Friday, 5 January 2024, 15:14
After twelve solid years with each season running longer than the previous one, the Starlite festival has now outgrown its Nagüeles quarry venue. The brand recently dipped its toes in the Madrid music scene with Christmas by Starlite. And now the festival's promoters have announced their most ambitious plan to date: to create a new music complex in Estepona.
Bendeus, the company behind Starlite events, wants to build a supersize cultural venue in the town with a large auditorium (15,000 capacity), a hotel and a multifunctional conference centre, among other facilities.
The proposal has already passed its first hurdle: the committee responsible for economic affairs within the regional government has approved that the project be declared a business investment of strategic interest for Andalucía. This should speed up planning procedures and it is expected that this approval will be considered at the next meeting of the regional cabinet on 9 January.
286 million euros
The planned investment in the music complex and audiovisual project.
The proposed capacity of the concert venue to be built in an artificial quarry to reflect the original Marbella Starlite festival site.
The employment expected to be created by the project which has been named Starlite Music World.
"Starlite Music World is our expansion, our growth as well as our consolidation of the Starlite Occident Festival," said Sandra García-Sanjuán, festival founder and the real heart and soul of the company.
The new development will involve a hefty investment of more than 286 million euros, giving the brand a fixed venue for the first time ever and the possibility of hosting all kinds of events year-round.
Until now, with Nagüeles being a publicly owned venue, all festival facilities have to be set up and dismantled once the three-month season is over. Instead, Starlite Music World will occupy land already owned by the company. But one does not cancel out the other: "Naturally we'll be keeping the Starlite Occident Marbella Festival because it's our flagship, it's where it all began."
As in Marbella, Starlite has opted for a green location for the new complex in Estepona, namely the hilly area of La Panera, next to Selwo adventure park. There, on just over eleven hectares of land, an artificial quarry will be created in tribute to the Nagüeles venue, such a part of Starlite's easily recognisable trademark. The centrepiece for the complex will be the large, open-air auditorium capable of holding 15,000 people, four times the capacity of Marbella (3,500).
It will be one of the largest permanent concert venues in Malaga province. Also it will come with the option for different configurations. Lastly, it will give audiences access to global music stars whose popularity rules out a medium-sized venue.
"Now we will be able to compete at that higher level," said García-Sanjuán. It will not be as intimate and up-close a venue as Starlite Occident Marbella can offer as a good example of a boutique festival but, as the founder put it: "The concept is still to deliver a premium experience, and we'll take great care of the public."
The complex will have its own boulevard, a lake, a central square and an area dedicated to hospitality. García-Sanjuán added: "It will be like a theme park for music where many things can happen."
Starlite Music World plans to build a hotel as well as a multi-purpose conference centre that can adapt to the different needs of companies seeking to organise meetings, trade fairs and conferences. It could even become a magnet for dance schools and music academies. The development will also entail improvements to the surrounding area in terms of transport, security, lighting, water and waste management. All must adhere to the maxim of "sustainability, all construction work must blend with nature, with eco-friendly materials and renewable energies".
But there's more. Starlite Music World will incorporate something that has been seriously lacking on the Costa del Sol for years: a permanent hub for all things audiovisual. This means providing different recording studios and sets, each measuring between 1,500 and 3,000 square metres, with warehousing for AV equipment and in-house service areas. In total, the space reserved for all AV work will occupy six hectares.
García-Sanjuán explained that this is a natural addition to what they already do.
"Within the group we have our own production company. For each festival run we produce 16 episodes for television called Starlite, the Festival of the Stars that is broadcast in 60 countries across many of the major platforms and TV networks, with many millions of viewers," she said.
An addition to this year's festival was the making of a daily programme for Movistar summarising events and news from the previous day.
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