The “lie” of La Ciudad de la Musica in Villaverde: from the cultural promises of Villaverde to the chaos of Mad Cool

“They are a hoax, but no wonder. We knew they were selling us motorcycles.” This is how Zema, one of the spokespeople for the Stop Mad Cool Villaverde platform, summarizes how one of the great cultural projects of José Luis Martínez-Almeida’s first term as councilor has been realized in this district south of Madrid . : La Music City.

Facua asked the Madrid City Council to block the project of the venue in Villaverde where Mad Cool was held


However, an initiative that had as a great supporter the former vice mayor Begona Vilassis. It was July 2022 and the final edition of Mad Cool had just finished, which would end their stage at Valdebebas. Vilaseños then announced its relocation to a new festival venue in Villaverde, which would serve as a launching pad for more profound transformation in the area thanks to a series of cultural and educational facilities incorporated into this fictional city of music.

At the time the former mayor of the council explained, “We have been working for some time with an innovative project to house a new hub for the accumulation of talent, economy and creativity around music production.” It did not take long for the first denunciations to appear because of the apparent inspiration in Manuela Carmena’s previous vision of the executive, which was designed for the same place under the name of La Ciudad del Sonido.

From inspiration to silence in Carmena

But a growing chasm opened up between the two initiatives. As told to, Guillermo Zapata, former councilor of Ahora Madrid and ideologue of La Ciudad del Sonido, intended it to carry out a triple function: “a rehearsal and recording venue and a place for concerts.” The intention was to “promote an entire circuit so that the kids in the district would have a public infrastructure to record their music.” He described Villaverde as a district where “a lot of groups make a living recording and teaching what they do, not everywhere they need to invest so much in resources and support.”

In statements to this medium, sources in the Alameda executive linked Music City to the music production and sound engineering degree of Carlos III University, the closest to which they will hand over part of the public land. They will also make them accessible to “companies interested in investing in Madrid and bringing their workplaces around music production”. Thus, it didn’t take long to reduce these similarities between the two ideas to one, most important, yes: they were abandoned.

13 months after its announcement, and after Ciudadanos’ exit from municipal government, nothing is known about these contacts to shape the new City of Music. This newspaper has tried to contact the Madrid City Council to find out the status of all those initiatives, but has not yet received a response.

walled city

Thus, after a year, there is no sign of agreement with universities or companies. In fact, organizational anarchy has arisen since the plan took shape. A 185,000 m² plot of land at the southern end of Villaverde, more than a kilometer from the nearest metro or Cercanías stop, surrounded by highways (such as the M-45 at its southern end) and Until recently this area was wheat fields. The location of the festival venue drew the ire of neighbors even before its first event, right Mad Cool. In addition to the noise and filth common in these cases, there were significant problems with access to the place.

The City Council hasn’t said a word to us about Music City since September. It is clear that this is a lie through which they were trying to create a place of celebration and trying to sell it all very well

“We are very concerned about mobility. Almost the entire road around Marconi is one lane, there are many turns and only two accesses will be enabled. If 10,000 or 20,000 cars enter here, there will be tremendous devastation. The area is not ready”, warned Gema in a conversation with Somos Madrid shortly before a demonstration in the neighborhood.

Eventually during Mad Cool and during the Harry Styles concert, the predictions came true. There were no more events: the Reggaeton Beach Festival was canceled the day before it was due to start, after the Alameda government did not grant a license due to a lack of confidence in its mobility plan. For its part, the Coca Cola Music Festival, scheduled for the first weekend of September, announced its relocation to Caja Magica.

The situation has reached such an extreme that there is “a strange paradox”, as Gemma admits: at least for now the neighbors are fighting only to return to their previous status quo. While there is no news of some of the services promising to revitalize culturally, socially and economically Madrid’s second most deprived district, the struggles of the residents of Colonia Marconi and Villaverde Alto (also in Getafe Norte) are being cited as pressing aspects. As much as their comfort and safety.

A fight that doesn’t stop. Not surprisingly, despite the disaster at the Mad Cool and Harry Styles concert, the economic viability of what is now known as the Iberdrola music venue was strengthened in June when Mahou San Miguel bought 51% of the company that manages it. was acquired, with the aim to complete the project next year. “We remain very cautious that activity does not return after the summer or in 2024,” warns Gemma. Recall Fesua’s recent statement warning of the “impracticability” of space and demanding the Sibels government to stop it immediately. The Association in Defense of Consumer Rights alleges that this led to mobility and communication problems faced by people participating in events, neighbors and workers of the industrial estate with which the plots are connected.

Gemma criticizes the lack of understanding with the affected neighborhoods throughout the process: “The City Council hasn’t said a word to us about La Ciudad de la Musica since September, and at that time they didn’t give us any specific details. Had given. It is clear that this is a lie with which they were trying to create a place of celebration and sell every good thing.

Some of the endowment was lost in a drawer of eternal promises, while many parents in the area demanded “more culture and less trash” in a march against Iberdrola Music. Raquel, a resident of Colonia Marconi, who attended the protest with her son, explained it this way: “We need culture and many things for young children and young people, but not this venue. That our children may go out with respectable leisure.

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