Marbella - Starlite Festival

Starlite Festival - Marbella

The Starlite Festival is a month-long music and cultural event held in July / August at the Cantera de Nagüeles, in Marbella. It is now established as one of the important annual social and entertainment events in Spain.

© Michelle Chaplow A spectator reflects the name of the festival with her dress.
Star-themed fashion at the Starlite Festival.

The stage is surrounded by 60 metre-high rock walls, which creates an interesting, intimate atmosphere, like a secret, hidden venue beneath the stars for the 2,200 guests. Access is slightly complicated, but worth the effort. Except for VIPs, cars need to be parked a mile away and minibuses shuttle guests up and down the hill.

The festival set is slightly different every year and has to be reconstructed each season. It is impressive, logistically, to appreciate that everything down to the last bottle of water, in this glamorous lounge and concert venue, has to be brought up the hill to the former quarry. In the main auditorium, VIP attendees sit in "Bubble Boxes" (eight-seater boxes) behind and elevated above the 15 rows of stalls and where waiters serve drinks during the concerts.

STARLITE FESTIVAL 2018

Starlite Festival 2018 will be held at the Cantera de Nagüeles, Marbella.  The Starlite Festival 2018 will run from 11th July to 25th August 2018.

Sting at Starlite Marbella Sting in Marbella

Sting in Starlite Marbella on Thursday 19th July 2018. Doors open 20:30 hrs and the concert begins at 22:30.

James Blunt at Starlite Marbella James Blunt in Marbella

James Blunt in Starlite Marbella on Friday 3rd August 2018. Doors open 20:30 hrs and the concert begins at 22:30.

Pet Shop Boys Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys at Starlite Marbella on Wednesday 18th July 2018. Doors open 20:30 hrs and the concert begins at 22:30

Jamiroquai Jamiroquai

Jamiroquai at Starlite Marbella on Sunday 22nd July 2018. Doors open 20:30 hrs and the concert begins at 22:30

Steven Tyler Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler at Starlite Marbella on Thursday 2nd August 2018. Doors open 20:30 hrs and the concert begins at 22:30

 

Artists confirmed are:

Luis Miguel;   Wed 11th July 2018, Buy Tickets

Rosario and Rosana;   Fri 13th July 2018, Buy Tickets

Charles Aznavour;   Sat 14th July 2018, (Cancelled) 

Pet Shop Boys    Wed 18th July 2018, Buy Tickets.

Sting;   Thur 19th July 2018, Buy Tickets

David Bispal;   Fri 20th July 2018, Buy Tickets

Jamiroquai;   Sun 22nd July 2018, Buy Tickets

Miguel Poveda;   Fri 27th July 2018, Buy Tickets

IL Divo:    Sat 28th July 2018, Buy Tickets

Romeo Santos;   Tue 31st July 2018, Buy Tickets

Pablo Alboran;     Wed 1st August 2018, Buy Tickets

Steven Tyler;     Thur 2nd August 2018, Buy Tickets

James Blunt;   Fri 3rd August 2018, Buy Tickets

Pablo Lopez;     Sat 4th August 2018, Buy Tickets

Cantajuego;     Tue 7th August 2018, Buy Tickets

Joan Manuel Serat;     Wed 8th August 2018, Buy Tickets

Sara Baras;    11th August 2018, Buy Tickets.

Jorge Blass;    Mon 13th August 2018, Buy Tickets

Texas;    Tue 14th August 2018, Buy Tickets

Taburete;    15th August 2018, Buy Tickets.

Estopia;    21th August 2018, Buy Tickets

Miguel Rios;    23th August 2018, Buy Tickets.

 

History

The first use of the former quarry site, situated above Marbella, was in 1983. Alfonso Hohenlohe, who founded the Marbella Club Hotel, and singers Julio Iglesias and Plácido Domingo, decided to create the Auditorio de Marbella open-air auditorium, and to found an internationally-renowned music festival. They held a successful Tenors concert, however the annual festival didn't happen, and the venue was left abandoned for nearly 30 years. In 2012 the quarry site was cleaned up and a new auditorium constructed for the inaugural Starlite Festival. I has been held annualy since and grown to become on of Spain's leading music festivals. Over the years Enrique Iglesias, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli, Ricky Martin, Tom Jones, Pet Shop Boys, Alejandro Sanz, Eros Ramazzotti, Luis Fonsi, Plácido Domingo and Anastacia have all played. The 2017 edition was overshadowed by a  late license dispute with the Marbella town Hall, and 'Marbella' was removed from the starlite Festival name and logo. 

