For several weeks now, Colombia has been abuzz with the rumor that megaband U2 will perform in Bogota, but all that depends on whether the Mayor permits them to use El Campin stadium.
The Irish rock group’s 360 Tour features an innovative stage designed to allow clear unhindered views from anywhere in the stadium.
Designed for arenas, U2’s stage has a structure rising 50 metres from the ground so that it can be seen from everywhere. The lighting system also has 360-degree mobility. To transport all the equipment, 30 trucks are needed. The band always travels will all of their own equipment.
“The size, the extent [of the stage] is necessary so that everyone will be able to see from wherever they are. That permits the energy not just to go from the stage forward to the people but to circulate everywhere,” said Bono, as reported by Terra Musica.
Mexican production company CIE Ocesa is negotating with Bogota’s mayor regarding an appropriate space for the concert spectacular. They require the El Campin stadium – the only venue in the city that provides a circular stage – at which to set up U2’s custom-made 360-degree stage, but Mayor Samuel Moreno is resisting.
Mayor Moreno says that though the idea of using El Campin for concerts is “lovely”, it is not possible. A 2008 study of the terrain showed that large-scale events adversely affected the grass. Even when the grass was protected with a special mat, the then-director of the District Institute of Recreation and Sport, Jose Tapias, said that after the show the grass would have to be reseeded and regraded, at high cost. 300 billion pesos (approximately $USD150 million) have already been spent maintaining El Campin’s grass.
As an alternative, the Mayor is suggesting Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park, which he believes has the capacity (80 thousand, as opposed to El Campin’s 30 thousand) and space required for the production.
“The show is a production made for stadiums. A scenario like the Simón Bolívar park does not work,” replied Jordi Puig, the Ocesa spokesman.
Other major bands that have performed in Bogota, such as Kiss and Iron Maider, have had no problem with the Simon Bolivar park. However, the park does not meet all the requirements for a large-scale show, and other stadiums in the city such as El Campin and the Palace of Sports, are only available for sporting events.
The Mexican production company has already completed all requested documentation, including a report from the District Department of Environment, which confirms that the concert would not affect a water body or wetland. However, they seem to be locked in a stalemate.
Ocesa representatives will arrive in Bogota next week to meet with the current director of the District Institute of Recreation and Sport, Ana Camacho, to determine whether there is a final decision on the matter.
If the use of El Campin is denied, then it is very possible that U2 will be unable to perform in Colombia’s capital, a huge blow to fans.
“Given the current conditions in the capital, it does not seem likely that we will be able to bring the show to Bogota,” rued Puig.