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Dua Lipa in Bogota: Are Concerts Getting out of Hand in the Colombian Capital?

Dua Lipa Shone in Bogota Despite Reports of Casting, Assembly Failures, Disorder and Poor Logistics. Is Bogota ready to Compete with Buenos Aires or Santiago in the Concert Industry in South America?.

Dua Lipa and stage in Bogotá

Photo: TW-DuaLipa, TW-FelipeCg_

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: Dua Lipa en Bogotá: ¿se le están saliendo de las manos los conciertos a la capital colombiana?

Dua Lipa's debut in Bogota will go down in history as one of the worst experiences in big shows in the Andean country. A series of unfortunate decisions led to a massive complaint from the more than 30 thousand attendees. The logistics and the venue were the targets of those who paid to see the British at the Salitre Mágico amusement park.

Despite achieving a sold out in a matter of hours for Dua Lipa's concert, many people disapproved of the venue from the start. Ocesa, the organizing company of the concert, had already had experiences with shows at the Salitre Mágico, such as the Beyond Wonderland festival. In fact, in the pandemic they joined Páramo Presenta, their competition in Colombia, for a series of drive-in concerts there.

However, the dynamics of a festival and a concert for a world-class star are very different. While at a festival there is circulation of people, at concerts everyone focuses their attention on one artist. Therefore, logistics must be much more careful to avoid stampedes, strains or disorder in the lines. It is also necessary to be careful in the assembly so as not to damage the experience of those who attend.

Regrettable shows in Colombia

Dua Lipa's is not the first negative precedent in the history of country shows. The most remembered is that of the Guns N' Roses in 1992, when the concert was halfway through and ended with riots.

On the other hand, recent history has this year's Jamming Festival as a reference, which due to lack of logistics and cancellation of several artists, did not take place. Likewise, in 2016, Bogota was robbed of the dream of having a Lollapalooza like in Santiago (Chile) or Buenos Aires (Argentina). That time, the promoters pushed back the festival, excusing themselves because the main artist on the bill canceled them.

Another important precedent was that of Paul McCartney in Medellín, a show that had to be canceled due to low ticket sales.

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Growth of Bogota as a destination for grand tours

2022 has been the most fruitful year for the Colombian capital in terms of concerts. Only in the last weekend Ricardo Arjona, Coldplay and Camila Cabello appeared twice, the Argentine Duki and the national talent of Silvestre Dangond. As if that were not enough, next weekend is the Cordillera Festival with Julieta Vanegas, Maná, Caifanes, among others.

Before 2013 there was talk of a great concert per year in Bogota. After the pandemic, you can talk about concerts with global artists such as Rosalía, Doja Cat, The Strokes, Gorillaz, Miley Cyrus or Demi Lovato, in addition to the shows already mentioned. Bad Bunny, Guns N' Roses, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys, Harry Styles, Daddy Yankee, Judas Priest and many more are yet to be made.

The signing of the Peace Agreement with the FARC-EP may have helped to clear Colombia's name globally. In that sense, Colombia is already a more attractive destination for artists. To this can be added the rise of stars like Shakira or Juanes in past decades; and J Balvin, Maluma, Kali Uchis and Karol G today.

What is missing for Bogota to be the South American capital of concerts?

Although stages for concerts such as the Movistar Arena and the Live Coliseum have been opened in the last decade, the capitalof Colombia lacks open-air stages. The only ones with a large capacity are the El Campín soccer stadium and the Simón Bolívar Park. When an artist like Dua Lipa demands that the stage she goes to be open to the sky, it is a problem for promoters.

But the lack of stages is not the only problem in Bogota. Every time there is a big show, there is a lot of traffic. If it happens like last weekend with parallel shows between El Campín and Movistar Arena, which are neighbors, everything gets more complicated. The same could happen with the Harry Styles concert, because that same day the Rock Al Parque festival will take place, next to the British artist's 'venue'.

The Live Coliseum has another drawback, which is having few access roads. Since it opened a few months ago, every event held on the premises has had complaints about mobility.

This leaves us with the conclusion that, without short-term improvements to the road infrastructure, each concert will be an ordeal rather than a magical experience. Bogota is on the right track as a notable destination in Latin America, but there is still much to be done in the concert industry.