‘It Is Still Very Economical To Attend A Festival’: Q’s With Primavera Sound’s Alfonso Lanza

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The atmosphere at Primavera Sound in Barcelona. (Picture by Kimmika)

Primavera Sound has been expanding a lot over the past years. Next weekend, June 8-10, sees the first edition in the Spanish capital of Madrid go down. Pollstar caught up with Primavera Sound CEO Alfonso Lanza to talk about this historic move, as well as a few other aspects from the Primavera cosmos.

Pollstar: What’s your state of mind in this special year, where you’ll be producing two festivals in Spain for the first time?
Alfonso Lanza: Although each new edition of the festival in Barcelona is always exciting, the addition of Madrid this year makes it even more so. Opening a new city is always something that reminds you why you did a festival the first time: for happy and exciting things to happen that don’t normally happen.

What does it mean to you to bring one of Europe’s most popular festival brands to the Spanish capital?
It is both a dream and a long-standing challenge. We’ve been working with Madrid on the year-round tours for a long time, and we even had an edition in both cities of Primavera Club, the small version of the summer festival with cutting edge artists. So the idea of going to Madrid was on our minds. That it can finally materialize makes us feel very proud.

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The crowd at Primavera Sound in Barcelona. The festival has expanded to a total of six locations, including Madrid, Porto (Portugal), São Paulo (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Bogotá (Colombia), and Asunción (Paraguay). (Photo by Eric Pamies)

Last year, you counted a historic number of visitors across both Primavera Sound weekends in Barcelona. Does the festival site in Madrid hold the same capacity as the Parc del Forum, meaning: could you repeat the 2022 numbers this year?
We didn’t choose the venue in Madrid just because of its capacity, although the “City of Rock” in Arganda del Rey can hold much more people than in Barcelona. We chose it because it is a space specially designed for festivals to take place. the comfort for artists, public and workers is ideal, that’s why we fell in love with this venue. On the other hand, last year’s numbers – half a million people in 10 days – were so exceptional because the circumstances were also exceptional: we came from two years of hiatus due to the pandemic and we almost did three festivals at once, combining the city shows between weekends.

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Alfonso Lanza, CEO of Primavera Sound.

What’s the economic climate like in the country right now? The UK and Europe have been hit by massive price increases across the board. Does is affect the spending power of ticket buyers, as well as the costs to put on concerts and festivals?
Again, after the two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, many of the costs of live music production, as well as transport costs, are no longer the same. This means that artists’ fees are either higher or the artists themselves cannot afford to tour. This also has meant that ticket prices have had to be adjusted, of course. But even so, compared to the ticket prices that many single-artist shows tend to have, we believe that it is still very economical to attend a festival.

Are there markets in Spain that are slowly but surely catching up to the importance of Barcelona and Madrid?
If by markets we mean cities, there are several in Spain that have concerts (Bilbao, Valencia, Seville, A Coruña…) or are usually in the routing of artists touring our country (in the tours that we promote throughout the year we usually count on them). And if instead of Spain we are talking about the Iberian Peninsula, then in Portugal there are also several places, like Porto, the city where we celebrated this year the 10th edition of our festival there.

What other upcoming live entertainment activities of Primavera Sound SL would you like to highlight?
I would like to highlight our Primavera Sounds in LATAM, for the second consecutive year in Sâo Paulo and Buenos Aires, and in Bogotá and Asunción for the first time. Also Primavera Weekender, the small but inimitable autumn festival we do in Benidorm for our biggest fans.

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