Music venues, concert halls, arenas, they have all been an essential part of music history opening doors to spaces where music and audiences connect in the most intimate of ways sharing unique experiences. From the Radio City Music Hall in New York City to the O2 Arena in London and the Sydney Opera House, old and new venues stand out as examples of music history, stardom, prestige, artistic credibility, and cultural infrastructure. In countries with upcoming economies, the ones often covered with hundreds of years of cultural traditions mixed with neglected aid from governments, the development of cultural infrastructure represented in new arenas and concert venues like the Movistar Arena can open the doors to significant changes in the public’s perceived value of cultural events.
It is still hard to understand how a city with a population just shy of ten million did not have at least one specialized, dedicated Arena that could host thousands of fans thirsty for live music and entertainment. For decades the city of Bogotá, Colombia, has needed to adapt other spaces (public and private) to accommodate the few national and international shows. The Simon Bolivar public park, or the private Polo Club, have hosted bands like Metallica (1999, 2010, ) and Green Day (2010), and the Nemesio Camacho Stadium has shared its professional soccer grass to host the failed (but legendary) Gun’s N’ Roses concert (1992), and even Paul McCartney (2012).
Of course, a big part of the reason for our lack of cultural infrastructure is corruption and a lack of interest from the local government to fully fund any public cultural initiative.
But finally, after decades of improvised stages (and lighting and sound), the Movistar Arena opened its doors in Bogotá on the 28th of September, 2018, and it is now our light of hope to finally build the right cultural infrastructure in the supposed “Athens of South America.”
The Movistar Arena used to be an old 1970s Arena that was about to fall on itself. Now, it is the leading venue for mid-large scale events, with 90 shows presented per year. Scorpions, Fonseca, J Balvin, Rubén Blades, Norah Jones, and now rising world-star Billie Eilish are all booked to share with the Bogotanos and Colombianos at a remodeled and dedicated space for such demanding shows.
A well-constructed building like the Movistar Arena brings a massive impact on the public perception of cultural events and its economies. Thanks to its technology, facilities, looks, and the artists that are now able to bring their shows to the city, audiences are seeing local music, comedy, theater, and entertainment with better eyes. And I am not saying that Bogotá did not have any other great venues before the Movistar A. (Teatro Colsubsidio, Teatro Julio Mario Santodomingo, Teatro Colón, Teatro Jorge Elieser Gaitan, Espacio Odeón), but the Bogotanos were missing an Arena to hold bigger shows.
Better perception of these events increases the amount of money spent on cultural initiatives. With better cultural infrastructure, sectors like Theatre, Comedy, Musical Theatre, Art Museums, Live Music, recording studios, rehearsal studios, photography, event promotion, and film, will ultimately be positively affected by increased capital input. Local artists will also have a better chance to perform at the same Arena where legends have played, helping their international image when acting abroad. And, quality venues (large and small) will resurge around the city to supply the demand.
Even though all this sounds utopic, the Movistar Arena is an essential piece of infrastructure needed to help cultural events and creatives in the city and the country. Colombia is going almost through a “golden age” of Pop music and live spectacles, and having such infrastructure will give better opportunities for artists and entertainment business executives to keep growing our local industry and putting us on the map.
The Movistar Arena is showing us how important the physical, cultural infrastructure positively affects our industries, and at Stereotheque we are here to bring the right digital and technological infrastructure that all players in the music and entertainment industries need to create sustainable careers.
We are validating the culture as a human necessity, and we are growing its ancillary markets.