SUMMER music festivals in Castellon could welcome larger crowds this year – but not big enough for the Festival Internacional de Benicassim (FIB).
Regional Tourism councillor Francesc Colomer this week visited Benicassim, home of the hugely popular indie music event of the same name that is especially popular among British fans, who – usually – descend on the coastal town in their droves every year.
Colomer announced that if the current positive evolution of the pandemic continues, with infection rates and deaths falling, the Generalitat will increase the total number of tickets authorised to go on sale.
The current limit stands at 2,000, although the councillor rejected the possibility that events such as the FIB or the Rototom Sunsplash weeklong reggae festival could open their gates to up to 50,000 people a day, as was the norm before COVID.
Colomer confirmed that his department is working on authorising an increase in crowd numbers, at least to make the events financially viable, although he underlined the fact that the Health authorities will have the final say.
The Tourism chief recounted the experience of the Love of Lesbian show in Barcelona in March, when 5,000 people crammed into the Palau Sant Jordi with negative antigen tests, masks and a thorough track and trace system in place.
That event resulted in six new positive cases of COVID, four of which could not be traced specifically to the concert and are believed to have happened elsewhere within the same timeframe.
The ‘highly satisfactory’ result, in Colomer’s own words, has prompted the Generalitat to consider authorising identical events in the Valencia region.
A proposal to allow 10,000 spectators into Valencia’s open-air La Marina for a number of shows this summer is already on the cards and, if all goes according to plan, looks likely to go ahead.
Benicassim mayoress Susana Marques highlighted the very strong link between Benicassim and live music, which is also a major source of employment and income for the town.
However, the FIB is not said to feature on their immediate plans, as the usual world-class international headlining acts would be financially unfeasible with drastically reduced ticket sales.
However, Marques revealed that they are currently working on the Rototom, Luce Benicassim, Mar de Sons and SanSan events, which can be more easily adapted to the circumstances.
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