On Thursday, August 27th, Les Roches Marbella students were invited to a unique behind-the-scenes look at how Marbella’s annual Starlite Festival is run. The festival’s organizers, Sandra García-Sanjuán and Ignacio Maluquer, were on hand to explain how this month-long event came to be and spoke about the hard work that is involved in making the venue an ongoing international success.
Upon arriving at this former stone quarry, nestled inconspicuously in Marbella’s La Concha Mountain, it becomes apparent that this is a one-of-a-kind venue. Not only is it Spain’s longest running annual festival (from July 23rd to August 24th), its unique location and intimate setting also attracts top performing artists from around the world. This year’s ticket features the likes of Jamie Cullum, Bryan Adams, David Bisbal, UB40 and Enrique Iglesias just to name a few.
In between weekly concerts under the stars, Malaga born actor, Antonio Banderas, hosts a star-studded benefit gala and top DJs perform for multitudes of partygoers in the festival’s open-air night club. Throw in a selection of Marbella’s finest restaurants and bars who are on hand to serve up delightful summer dishes, and you have the making of a true 5-star hospitality experience.
To put such a clockwork operation into motion requires a great deal of planning, organization, marketing, and dedicated teamwork. Top-notch service is paramount in all aspects; from guests to performers alike. To see the Starlite Festival in action sheds light on the skills and attention to detail that we stress while training our students at Les Roches Marbella. Any successful event of this scale starts with thorough planning and the operation they have put together at Starlite serves as the perfect example of how successful event management is executed to the letter.
While touring the festival’s impressive facilities, students learned not only about the operational side but also were given a bit of historical insight about how this rugged mountain venue came to fruition. In retrospect, Starlite has been in the making for over thirty years, since Marbella hotelier, Prínce Alfonso von Hohenlohe and singers Julio Iglesias and Plácido Domingo came together to organize a one of a kind concert in what was at the time an abandoned stone quarry above Marbella’s luxurious residential neighborhoods. In 1983 Placido Domingo performed in this naturally formed amphitheater with stone walls soaring over sixty meters into the sky. The concert was a huge success but until recently the organizational efforts waned and the venue sat idle for nearly thirty years. That is until Sandra García-Sanjuán and Ignacio Maluquer brought it to life in 2012 with the first edition of Starlite Festival.
During the tour Ms. García-Sanjuán highlighted the impact the month-long fesitval has had on the local economy, especially in the creation of jobs and added tourism revenue. In 2012 the event generated more than 300 jobs directly and brought the local economy an additional 25 million euros through an increase in hotel stays,shopping and dining during Marbella’s peak holiday season.
After touring the venue, Les Roches Marbella’s Hospitality Management students were able to see how this rustic mountain location has been transformed into a highly successful luxury red carpet venue in only two short years. Meanwhile, they also witnessed how an entrepreneurial vision is brought to life through persistance, planning and a desire to make a difference.