BARCELONA — A 19-concert series in Madrid raised more than €150,000 euros (about $175,000) for Live Nation’s Crew Nation global aid fund for touring staff impacted by the pandemic, according to Live Nation Spain. The series spotlighted Spanish artists including El Kanka, Xoel López and Muchachito, wrapping up with a concert by violinist Ara Malikian on Sept. 25.
The socially-distanced, reduced capacity events took place over three months at Madrid club La Riviera, where just over 7,000 fans in total attended the concerts.
“The goal of putting on this series of events was not only to provide a platform for artists, but also to create more than 80 jobs for crew, production, and security,” a statement from Live Nation Spain said.
More than 700,000 people in Spain make their living in some aspect of the music industry, which represents 3.2% of the gross national product, according to APM, the Spanish Association of Musical Promoters. Their livelihood has all but disappeared since March, when Spain went under mandatory lockdown. Since early summer, theaters and outdoor venues in Spain have been able to resume stage events with reduced audience capacity and other protocols (dance floors remain shut down), but many venues have remained closed. With greatly reduced — or in some cases no — revenue, the situation is bleak for music professionals across the board. And it could get worse. Madrid could see further restrictions following a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in September, and some surrounding areas are already confined again under a government order.
On Wednesday (Sept. 30), 90 Spanish entertainment associations under the Alerta Roja (Red Alert) banner, will join the global SOS movement to save culture. The group is preparing to protest online and in the streets to demand that the Spanish government provide more aid to entertainment businesses, artists and industry workers, a move that would supplement an €80 million package that was approved in May, and allow more venues to re-open, among other revendications.
Spanish Minister of Culture José Manuel Rodríguez met Monday with representatives of Alerta Roja to discuss proposals that included the classification of live music clubs as cultural venues, rather than nightclubs, which could allow them to re-open, albeit with restrictions. That meeting followed street protests by workers on Sept. 17, when members of the music industry took to the streets of Madrid and other cities pushing large black flight cases, which, in other times, would be carrying equipment on tour.