Juan Gabriel Tribute Expected to Draw 700,000 Fans in Mexico City

Juan Gabriel in 2012. 

Massive Mexico City homage follows Ciudad Juarez mass, Guadalajara concert

More than a half-million people were expected to attend a tribute to departed Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel at Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes on Monday (Sept. 5).

Two musical shows are planned for the thousands of Gabriel fans expected to flock to the monumental cultural center for the tribute, set to start at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) and continue into the early hours of Tuesday morning, according to information that Mexican Secretary of Culture Rafael Tovar y Teresa provided to El Universal newspaper.

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An urn holding the singer’s ashes wil be placed in a central area of the palace’s main hall; fans will also be able to pay their respects to a huge photo of Gabriel hung on the building’s second floor, Tovar told El Universal, which dedicated its top headline to a story about the preparations for the event on Monday.

A spectacular musical homage to Gabriel will be staged inside the Palacio; another show will entertain spectators on the plaza outside of the building. Musical performances expected to happen throughout out the day and night will be shown on giant outdoor screens, and fans will be able to “spontaneously perform music in honor of Juan Gabriel” at a kiosk on one side of the adjacent Alameda park.

Pepe Aguilar, Daniela Romo, Ana Gabriel and Fernando de la Mora were among entertainers expected to interpret Gabriel’s hits during the show.

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According to Cultural Secretary Tovar, the city was preparing for the tribute to one of Mexico’s most beloved artists with heavy police security. He added that although capacity would be capped at 700,000, the Palace would reopen on Tuesday morning should more people be waiting to pay their respects.

Monday’s Mexico City tribute follows a misa in Ciudad Juarez, the late singer’s hometown, on Saturday, attended by tens of thousands of fans. A tribute concert in Guadalajara, also on Saturday, featured Mariachi Vargas de Teccalitlán, corrido singer Lupillo Rivera, Vicente Fernandez Jr. and pop group Belanova, among others.

Juan Gabriel died of a heart attack in his Southern California home on Aug. 28. He was 66 years old.