Latin

How Grupo Firme Ended Up With Seven Back-to-Back Shows at Staples Center

Grupo Firme
Courtesy of Nederlander Concerts

Grupo Firme

The chart-topping regional Mexican band is slated to kick off their historic run on July 30.

The only time Grupo Firme has performed in the Los Angeles area was back in November 2019, when the regional Mexican act serenaded close to 9,000 fans in Pico Rivera, Calif.

Nearly two years later, Grupo Firme returns to L.A. with seven back-to-back shows at the Staples Center on July 30, 31, Aug. 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8. Making history as the first Latin act to perform the most shows in a single calendar year at the venue (the only other artist that has done more is Adele with eight in one calendar year), the chart-topping band's concerts will be the first live shows at the arena in 513 days due to the ongoing global pandemic.

With five out of the seven full-capacity shows sold out and more than 60,000 tickets sold, according to Staples Center and concert promotion firm Nederlander Concerts, "it’s phenomenal for a band that has never played Staples Center before," Lee Zeidman, president, Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live, tells Billboard. "When we first started having conversations with Grupo Firme, we were talking about the Microsoft Theater and as we pivoted with the promoter, we all came to the conclusion, 'what about Staples Center?' And here we are seven shows later."

The original plan, says Grupo Firme's manager Isael Gutiérrez, was to have a single show at the Microsoft Theater July 2020, a date Guitérrez, Nederlander's Eddie Orjuela (also president of Orjuela Entertainment) and agent/owner of TuStreams Tony Larios had set early 2020 with tickets up for sale by March that year.

"Then we went into lockdown and obviously concerts weren't happening but for some odd reason, the tickets for the Microsoft Theater show were still selling so we analyzed the situation," adds Gutiérrez. "We threw the idea of doing something bigger, since we had the time to plan, and we thought let's aim for Staples."

On Aug. 3, the band announced that the Microsoft Theatre show was moving to Staples Center with two shows in September. Needless to say, those two shows were moved to Aug. 6 - 7, 2021. By April this year, a third show was added, then a fourth, followed by a fifth until it became seven – with an average of 9,000 tickets selling in the first half hour.

"It was like a snowball effect," Orjuela explains. "There was this euphoria because people were watching on social media the huge success they were having on the East Coast, where they started touring earlier this year. On Instagram you could see the packed shows, the energy these guys bring onstage, people don't want to miss out. It's the band that got them through the pandemic and now they want to see it live."

With more than seven million monthly listeners on Spotify, 3.1 million followers on Instagram and almost four million subscribers on YouTube, Grupo Firme has quickly ascended from being a local corridos Tijuana-based band to a chart-topping group that, to date, has placed six songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart.

"We never stopped working during the pandemic," says Gutiérrez, also CEO of indie label Music VIP. "Our goal during that time, since we weren't touring, was to grow our social media, from Instagram to TikTok, creating content specifically for those platforms. This growth was something we planned and visualized. Thanks to social media, we've been able to reach other artists that have been around for much longer. Now, these seven shows, are a product of that hard work and dedication."

It was because of their strong social media presence, says Larios, that tickets sold so quickly.

"We didn't even have time to execute our advertising strategy to sell the shows. All they needed to sell a show was to upload one or two posts on their social media and that was it. We didn't advertise on radio or at other events. I've been doing this for 15 years and it's something I've never seen before happen with a regional Mexican band. This will hopefully open doors for other artists in the genre."

Grupo Firme fans can expect a few changes and upgrades at the first Staples show. "Over the last 15 months, Staples Center has really redefined itself as it relates to COVID safety and becoming more digital," say Zeidman. "All ticketing will be digital so you’ll have to show your tickets on your phone, we are a cashless venue with self-order kiosks throughout the space. And as it relates to contactless, we’ve made upgrades to our bathrooms, paper towel dispensers, etc. We believe we’ve reinvented our venue that will allow us to be quicker and easier to navigate."

As for masks, show attendees will be expected to wear them at all times except when eating or drinking. The venue will not be asking for any proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test. With their "know before you go" motto, Staples Center encourages concertgoers to check out their website for their health and safety guidelines.