Robbie Williams at Marenostrum Fuengirola. SUR
Live revenue: Malaga climbs ranks of Spain's top music festival destinations

Live revenue: Malaga climbs ranks of Spain's top music festival destinations

The Costa del Sol has climbed to third place in concert ticket sales across the whole country, surpassed only by Barcelona and Madrid

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 08:39


Malaga, already considered the province of museums and technology, is now known as one of Spain's top destinations for live music. Concert revenue soared in 2023 to 24.5 million euros, a record figure that propels Malaga to third place on the national podium, only surpassed by Barcelona and Madrid. The music promoters association of Spain revealed this data in its 2024 annual report which points directly to the province as the "new musical epicentre of Spain".

In just one year, Malaga has gone from eighth place on the national stage (ahead of Murcia, the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Vizcaya and Seville) to the bronze medal alongside two giants of music industry. At the top, there is no competition: Barcelona has generated 132 million euros, compared to 94 million in Madrid. Malaga, on the other hand, is at 24 million euros, after a spectacular growth of 72%, with 10 million euros more than the previous year - completely unheard of.

This, however, can be explained by the increasing number of musical events taking place in the province, with Starlite Occident in Marbella and Marenostrum in Fuengirola leading the way. In fact, Marenostrum has been, for its second consecutive year, the musical event with the highest number of spectators in Spain (189,063), ahead of Noches del Botánico in Madrid (152,288) and Las Noches del Malecón in Murcia (131,262).

Absent from the top ten due to the Nagüeles quarry venue's smaller capacity, the annual report also highlights the weight of Marbella's Starlite Occident, which has seen over 90 artists perform 600 hours of live music. There is also the Cala Mijas Festival, which saw 110,000 attendees in its second year.

Marenostrum is, for its second consecutive year, the most attended music festival in Spain

Of the ten national tours that attracted the largest audiences, nine performed in Malaga: Manuel Carrasco (Marenostrum), Melendi (Starlite) and Joaquín Sabina (Martín Carpena) led the way. International presence, however, continues to be very scarce, almost anecdotal: only three of the main international tours stopped by Malaga and in all three cases the venue was Marenostrum (Morat, Tini and Robbie Williams).

"It's not really Malaga city, but Malaga province, because the former only has the auditorium, with a capacity of 9,000 people, a capacity that is too small now that music has grown so much," said Jason Fox, a music promoter from Malaga, responsible for taking Mark Anthony on tour and managing Marenostrum Fuengirola.

Promoters point to the province's "gigantic economic growth", which has made it an interesting place to invest in, and they do not overlook the city's capacity to attract visitors. "The authorities are really getting behind the idea of presenting Malaga as hub of creativity, as a city with centres for innovation and tech companies. The transformation is not only about music; it is about the city itself. Perhaps it is the Spanish city that has done the best in recent years, like Bilbao did years ago, with the arrival of the Guggenheim," said Catalan concert promoter Jordi Herreruela, president of Barcelona Music Lab and director of the Cruïlla festival.

Malaga's climb is part of a general trend in increasing ticket sales. In global figures, live music turnover in 2023 exceeded the record set the previous year by 26.07%, generating a total of 578,995,737 euros - a milestone that "attests to the influence of the live music industry in the cultural sphere, but also in relation to tourism and economic promotion".

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