The Madrid festival Tomavistas, due to its advanced position in the calendar of large macro-concert events, was one of the first to receive the slap in the face of cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic. At first they moved it to September of that year. When it was seen that the circumstances did not improve, was postponed to June 2021. It couldn't be either. That's why this year's motto is "third time lucky".
It will be held from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 May at the Ifema fairgrounds in Madrid. Until now, the location of this great indie music event was the Tierno Galván Park, but after these two years in which the organization has lifted sail and has stayed afloat with smaller formats and adjusted to the restrictions, the festival needs grow up. That is why they have found a place where there will still be open air, grass, trees and also the possibility of locating three stages and prolonging the performances until after midnight.
"The personality of a festival is not only given by the venue, but also by the poster, which meets the expectations of Tomavistas throughout life and we also take a step forward in the comfort of the public, with better access, more space and all accessible areas" explains its artistic and production director, José Gallardo. The capacity, 10,000 people, will remain the same as in the previous location, but by gaining square meters, greater comfort is generated.
The bill that Gallardo is proud of includes two big names in British indie, who are this year's hit: Suede and Jarvis Cocker from Pulp, under the name Jarv Is... When Suede should have played at Tomavistas, they had their latest album (The Blue Hour, 2018) but now the 25th anniversary of his album Coming Up is also being celebrated. For his part, Jarvis Cocker, who has stepped on the fair and minimum stages of the Spanish capital, will use the Tomavistas to give his only concert under this new proposal of his post-Pulp solo career that is Jarv Is… (the ellipses belong to the name), and with which he recorded an album in 2020.
Other names that stand out on the bill are Slowdive, a group that forged the shoegaze sound in the 90s and is now a benchmark for many current groups; or the great moment that Jungle will bring to the dance floor, officially presenting their album from last year. Rigoberta BandiniSen Senra, Carolina Durante, Alizzz, Kings of Convenience, DearCupid, putochinomaricónVVV [Tripping' You], Biznaga o Confetti de Odio are also part of the event, which hosts a large presence of Spanish groups.
"Festivals have to evolve in some way and, in addition to extending schedules and giving the public more fluidity to move around, there is also the issue of hiring artists," says Gallardo about an event that in 2019 brought together 7,000 people and which for this year has all tickets sold, although single day tickets can still be purchased. The co-director thinks about the future and knows that, in order to continue improving the poster in the years to come, it has to be done step by step.
Live entertainment companies make up one of the sectors that have suffered the most from the consequences of the restrictions. The turnover of the live music industry in Spain from ticket sales fell by 63.78% in 2020, according to the latest data from the Association of Music Promoters, and the consequences of the break will continue to be seen in successive years.
José Gallardo explains that Tomavistas survived the pandemic by "reinventing" itself: "We needed the company to stay active and, as soon as we saw the opportunity to hold profitable events that made sense, that could be enjoyed with people sitting, distance social, masks... we did it." In this way, even if the big event could not take place, the company could continue with activity and compensate for the economic losses of the cancellation. Thus, they were able to schedule eight concerts in the park where the festival had been held, with seats sold out. "Everyone was pitching in and there was some solidarity, there wasn't too much spending, and the impact of the pandemic wasn't as big as it could have been," he adds.
The director admits that his two inspirational festivals have been the FIB and Paredes de Coura, in Portugal. Two appointments that take place far from big cities. But holding a festival in Madrid is a challenge and recent history shows that maintaining continuity is not easy. "In Madrid you have to attract people, do something very special and differentiated so that people move", admits the director of Tomavistas. "Here you do something and ask yourself: where are the people? Because it is the most populous city in Spain. But in Madrid it is seen as more attractive to travel to another city to see a festival and that has always been the great workhorse, convince the local public to come to the festival," he explains. This year, Tomavistas, which attracts quite a few people from outside Madrid, has achieved its record number of international visitors, due to the data they already have on advance sales.
"We have found our niche, we are there", concludes the director just two days before the start of the sixth edition.