La Pergola in Valencia, the “miracle” of concerts and the pandemic | Culture

The public during a concert at the Pergola in Valencia.
The public during a concert at the Pergola in Valencia.Image provided by the organization

Live music does not wake up from the nightmare that covid-19 has become, although it is adapted with new formats, promoted by the public powers. In the open air, with one or two artists per day and a series of restrictions (sanitary controls at the entrances, reduced mobility, no possibility of eating or drinking in the stalls …) that determine the new experience that music has become in direct. All these conditions were already put into practice in the dystopian July 2020, in one of the few European scenarios whose activity has hardly been interrupted by the coronavirus: the Pergola of the Marina de Valencia. A concert hall The open air that today is the object of desire for local and international artists and promoters. It only closed during strict confinement last year. The rest of the time, the public has responded religiously as a catharsis in times of pandemic. This Saturday he celebrates his 100th concert in three years.

Lauder performance with Bloody Riot and Nonai Sound at the Pergola in Valencia.
Lauder performance with Bloody Riot and Nonai Sound at the Pergola in Valencia.Photo provided by the organization

The promoter, Quique Medina, explains: “Nothing has been as hard for the promotion of concerts as the covid-19, but the Pergola is, surely, one of the places in Europe best adapted to offer sanitary guarantees: open air, enough space , daytime, by the sea … a miracle ”. Headwind for a proposal that last summer was a pioneer when it came to requiring the public to remain seated, not smoke (it is not possible in the entire venue) or not remove the mask. The ticket price is five euros (before the pandemic it was free) and the maximum capacity of 400 people. Medina says that “when we can stand up, everything will change, but for now the need to enjoy live music and this environment means that we run out of tickets on practically all dates”.

La Pèrgola, the bandstand stranded in the middle of a gigantic esplanade after the America’s Cup, hosted its first amplifier roar in February 2018. The women from Barcelona and the locals MAR performed. This weekend they will do it Mr. Chinarro or Tracksuit Jacket. Concerts are at 12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

“When we thought that we already had all the rooms in Valencia controlled, the Pergola was there to remind us how important it is to recover and reuse little-traveled spaces and transform them into something new.” Pol Rodellar, a member of Mujeres, remembers that on one of his visits they were even offered to arrive on stage on a boat, just before the first guitar hit. He considers that the key to the success of this urban enclave has been “to move music to more standardized spaces and schedules.” The presence of young audiences and minors is common, something differential also for the musician Luis Brea (“doing concerts for the whole family, surrounded by sea and sun, in an urban environment …”). Rodellar recalls that it helps “people who do not normally go to concerts discover groups and other forms of culture.”

The concerts of the Pergola have a relaxed atmosphere
The concerts of the Pergola have a relaxed atmosphereImage provided by the organization

To the American group of pop-indie Cloud Nothings was concerned that an environment “paceful tropicalia“I was not receptive to his music,” but most of the attendees enjoyed Valencia as much as we did. ” British veterans The Wedding Present were surprised that the photos they had been sent “did not do justice to that scene: it is a real kiosk by the sea! We hope to return ”.

Londoners Public Service Broadcasting admit they didn’t have them all with them when they proposed a date in December: “But we found great weather and a welcoming crowd. It is one of the most unique places we have performed, highly preferable to any smoky bar and stairs in the middle of the British winter. ” “Inspiring” for Alice Wonder, “insurmountable” for Ricardo Lezón (from McEnroe), “with an atmosphere that would raise a dead person” for Martín Vallhonrat, from Carolina Durante, or simply “something so beautiful”. This is how Miqui Puig describes it, who after decades performing in “nightclubs, rooftops or squatters”, remembers it as a gratifying experience: “It served me to complete the dance circle where our grandparents used to flirt with parasol and ribbon hat ladies” .

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