Thousands packed into Malaga's showground when Muse took to the main stage. / HUGO CORTÉS

Costa del Sol is a big hit on the international festival stage

Last week's Andalucía Big Festival and the Cala Mijas event, the week before, prove the province is ideal for music-event tourism


The Costa del Sol has claimed its place on the international music festival circuit following the critical and public acclaim after the first edition of Andalucía Big Festival, promoted by Mad Cool. Muse, Jamiroquai, Franz Ferdinand, Suede, C. Tangana and forty other bands attracted some 90,000 people to the city's Cortijo de Torres fairground, some 30% of them foreigners.

"Everything went really smoothly," said Javier Arnáiz, co-director of Mad Cool, as the immense structures that for three days transformed an empty site into a concert enclosure were dismantled. A space that, according to the promoters, was "sold out"' with a final authorised capacity of 30,000 people a day. It has not been easy; he said, "it has been very hard delivering it," but the result has met expectations. Arnáiz said they wanted to put Malaga on the map "as a city for important international events, both for festivals and for concerts", and the first Andalucía Big has shown that it can be done. There is the infrastructure to do it and also the public who want to see it, even when only a week before around 100,000 people went to see Arctic Monkeys and Nick Cave at the Cala Mijas Festival.

"The city is a good size to absorb a festival of this type," added Daniel Rodríguez, head of Grupo Mundo, the local producer of the Andalucía Big Festival. From Thursday to Saturday, the city was filled with people wearing festival wristbands walking the streets and eating in the restaurants. The hotels were full, to the point that some concertgoers had to stay in Marbella because there were no more beds available in Malaga. A taxi driver claimed that he had made 58 runs to the Cortijo de Torres. And up to 3,500 direct jobs were created, helping generate an estimated 25 million euros impact. "The economic impact that was generated is very important, highlighted Javier Arnáiz. And the city, he said, "has helped make it a success".

Festival tourism is a phenomenon on the rise from which the province had benefited very little until now, despite having the ideal conditions for it with good communications, an extensive offer of hotel accommodation, a pleasant climate, beach and culture...

"You cannot afford to miss out on an opportunity like this. It has been well presented and gone well. It will be necessary to make some adjustments, but it must be a festival that is consolidated and goes from strength to strength," said Rodríguez.

For now, Cala Mijas has announced that in 2023 it will return to the Sonora Mijas venue on August 31, September 1 and 2. The Andalucía Big Festival is pending a date depending on discussions with authorities.

is the overall number of attendees during the three days of concerts at the inaugural Andalucía Big Festival

direct jobs were created by the new music festival in Malaga city

per cent of the audience were foreign. Some 39% were from Andalucía and the remainder from other Spanish regions

million euros is the estimated economic impact from the event, both direct and indirect