‘We Are Managing To Take Our Country’s Culture To A Global Stage’: Q’s With Juli Guiu Marquina, chair, Clipper’s Music Group

Juli Guiu Marquina
Juli Guiu Marquina, chair, Clipper’s Music Group.

There’s hardly a country on earth that offers as many stunning outdoor locations as Spain. Clipper’s Music Group has been making good use of them for decades. The festivals in Clipper’s portfolio are one of the main reasons for the company’s continued growth.

Pollstar speaks with Juli Guiu Marquina, chair of this third-generation family business, one of Spain’s leading independent companies, and not just in live, but in publishing, management, and label services, as well. He says, “We are living a moment of significant expansion, and growth in the field of concerts and festivals at national level.” Which is why Clipper’s just launched a new promoting division.

Pollstar: What are the three most important questions a promoted/producer of live events in Spain needs to ask himself/herself in 2024?
Juli Guiu Marquina: How can we improve the attendee experience? With fierce competition, audience experience is key to differentiation. We must constantly evaluate how to offer something unique, from high-quality sound and comfortable venues to additional services like gastronomy.

What is the impact of sustainability on our events? Sustainability is a growing concern. We need to assess how to minimize our environmental footprint, from reducing waste to using renewable energy and promoting sustainable transportation for attendees.

Are we adapting to modern technology trends? Technology is evolving rapidly. We need to stay informed about new tools and platforms that can improve production, promotion, and audience interaction.

What are some recent successes you’d like to highlight? And what upcoming shows would you like to highlight?
Over the past two years, we have experienced significant growth, especially with the increase in the number of festivals we have organized. This growth is testimony to the commitment and dedication of our entire team.

The Cap Roig Festival continues to be a benchmark in the southern European music scene, with the 2023 edition exceeding a 94% occupancy rate and 12 of the 23 concerts organized being sold out.

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Les Nits de Barcelona took place for the first time last year, in the gardens of the Pedralbes Palace, organized by Clipper’s.

In addition, last year we organized for the first time the Les Nits de Barcelona festival in the gardens of the Pedralbes Palace, which has quickly established itself as an unmissable event on the city’s cultural calendar. The recent acquisition last summer of the White Summer, a summer market with high quality music concerts that had already established itself in the summers of the Costa Brava as a reference cultural point.

We have also created a new division within the Group dedicated to promoting concerts in different venues, such as that of the singer Laura Pausini at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona last January, which also sold out.

Looking ahead, we are very excited about the next edition of the Occident Summerfest. This festival has a carefully selected line-up to reflect and celebrate the culture in the area where it is located. We are confident that it will be a resounding success and an unforgettable experience for attendees.

What trends do you observe in the live entertainment world of Spain?
One of the most prominent trends is the unstoppable rise of urban music. This genre has taken an undisputed leading role in the music scene, attracting a young and diverse audience.

Moreover, we are managing to take our country’s culture to a global stage, exporting rhythms and lyrics that are an authentic sample of our roots and cultural evolution. Increasingly, we are seeing Spanish artists fill major arenas around the world.
It is a fascinating time for our industry, and we are excited to see how it will continue and how our talents will continue to conquer global stages.

Has local and regional talent become more important to your business? Can you exemplify that?
We have always been firmly committed to promoting local and regional artists, and this is clearly reflected in the programming of our festivals.

At Les Nits de Barcelona, for example, we have highlighted the presence of nationally and internationally acclaimed local and regional musicians, as well as new emerging talents.

The Cap Roig Festival is another clear example of our support for regional talent. This festival not only attracts big international names, but also gives an important space to artists from the region, creating a balance between the global and the local. Every year, we include in the program singers and bands that are a reference in the local and regional music scene.

In short, local talent is not only important, but essential to the identity of our festivals. We remain committed to supporting our artists, giving them the visibility they deserve and celebrating the cultural richness of our region.

Which cities/regions in Spain could be considered as emerging markets?
We are living a moment of significant expansion, and growth in the field of concerts and festivals at national level. Spain has a very large and diverse circuit of large venues and festivals, which is opening new opportunities in different regions of the country.

The music scene in Spain is diversifying at a rapid pace. Cities such as Valencia, Zaragoza, Vigo, Santiago, or Bilbao that were previously not on the radar of promoters are emerging as promising and viable markets for major artists’ tours. Also, different areas of Catalonia, where, each year, different projects grow, and consolidate themselves as a reference point outside the Barcelona metropolitan area. A clear example is our Cerdanya and Costa Brava festivals, which have become an obligatory stop during the summer festival season.

Tying into that: is there one city in Spain that could do with another large-scale live entertainment arena?
Valencia is a city that, despite having a considerable supply of venues, could benefit from a new large venue that can host larger events. This city has a large and growing potential audience that could support the construction of a new venue that would allow for larger and more complex shows. I believe this is already in the works.

The venues they are using right now, such as La Ciudad de Las Artes y Las Ciencias, La Marina de Valencia,or Plaza de Toros, are not venues originally intended for organizing this type of event, which entails extra costs for production and fitting out the space, which can lead promoters to exclude the city from international tours because it is ‘less comfortable’.

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Stay Homas, a trio from Barcelona, performing at Cap Roig Festival 2023. Last year’s edition had an occupancy rate of 94% across a total of 23 shows. This year’s edition returns to the Calella de Palafrugell, right on the Mediterranean coast, July 12 to Aug. 16. (Photo by Jose Irún)

In the UK, outdoor shows, special one-off concerts in scenic locations have really taken off this year. And that’s a country where the weather isn’t as guaranteed as it is in Spain. So, is the outdoor business growing in Spain, too?
Yes, in Spain we are also witnessing an important growth of open-air concerts. Our favorable climate makes these events very attractive for both artists and audiences. Festivals such as Cap Roig, which is held in a botanical garden in front of the Mediterranean Sea, or the Occident Summerfest, which is held in an impressive natural setting surrounded by mountains, are gaining in popularity.

In addition, concerts on beaches, in city parks such as Les Nits de Barcelona in the gardens of Pedralbes and other picturesque locations are booming, offering a unique experience, and making the most of our climatic advantages.

How are your festivals doing?
Our festivals are performing excellently, they continue to grow both qualitatively and in attendance figures year after year, in the summer of 2023 there were more than 160,000 attendees between all the festivals we organize.

The Cap Roig Festival continues to be a benchmark event, with constant attendance and a program that surprises and delights audiences every year. Les Nits de Barcelona has consolidated its position in the city’s cultural calendar, while White Summer continues to attract a diverse audience with its mix of music, art, and gastronomy. Occident Summerfest is growing rapidly and generating a buzz in the region in which it is located.

Anything you’d like to add?
At Clipper’s, we are constantly innovating and looking for new ways to connect with our audiences. The diversification of our divisions allows us to offer a comprehensive experience ranging from artistic representation to event production and promotion. With an eye on the future and the evolving needs of our audiences and artists, we will continue working to maintain and strengthen our position as the leading independent music company in Spain.

That is why, in 2024, the Clipper’s Group wanted to boost its activity as a concert and tour promoter with the creation of the new Clipper’s Promoting division to develop concerts by national and international artists in all types of venues and manage artistic booking for third parties.

The spearhead of this division is the Suite Festival concert series, which takes place in Barcelona’s main halls and venues, supporting the diversity and vitality of the city’s musical ecosystem.

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