opposition.

The festival is intended to be “the biggest cultural event in the south,” according to a promotional video that aired the day it was launched, April 7th. This happened five months before its celebration, which is an unusually short period for this kind of event that seeks to gain international recognition. Until this day, almost everything around this event was a mystery. Neither the dates, nor the groups, nor the city chosen were known, despite being asked about it in the Andalusian Parliament.

Now the dates (from 8 to 10 September), prices (125 euros for a subscription + 12 euros for distribution) and the place (Sacaba beach, in Malaga) are known. If the commitment to offer 51 artists is met, almost half is missing, although the full poster was scheduled to be announced in April. The big festival of Andalusia will be accompanied by a meeting of industry professionals and concerts in the capitals of other provinces of Andalusia, mainly with the participation of local groups.

But it remains unknown why the Andalusian government chose the newly created festival for a project aimed at bringing Andalusia into the ranks of international festivals, according to those in charge. Also why the public sponsorship of the festival was valued at 3.5 million euros plus VAT. An amount that far exceeds the total amount received from similar events in recent years.

About all this and some other things, this media contacted the Ministry of Tourism, which refers to the technical report. It was published in Transparency, like the “spec”, immediately after the request was received. The documents only indicate that 2,905,000 euros correspond to “direct costs”, and 595,000 – “indirect costs”.

Promoter Mad Cool did not respond to an attempt to collect his score.

80% funded by FEDER funds

On January 20, the state-owned tourism and sports management company in Andalusia, South Africa, which is administered by the Ministry of Tourism, signed a sponsorship deal with Andalucía Big Festival, SL, a company created in August last year by those responsible for Mad Cool. festival held in Madrid. It was awarded a month earlier, on December 27th.

The contract, negotiated and not made public, obliges the promoter to sign a contract with at least two headliners and carry out a series of sponsorships that will strengthen the Andalucía brand’s presence. The most notable include this word in the name of the festival. But that also includes sending out newsletters, spreading the image of Andalusia as a tourist destination (without specifying how), broadcasting an Andalusian commercial on festival screens in 20 passes, or installing a mural. You must book 200 regular tickets, 100 VIP tickets and 50 award tickets for Junta Andalusia.

In return, the company receives 3.5 million euros plus VAT. 80% of this amount is financed from ERDF funds (Comprehensive Operational Program of Andalusia for 2014-2020 “Andalusia moves with Europe”). None of the thematic goals of this operational program seem to fit well with the festival, although ERDF funds could be used to “develop high value-added products related to niche markets” such as cultural tourism, according to this guide. from the European Parliament. At one time, Marin said that it could be financed from European funds, because “it has an international projection of the brand of Andalusian tourism.”

Seven times more than allocated to all other festivals

Most surprising was the economic distribution. The amount gives an idea of ​​what other festivals in Andalusia are getting, if they are getting anything at all. According to the Transparency page, the public company Turismo y Deporte de Andalucía is sponsoring three music festivals in 2022: €350,000 for Cabaret Music Festival, €150,000 for Starlite and €3.5 million for Andalucía Big Fest. In 2021, $165,289.25 went to Cabaret and $124,000 to Starlite. All of them are excluding VAT.

Another comparison: El Periódico de España recently published for the City Council of Madrid the cost of Mad Cool, a festival organized by the same promoters, with some common groups but more numerous: while there will be 52 groups in Malaga, Mad Cool de Madrid (running in July) will be around 120, with Muse, Metallica, Placebo, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies or Florence + the Machine as main courses. This will cost Madrid 1.4 million, which is paid in the form of subsidies. 40% of what is in Andalusia.

Francisco Conejo, a socialist parliamentarian, asked in Parliament: “How to explain that a company created three months before the award receives more than 4 million, when the Andalusian government allocated only 300,000 euros in 2021 to the combined festivals and with significant public outcry? like Starlite in Marbella or the Chiclana festival? Smells really bad, Mr Marin.

“Are you telling me that I’m being evasive?” Marin asked, urging Conejo to take legal action if he suspected it was a hidden subsidy. He also claimed that “all the bands that come to play are exclusive.” This is true for Jamiroquai (he performed in Marbella in 2011 and 2018, and this will now be his only concert in Europe), but not for the rest of the artists.

Open letter from ten festivals

Public advertising of this festival and Marin’s statements did not please parts of the sector. Those in charge of a dozen festivals (Dreambeach, Weekend Beach or Primavera Trompetera, among others) have written an open letter to show their “discomfort and dissatisfaction with the ignorance of our VP of fabrics and the live music industry in our area.” They make Marin look ugly when he glosses over the benefits of the new festival by forgetting the route of the other veterans.

Andalusia hosts dozens of festivals every year, especially in summer. 118 in 2020, according to Statista. “Most of these festivals, in addition, unfortunately, are supported by ridiculous subsidies. And in some cases they don’t even have a subsidy. Especially with sponsorship contracts with government agencies such as your ministry,” the letter regrets.

The province of Malaga is especially busy this year: Oh, look! Malaga (May 20-22), Ojando (July 1-2), Brisa Festival (July 1-4), Weekend Beach (July 6-10), Canela Party (August 24-28), Starlite (all summer) or Cala Mijas Festival (September 1-3), direct competition by date and profile. Almost all of them have this or that public support from local administrations.

For Marin, this date is ideal because of the opportunity to “de-season” tourism and “stretch” July and August by organizing an international festival on the second weekend of September. He said 120,000 people would attend the festival’s three days, a figure that the promoters (Farruco Castroman and Javier Arnais) later reduced to 100,000, with 30% of the international audience “from 43 countries”. The expected economic effect is 25 million euros. “We want it to become a reference for festivals in Europe. For Malaga to enter this circle and be considered a great festival in Southern Europe,” said Javier Arnais, one of those responsible for Mad Cool.

It is often difficult to understand how this type of forecast is made. Castroman said this was based on previous experience. According to the technical report, 43 countries are exactly half of the 86 countries of origin of the Mad Cool Madrid public.

One more question remains to be clarified. In his presentation, Juan Marin thanked cultural adviser Noelia Lozada (both from Ciudadanos) “for the work you have done”. The Malaga City Council logo appears as a co-author on the festival website. However, the Consistory denies any involvement.

Remedios Ramos, an adviser to United We Can, wrote to the tourism, culture and beaches departments with a written request, and all three replied that they did not know anything. Including the Department of Culture, led by Noelia Losada, who attended the public presentation of the event a few days later. “I can’t believe that the Malaga city council doesn’t know anything about a festival with such characteristics and expected influx,” says Ramos.

Regular sources confirm that the city council does not sponsor or subsidize the festival. They also claim that a municipal permit has not been issued because it has not been requested at the moment, and that the provision of the beach depends on the demarcation of the coasts. There will be a mobility and safety plan “if applicable” when promoters formally request permits affecting municipal authority.


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