In pics: Concerts and catwalks return to Venezuela, but only for those with cash

Updated: Jun 14, 2022, 04:00 PM(IST)

Venezuelan pop and reggaeton fans able to pay the equivalent of the country's monthly minimum wage for a concert ticket are filling venues for the first time in over seven years to see their favorite national and international artists.

A partial easing of economic woes in the country, which remains marked by extreme inequalities, has encouraged the return of music events in Caracas and other cities.

Why were no concerts and catwalks organised in Venezuela for a long period of time?

"Many artists decided not to come to Venezuela for years", said Felix Colmenares, an event producer, noting many of his peers left the country amid an ongoing exodus which has seen six million Venezuelans migrate since 2015.

The country was and is still struggling with low industrial production, deteriorating transportation services and a healthcare crisis, according to economists and hence the concerts, fashion shows, etc. even stopped happening.


Recent concerts in Venezuela

People attend an urban music festival housed in the open parking lot of a shopping center in Caracas, Venezuela June 4, 2022.

Since March, singers such as the Dominican Republic's Natti Natasha, the Colombian band Morat and vocal group Il Divo have performed in venues around the country.

The events, mostly accommodating just a few thousand spectators, have tended to sell out, including an urban music festival that took place earlier this month in the parking lot of a Caracas shopping center. 


What is the cost of a ticket?

Given concert tickets cost from around 30 dollars - roughly equivalent to the country's monthly minimum wage - up to 500 dollar.  

Access is still limited to a tiny minority, with inflation and dollarization accentuating wage gaps. 

"This is for people who really can manage it, for whom it's not so hard to pull together a little more money", said Camila Oliveros, a 19-year-old nursing student. "Not everyone can make it because many people work, work, work and every bit they make is just to eat".


One of the recent signs of a superficial improvement in Venezuela's economy

The thriving concert scene is one of several recent signs of a superficial improvement in Venezuela's economy since the relaxation of currency controls in 2019 and broader adoption of the US dollar, allowing the emergence of more high-end restaurants, cafes and even casinos, which were legalized in 2020.

A local fashion week even resumed at the end of April inside a luxury hotel in Valencia, the capital of the central state of Carabobo, showcasing 27 home grow designers creations from gala to casual wear in an effort to revive the country's struggling textile industry.


Current situation in Venezuela

The situation has eased out a bit but the country is still struggling with low industrial production, deteriorating transportation services and a healthcare crisis, according to economists.

Inequality has worsened, with the income of the richest fifth of the population increasing last year to 46 times that of the poorest fifth, doubling the gap recorded in 2020, according to calculations by the local firm Anova Policy. It also noted a lumpy recovery in consumption across different segments of the population.

Nearly two-thirds of households report a deterioration in electricity and water supplies, according to local observatory group, and companies are operating at 28 per cent capacity, according to industry group Conindustria.

The public health sector is perhaps where the situation is most stark.

Purchases of cars and trucks abroad increased 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 versus the same period a year earlier, according to industry estimates.


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