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The Uncertain Future of Contrast Mallorca: Lack of Institutional Support Raises Concerns

In the last plenary session of the city council, Culture Councilor Javier Bonet was asked about the continuity of Contrast Mallorca, a cycle that has been held since 2020 in Bellver and the municipal theaters of Palma. There was no answer.

Maybe he didn’t know its existence or he missed it, given that the question was part of a series of questions.

Let’s remember, when did Contrast Mallorca start and what milestones has it achieved?

It started in December 2020, with the pandemic, and started with Jesse Malin, who was the first American artist to play in Spain with Covid involved. From the consulate they gave him a special visa to enter the country since the borders were closed. Then Nina Persson (The Cardigans) would arrive, with a concert that she will remember for her entire life, as she commented from the stage; Vernon Reid, Living Colour; Blondie’s Clem Burke; Sophie Auster…

As a promoter his career goes back a long way.

My career in the musical world began with Marky Ramone, the drummer of the Ramones, in 2006, on the 30th anniversary tour of the band’s first album. We were working together all over the world for 13 years. I also have very fond memories of working with The Coup, current film director Boots Riley’s group.

Surviving a Ramone. Has there been any sequel?

Marky has been the best teacher I have ever had, not only musically but also business-wise. He brought him to Mallorca three times, not counting his private visits.

The ‘playlist’ of… David Riu

The Ramones looked like difficult guys, without mincing words.

I understand that that look, the one with the leather and those characteristic hairstyles, can give an image of tough and cold guys. With me, Marky has always been very nice, very empathetic and fun. When they gave the Ramones a Grammy, he invited my wife and me to the ceremony in Los Angeles. Ramones is the most professional group I have ever met.

Professionalism can clash with the idea that institutions have of culture, always treated as Cinderella.

A decent production requires a lot of prior work and knowing what you are going to count on and what you are not going to have. For Sophie Auster, in the end, there was no money to even rent the instruments, a guitar and a piano, something they did do in Malaga. Everything came out of my pocket.

Has the new PP government been interested in your cycle?

With the change of government I spoke with them, with Gómez de la Cuesta and Rafel Brunet, about the continuity of the Contrast. They told me they were aware and found it interesting. At first everything was going very well. However, when it came time to move forward, they assured me that there was no money.

Has Contrast Mallorca always needed subsidies to survive?

To maintain the essence of Contrast, that is, programming top-level international artists in places other than where they usually play, as Mando Diao did at the Xesc Forteza, is not feasible with only the tickets that can be sold. By the way, they sold out almost a month before, with audiences coming from all over Europe, for whom it was a luxury to see them in a space of less than 400 people. That of Contrast was a public-private collaboration since it had a point of cultural promotion of Palma and Mallorca, in which private companies were also involved. As the artists came for exclusive performances, not being on tour, they took the opportunity to spend a few days in Palma and visit spaces like the Miró, as did Clem Burke from Blondie.

Out of curiosity, where was Sophie Auster?

I enjoyed the local cuisine, a sea bream with salt, had dinner at the Maca de Castro restaurant, drank and searched for vinyl at La Viniloteca, visited the Cathedral and walked through the old town of Palma.

David Riu, music promoter Gabi Rodas

To the point, will Mallorca continue to have its Contrast or will the cycle stay with only one venue, that of Ibiza?

As of today, as things stand there will be no more Contrast Mallorca. The cycle disappears from the island due to lack of institutional interest. I don’t criticize them either, if they have a cultural line in which Contrast does not fit, then that is their decision. From the Consell they don’t even answer me. I had signed a contract with a group at the level of Mando Diao for the Xesc Forteza on December 9 and waiting for a response that never came, I had to cancel it.

Have you thought about offering the cycle to other municipalities in Mallorca?

Although born in Manresa, I consider myself from Palma and I have fought until the end to maintain Contrast in this city. Now that I have thrown in the towel I have to reflect and decide where we are going.

2023-10-30 00:16:28
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