Lenny Kravitz, Enrique Iglesias, Antonio Banderas Set for Marbella's Starlite Festival

Courtesy of Starlite
Enrique Iglesias at Marbella's Starlite Festival in 2013.

The Village People and Lionel Richie will also play two of the 22 cozy concerts as part of the event in the city in Southern Spain that also hosts the "Latin Oscars" this year.

The star-studded Starlite festival in Marbella in Southern Spain kicks off its month-long string of intimate concerts by international artists this weekend with an expanded program that includes 22 concerts, the "Latin Oscars" and Spain’s most important benefit dinner, co-hosted by Antonio Banderas.

Among this year's big names coming to Marbella for the event's fourth edition are Lenny Kravitz, Enrique Iglesias and Lionel Richie.

While Spain is ripe with summer festivals, Starlite has made a name for itself after just three edition,s thanks to its star power and the economic impact it makes. More than 100,000 people attend the event every year and the clientele is a more upscale, forty-something audience. Each edition accounts for some $65 million(€60 million) in local spending, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit.

Kravitz will play the first concert on Tuesday in the natural, open-air, high-walled amphitheater that seats only 2,400 people, with the furthest seat less than 15 yards from the small stage.

Julio Iglesias, a regular at the event, returns this year, as does his son Enrique, to offer his only concert in Spain at what he calls “one of the best festivals in Europe.” Others scheduled to perform include the Village People, Laura Pausini, Placido Domingo, former Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson and flamenco dancer Sara Baras.

“Starlite is almost an addiction. Once you live it, you want to come back,” Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz has said of the event where he will sing Aug. 20. "The atmosphere is great. The acoustics are extraordinary, you are very close to the audience and the surroundings are amazing."

The program kicks off Saturday night with the Platino Ibero-American Film Awards, which join together film academies from 23 Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, plus Spain, Brazil and Portugal. The gala, known as the Latin Oscars, is broadcast in 50 countries and brings together heavyweights from the respective industries.

The fact that the lineup includes the awards ceremony, which was held in Panama last year, speaks also to Antonio Banderas’ involvement in Starlite, which takes place in his hometown.

Banderas, along with Starlite founder Sandra Garcia-Sanjuan, hosts one evening in the month-long festival devoted to philanthropy. This year’s benefit Starlite Gala falls on Aug. 9, the eve of Banderas’ birthday, which will be celebrated at midnight.

The Starlite Gala has become Spain’s premiere benefit event, raising some $1.58 million (€1.45 million) last year, with the money raised going to 12 different foundations. Part of what makes it so special is the fact that stars are there as attendees, not just performers.

"At Starlite, stars are not only up on stage, but also among the people, having a drink, dancing or dining and enjoying this unique experience," says Garcia-Sanjuan. "Also, the closeness of the stars is unique. During the concerts and due to the limited seating of 2,400, the audience lives a special experience by enjoying a real connection with the star. The closest seat is just two meters away from the artist."

The festival runs July 18-Aug. 22, closing with Andrea Bocelli’s only concert in Spain this year.

 

 

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