Face-to-face concerts are back: the cultural reactivation that could have been done before and better

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Fingers are missing to count the times it has played –in its almost three decades of experience– in the amphitheater of the Parque de la Exposición. Always full. Always boisterous. Always live. It has been more than a year since they last stepped on a stage, the audience chanted their songs and they were rewarded with applause. The atmosphere of the amphitheater, where it will be their first face-to-face event, looks (and they feel) different: imposing, nostalgic. Its composer, singer and guitarist Manolo Barrios still has a hard time believing that finally the , which they had been planning since the end of 2020, is a few weeks away. “I know it’s going to happen, but until I’m standing still playing in front of people, I’m not going to believe it.”, he admits, moved and incredulous.

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The pandemic has undoubtedly highlighted the need and importance of the arts: in the most rigid months, it was our only escape and comfort. Despite this, the artists were at the end of the reactivation plan (the performing arts protocol had been approved since the end of last year and a pilot was scheduled to be carried out in January, but the second wave changed the plans), and that it hurts the guild. “We saw that the shopping centers, restaurants were reactivated and we said ‘why not us’. Along with theater, dance, and cinemas, we felt at the end of the queue. We are used to being there. Now, it is difficult to criticize the Government in such a difficult situation, but [la reactivación cultural] could have been done better”, Reflects Manolo.

(From left to right) Manolo Barrios, César Zamalloa, Luis 'Wicho' García, Eduardo 'Toto' Leverone and Phoebe Condos used to have 65 concerts a year. The pandemic not only reduced them to zero, but also put Mar de Copas's new album on hold (they hope to release it by the end of the year). They met again in September 2020 for the virtual concerts. Next September 10 it will finally be held with its public. (Photo: Karen Zárate / Somos)
(From left to right) Manolo Barrios, César Zamalloa, Luis ‘Wicho’ García, Eduardo ‘Toto’ Leverone and Phoebe Condos used to have 65 concerts a year. The pandemic not only reduced them to zero, but also put Mar de Copas’s new album on hold (they hope to release it by the end of the year). They met again in September 2020 for the virtual concerts. Next September 10 it will finally be held with its public. (Photo: Karen Zárate / Somos)

That perception seems to be far from changing, even more so with the appointment of Ciro Gálvez in the Ministry of Culture because “there are no expectations.” Although the central problem, at least for Barrios, is another. “Culture, like sports and education, is a way of making a country. In the elections, the candidates’ government programs in terms of culture were lousy. There are neighboring countries, whether with a government of the right or the left, that do not abandon the country project. Sports and the arts are flagship. Political reforms are needed to get there, but we’re a long way off”.

In the revival of art, the public space also plays a key role. For the multi-instrumentalist Lucho Quequezana, in countries that have a strong cultural industry “public spaces are used for people to enjoy and, above all, learn”. The first example that comes to mind is what they do in Montreal, Canada: a year there are more than 300 festivals (musical, theater and dance) in the streets. “Municipalities can have seasons like this. If you can go to a mall, why can’t you go to a park to listen to something. The pandemic has reflected many problems, but this should have been thought long before. Cultural industries must be part of the citizen. That would help the artists a lot, the technical team that works with them and the entire production chain behind”.

Attendees must comply with the measures established by the organization of the event (temperature control, use of a double mask, face shield, physical distancing, hand washing with soap and water and / or disinfection). For performing arts activities, closed venues must have a capacity limited to 40%; open spaces, capacity limited to 60%. (Photo: Ministry of Culture)
Attendees must comply with the measures established by the organization of the event (temperature control, use of a double mask, face shield, physical distancing, hand washing with soap and water and / or disinfection). For performing arts activities, closed venues must have a capacity limited to 40%; open spaces, capacity limited to 60%. (Photo: Ministry of Culture)

It is this last premise, Manolo asks that the State take into account: music, despite the absent Peruvian cultural industry, is a business. “It employs a lot of people. We played 65 concerts per year, of which 20 or 30 were festivals for thousands of people who employ others. In the pandemic, musicians had nothing to live on. We have managed it because we had to pay for the boys’ school or the food at home, despite the fear of contagion”.

Now, not everything is negative. Something to rescue is that the audience has learned to value (more) the Peruvian artist. It has been evidenced last July, when Corazón Serrano, Río, Libido, Armonía 10, La Lá and Mauricio Mesones, to name a few, have reunited with their audience. Mar de Copas is counting the days to “see his family again.” “There will be a very secure protocol, with capacity allowed. The public of Mar de Copas has always been close. The concert it will be very emotional, without a doubt”, Manolo advances. A reunion that promises. //

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MORE CONCERTS

Corazón Serrano, Hermanos Yaipén, Líbido, Tony Rosado, ZEN, Mauricio Mesones, 6 Voltios, Bareto, We The Lion and Pedro Suarez Vertiz the band at the Reactívate 2 festival on Saturday, September 4 at Arena Perú (next to Jockey Plaza ). Tickets on sale at

‘Mar de Copas – We meet again’ will be held on September 10 from 7 pm in the amphitheater of the Exhibition Park. The capacity is 2,000 people (50%). Tickets from S / 79 in

The national group Chaivers will perform on Saturday, September 11 at La Cúpula de Las Artes, in the Jockey Plaza (entrance through Manuel Olguín’s door). Tickets on sale at from S / 30.

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