It is widely believed in Marbella that former mayor Jesús Gil killed the port’s live music and youth scene when Funny Beach opened. Javier Córdoba, guitarist and bass player in bands like Alma and Pantano, is critical of the current situation. "We are setting up an association to remedy it," he says.
Córdoba, along other musicians like the original Marbepop, are the driving force behind an attempt to bring back Marbella’s music scene to what it was in the 1990s. "There is no music scene," the musician complains.
However, others including business owner Juan Alonso, disagree. He has just reopened the Premiere Club after an eight-year hiatus and twenty years since it first opened. "When I opened it the first time there were no venues to play live," Alonso says. He regrets that other venues in Malaga or Fuengirola were always able to offer more in the way of live music.
Of course there is live music in Marbella and not only at the Starlite festival, which will start on 11 June with a concert by C. Tangana. At the end of this month, the Marbella Arena will be filled with Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Coldplay, David Bowie and Guns N' Roses cover bands at the Undercover festival. Nearby in Ojén, Josele Santiago, Rufus T. Firefly and Ladilla Rusa will be performing at the Ojeando festival at the beginning of July.
Yet the feeling among local musicians is that, apart from the DJ's who play at the beach bars and the occasional flamenco show at Frank's Corner, there is little to be said of an all-year-round music scene.
It's a worldwide trend. Habits have changed. "People are still the same, but now they are 40 years old," admits Juan Alonso, who tried to open Premiere Club in March 2020. It was not to be. He finally did so on 24 December last year. Since then, he admits, "I've been setting up the scene myself". But in his opinion today's teenagers and young people are not used to going to live concerts. "They're more of a late-night crowd," he says, adding, "They always play reaggeton."
Alonso explains that Enrique Rodríguez, councillor for Youth, is “trying to encourage local groups". The businessman says that he has live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, which he promotes through Facebook and word of mouth.
Local bands, professionals and amateurs also use La Tarántula studio, where they hold jam sessions that Peluki, the owner, usually uploads to YouTube. For Alonso, the talent is out there, but there is a lack of organisation. However, he is still excited about new bands that are coming forward. "Have you listened to Lost Bullets?” He asks.
Twenty-year-old Christian Nilsen, singer and guitarist with Lost Bullets, spoke to SUR from Madrid, where he had been to see the Rolling Stones in concert last week. Nilsen is just starting out; he plays punk rock and could be compared to bands like The Ramones or Green Day. His band is starting to get a following locally in Marbella, which has seen the likes of Queen and Michael Jackson and newer faces like the Las Vegas singers, who will perform at Starlite this summer. But for those involved in the town’s music scene, it's not a question of filling stadiums or quarries, it’s about keeping the music alive in a more low-key way throughout the year and finding smaller venues for artists to perform.