surinenglish

New local government looks for solution to keep Starlite

The entrance to Starlite.
The entrance to Starlite. / JOSELE-LANZA
  • The aim of the team under new Marbella mayor Ángeles Muñoz is to have the festival declared "of municipal interest" to allow it to stay open later

One of the issues inherited by the new local government in Marbella is to ensure that the Starlite summer concert festival continues to take place in the town. This summer, organisers had threatened to take the 45-night event elsewhere next year after clashes with the former local government run by ex-mayor José Bernal over opening hours.

The town hall announced on Sunday that its aim is to get the event declared a festival "of municipal interest", which "could help" to allow the festival special permission to stay open after two o'clock in the morning.

The proposal now has to be studied by the council officials to see whether the solution would comply with regional legislation.

The Starlite festival has been running in the town since 2012 with performances by top names in different musical genres. This year's lineup included Elton John, Luis Fonsi, Art Garfunkel and Andrea Bocelli.

The local authority was also due to approve a request to be sent to the regional government to ask for the licence to use the Starlite venue, an old quarry in Nagüeles, to be extended for ten years.

Dispute

The opening hours dispute last month wasn't about the concert stage, but the bar and after-show area known as the Starlite Lounge just alongside.

Organisers said that as the event is a festival, the Starlite Lounge should be allowed blanket permission to close anytime up to 6am. Marbella council then said no, that the law says 2am on weekdays, 3am at weekends, with only ad hoc permission to open later until 6am. Failure to give permission every day means the events cannot be planned properly and risks their viability and jobs, said Starlite.

In mid-August Starlite issued a statement in which organisers said they were considering other resorts in Spain to move to and starting legal action for what they call “obstructive and illegal behaviour”. They say jobs were being put at risk.

The mayor said he was bemused by the fuss, explaining the problem is with the after-concert club-lounge that can only open until 2am on weekdays, 3am at weekends and until 6am when the council gives special permission.