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Oscar L. Tejeda
There will be no Cala Mijas music festival on the Costa del Sol in 2024 and these are the reasons why
Music festival

There will be no Cala Mijas music festival on the Costa del Sol in 2024 and these are the reasons why

The cancellation of the event, which has been rumoured for weeks, was confirmed just four months before it was set to appear for the third year - scheduled for 29, 30 and 31 August - and with many tickets already sold

Regina Sotorrío

Malaga

Monday, 29 April 2024, 10:22

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The Cala Mijas music festival on the Costa del Sol has been cancelled this year following a major row between the event organisers and town hall.

Event promoter Last Tour confirmed talks had broken down with Mijas council over "repeated and serious breaches" in the sponsorship contract. However, town hall claimed it was Last Tour who had breached the agreement and reserved the right to take "the appropriate measures to rectify the damage caused".

In a statement, Last Tour criticised the non-payment of "important sums" for the 2023 festival, an amount the new council of mayor Ana Mata had left unpaid due to an objection from the municipal auditors. According to the council (which has been governed by the Partido Popular with the support of Vox and Por mi Pueblo since 2 November), there were a series of expenses "which may not correspond" to municipal funds and which would have to paid by the organiser. The council pointed out, as an example, 50,000 euros for buses that transported festival-goers from the camping area, also municipally owned, to the site of the concert. The total of these costs, the town hall claimed, "could exceed two million euros, a far cry from the 1.2 million euros the council is contractually obliged to pay".

There are seven invoices for 952,875 euros that neither of the two parties believe they should pay. Two other invoices had "errors" that should have been corrected by the festival promoter; a correction that, according to town hall, was never made, which prevented the invoice from being taken to an extraordinary plenary session in order to lift the auditors' objection and make the payment.

Also, as the town hall pointed out in March, the 2022 festival is being audited by the Court of Auditors, with signs indicating the 2023 event would follow the same path. Regarding that year, Mijas also pointed out in its note that, "despite repeated requests", Last Tour has never justified the annual investment committed by contract.

But the disagreements are not solely financial. Last Tour pointed out other breaches "no less serious, such as the lack of conditioning and provision of facilities at the venue". Meanwhile, the council said the contract establishes that the organiser should have presented the line-up for the 2024 event at the end of the 2023 festival. "As of today, this town hall does not even have a proposal for the same," Last Tour said.

Both parties throw the ball back at the other side for the lack of interest and willingness to move the event forward. "It is obvious that the unjustified disregard by the council of its contractual commitments prevents the continuation of the agreed collaboration (...) and, what is even more regrettable, shows the lack of interest of the municipal body in the successful organisation of the festival. Faced with such a position, Last Tour has been forced to take the decision to terminate the agreement and cease organising the festival," the promoter said.

Meanwhile, the council responded: "Despite the provision of the site where the event was held with the proper connections and adequate networks, as established in the contract, and the express request of the council to present a proposal for a line-up to carry out the 2024 show, Last Tour has not been willing to carry out this new edition of the festival".

The Cala Mijas was the big bet of the previous local government team led by the socialist Josele González

The cancellation of the event, which has been rumoured for weeks, was confirmed just four months before it was set to appear for the third year - scheduled for 29, 30 and 31 August - and with many tickets for the event already sold. In fact, many people immediately bought tickets for 2024 at a reduced price after the last concert last summer. According to the organiser's sources, the full amount will be refunded.

Cala Mijas was the big bet of the previous municipal government team led by the socialist Josele González. So much so that last year the festival had the surprise visit of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who attended The Strokes, a band of which he is a big fan.

Five-year contract signed

It all goes back to 2021, after the Covid-19 pandemic. Mijas council called a public tender to organise a large-scale international cultural event on unused land, a tender that was won by Last Tour, the same promoter of BBK Live, one of the veteran events on the festival calendar. A five-year contract was signed, with a municipal investment of 6.3 million euros during that period. Last Tour, for its part, was obliged to make an initial investment of eight million euros, which would increase by one million per year until reaching 12 million in 2026.

Thus was born Sonora Mijas, a macro concert venue with three stages that last year welcomed 110,000 people during its three days of live music. In the first year alone, town hall estimated the economic impact of the festival at 20 million euros, with a 27% international audience and high press coverage. The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, Florence and The Machine and dozens of other bands were part of the line-up.

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