30 Jun, 2013 @ 12:00
1 min read

Marbella’s annual art festival in danger

Bowley with Marbella tourist boss

MARBELLA’S annual art festival (FIAM) is under threat of folding unless sponsorship can be found.

Its organisers insisted this year ‘could be the last’, with little funds to pay for lighting, marketing and stalls.

“This year has been very difficult and without financial backing from businesses the festival will die,” organiser Caroline Bowley told the Olive Press.

“We really hope that this year a kindly company owner enjoyed it so much he or she is prepared to support it next year.”

Meanwhile, the FIAM launched a Friends of the Festival campaign which offered a range of special offers for a donation of €50.

“We all know that it is a difficult time for everyone financially but an event such as this should be a focus as cultural importance as it draws visitors and residents and can be highly profitable.

“We believe that the art festival is vital in presenting Marbella as a cultural destination and we need businesses and politicians to support us in making the festival bigger and better and creating other cultural events”.


  1. Can I point out the obvious. The Ayuntamiento has invested and sponsors the Starlite Festival – late July to late August – part of the deal is to supply dates for fashion shows art exhibitions etc of which I believe there are some this year. Last year the 30 days were covered by roughly 15 concerts, this year every night is covered, with outdoor cinema, fashion shows and art exhibitions as I said, so what is the benefit of also trying to continue this Art Festival FIAM which in itself is a commercial venue as much as artists are there to sell not just exhibit. If I were FIAM they should try and become associated with Starlite and get two nights there next year – sorted!

  2. Mike, please think before you write, the Art Festival has been running for 5 years, the Starlite Festival is lucky to make it to year two, why should an honest Art Fair cow down to the might of international stardom, the art fair is for ordinary artists to show their wares in the town they call home not to be come part of some major music fest, clearly Mike you are not an artist, and of course have no understanding of that calling. Starlite is one event, and excellent, the ART FAIR IS ANOTHER,why oh why put them together…?

  3. Johnny, you are too quick to shoot the messenger. I was just telling you why the Ayuntamiento are no longer supporting the Art Festival in Marbella and that the Starlite Festival is a 30 day event that is meant to encompass art and fashion as well as music. Starlite have a 5 year agreement with the Ayuntamiento and this, as you say, is just the 2nd year. Surely it would be better to have a 2 day Art Festival at next year’s Starlite Festival than have none at all? That was my point.

  4. Gotta love an artist;

    “Clearly Mike you are not an artist, and of course have no understanding of the calling”

    Patronising prat!

    I think Mike makes a good point.

    And it’s not lost on me that the fair is facing closure at year five so is in no position to poo-poo an event just because its only been going two years!

  5. I understand your idea Mike and of course there is room at the Starlite for some artists to exhibit, my point is that The Art Fair needs to be held where it is, where all can gain access for free and not everybody will be able to get up to the Starlite venue. I think that Starlite is an excellent festival by the way Richard and from what I can read here nobody has been poo pooing it and thanks for the “patronising prat”I’ve been called a lot worse so I shall take it as a compliment.
    I think it’s very important to have an Art Fair in Marbella that has nothing to do with other events in the town and it will be a sad day should it cease to exist

  6. Johnny, please think before you write.

    “from what I can read here nobody has been poo pooing it”

    Ah. let me remind you of your earlier comment. “the Starlight Festival is lucky to make it to year two”

    “and thanks for the “patronising prat”I’ve been called a lot worse”

    I’m not surprised.

  7. Hmm, firstly, I appreciate how hard Caroline Bowley and her team of organisers, supporters and family work in making the festival happen. This has to be praised. Running a festival is nerve shreddingly exhausting. Secondly, as a kindly business owner is unlikely to step forward with an open cheque book, the festival, like all others, needs to step back and re-appraise what it actually offers.

    Many of the artists I spoke to this year were concerned at the expense of their stands and the continuing downward spiral of sales, which when you face it, is exactly why they are there in the first place. Would their time and energy be better spent in taking a new approach?

    A suggestion: The festival generally caters to ex-pats rather than pro-actively foster community engagement with Marbellíes. An artist-in-residence working with both communities, finding common cultural ties other than mere locale, is one way ahead. It fosters better relationships and increases audiences. Also the layout of the marquees is splendid in a great location on Avd del Mar, yet must take up a huge chunk of the budget with regard to hires and services. A more cost effective solution might be to have one large ‘Hub’ marquee as a socialising centre for artists and visitors and explore the possibility of using many of the empty shops as pop up galleries and venues. This creates a buzz, adds a trail and helps bring visitors to the less visited part of the town.

    I’ll be back in Marbella next week for August, if Johnny or anyone else connected with the festival wants to pick my 30 years of running festivals brain for the price of a beer let me know.

  8. Thanks Richard, my comment about being called a lot worse was tongue in cheek, but clearly you think you know me and that I deserve being called a lot worse, well my friend you just sound like a man who has failed in all walks of life and have a big green monster on your shoulder

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