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Archive photo of the festival. Hugo Cortés
What is happening with the Cala Mijas music festival on the Costa del Sol?
Music festival

What is happening with the Cala Mijas music festival on the Costa del Sol?

Six months before the September musical event is due to take place, nothing is known about this year's line-up as the current town hall team and the promoter acknowledge some discrepancies with the five-year contract

Lorena Cádiz

Mijas

Sunday, 3 March 2024, 08:13

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In November 2022 all eyes in the Spanish music scene were on Mijas. On that date, a big line-up for the second edition of the Cala Mijas festival in 2023 was announced: The Strokes, Arcade Fire and Florence + The Machine. That's no surprise as the festival has made a name for attracting major international bands and artists. But this year, six months before the festival is due to take place, scheduled for the first weekend in September, there is a sepulchral silence around the festival.

Nothing is known about the progress of the preparations for this huge musical event, nor about who will be on this year's line-up. Social media is alight on the subject, and memes are circulating among those who find the whole situation amusing. Many others are clearly expressing their displeasure with the organisation, especially those who bought their tickets for this year when the 2023 edition ended, and are beginning to fear that the Costa del Sol event may not materialise.

The key to this situation lies in the change of the Mijas town hall team that happened in November. A motion of censure expelled PSOE and Cs (the promoters of the festival) from the local administration and brought the Partido Popular to the mayor's office, in a tripartite government with Vox and Por mi Pueblo.

Before this change, the PP councillors in Mijas town hall had expressed their doubts, both in the plenary sessions and in the media, about the economic figures for the festival and the contribution of the town hall to it, in terms of sponsorship, estimated at one million euros per year. From 2022 the council and the festival organiser, the company Last Tour, signed a five-year contract for the festival.

Will there be a festival in 2024?

At this moment neither the organising company, nor Mijas town hall, deny that it will be held. But, neither do they sound totally sure. The mayor of Mijas, Ana Mata, said: "We have been working hard since 2 November, the day this team took office, to bring to a successful conclusion the development of the Cala Mijas festival, a cultural event of the first order for the municipality and of which we are fully aware."

However, the mayor also alluded to issues of the contract between the council and Last Tour that "must be resolved", which, she said, "we hope to report on as soon as possible”. One of these issues has to do with the money that the council should have paid to the organising company for the 2023 edition. At the moment, the council has not paid a single invoice as, according to the town hall, some of the invoices presented by the company are not in order: they have not been approved by the technician supervising the contract, municipal sources said. There is also a disagreement, apparently, about the payment to be made by the company to the town hall for the occupation of the festival space.

"We are continuing to work… normally," said sources from the company Last Tour, which is responsible for other festivals such as Bilbao BBK Live and Azkena Rock in Vitoria-Gasteiz. "Its celebration is announced, it is a very attractive festival and there is a high percentage of people who bought their tickets at the end of the 2022 edition," Last Tour said.

The company has downplayed the fact that this year's line-up has not yet been presented. "Every year is different," they said, and they believe that they will have no problem selling tickets once the artists are announced.

"Political"

With regard to the claimed discrepancies surrounding the contract, Last Tour refused to make any statements. "It's something political, we have nothing to say," adding that their discussions with the council are "confidential".

The first event, held in 2022, has been valued at having an economic impact of 20 million euros. It drew 107,000 attendees, and the number of jobs created was 3,000. In 2023, those figures showed an economic impact of 22 million euros of economic impact, with 110,000 visitors, and 3,000 people employed for the event.

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