A parallel event, the Starlite Gala, a star-studded charity concert and dinner which started in 2010, usually takes place on second Saturday in August, and is led by Antonio Banderas

Buena Vista Social Club at Starlite Festival 2013. ©Michelle Chaplow
Buena Vista Social Club at Starlite Festival 2013.

Starlight Lounge

The impressive lounge has a mix of general seating and several drinks brand-sponsored cocktail bar areas serving pre-concert drinks. The Starlite Lounge opens at 20.00, and the carefully-designed lighting comes into maximum effect as the sun sets. Entrance before midnight is free.

On concert nights, this area fills quickly to standing room only untill the concert starts at 22.30. There are several outlets, bars and other stalls selling sweets and costume jewellery. Access to Starlight Lounge is free from 20:00 to 24:00, except the nights when named artists are performing on the lounge stage.

The Starlite Festival also includes fashion shows, open-air film premier's, art exhibitions and nightclub events on nights when there is no concert. A number of smaller (and not too expensive) food stalls have also been added under the auditorium. The lounge has come a long way since 2012 when the catering was out of shipping containers, albeit chicly decorated ones.

Starlight SESIONS 

Starlight Sesions (called Starlight Nights in 2017 and prior to 2016 called Starlite Disco) starts in the lounge area at 22.30. Entrance was free before 24:00, 12€ from 24:00 to 03:00, and 20€ after 03:00 and included one drink. Entrance is free to those exiting the concert shortly after midnight; stopping at the disco is encouraged to disperse the 'rush hour' queue for the buses back down the hill to the car parking area. The lounge can be a good place to meet up with friends who have been to the concert. The Starlight Seshions (Nights) has its own headline events, fashion shows and top DJs. Starlite Nights closes at 06.00. All this information about Starlite Sesions (Nights) is from 2016, since mention was removed from the website in 2017. 

 

Starlight Auditorium Concerts

The 'Under the Stars' auditorium is divided into three areas: the stalls (platea), the boxes (palcos) and the grandstand (tribuna). Each of these is sub-divided; the stalls have a super premium area (centre front), premium (centre), platea (sides), and the boxes have Platinum, Gold and Silver, and the grandstand Tribune Club (front row centre), Tribune A (front), Tribune B (centre) and Tribune C (back).

STARLIGHT RESTAURANTS

In 2018 the unbranded restaurant features a gourmet market concept. Previous years reatured up to four different restaurants, one in each of the VIP areas around the Starlite Lounge, and each giving access to the VIP area of the same name for the five persons dining.  Table reservation vary in price according to the night but range from 250€ to 3500€. In 2017  LE CLUB tables were the most exclusive, LE PRIVEE was placed above the stage and dancing floor, LE PLUS was located on the other side of the stage, and LA RESERVE was a larger elevated area with best views of the entire ensemble.    In previous years the restaurants were run by famous restaurateurs such as MIL LUNAS BY MILLESIME (2015 & 2016) or Danni Garcia.  

VIP AREAS

There were VIP areas adjoining the lounge. In 2015 they were called  LE PRIVEE, is the liveliest VIP area and where the celebrities tend to go. Tables can be reserved for 4-6 people with a minimum consumption of 150€. Le Club is the most exclusive VIP zone and it where the clients of the concert boxes meet after the concert. Tables can be reserved for 4 persons with a 225€ minimum consumption. In 2016 Le Club was called The Stage where one could share the space with the DJs on the moonbeds (no sunshade  needed.)  

 

Starlite Festival is a major event in the Marbella cultural and social calendar. ©Michelle Chaplow
Starlite Festival is a major event in the Marbella cultural and social calendar.

ACCESS AND PARKING

From centre of Marbella, at Plaza Bocanegra near the Palacio de Congresos (Exhibition Centre), take Avenida Don Jaime de Mora, cross the motorway and turn into Avenida Buchinger, which becomes Avenida Albinoni. Keep going up, following the other cars, and look out for Starlight signs. On reaching the checkpoint you will be directed left into an unmade car park - the VIP area is first, and then the public car park. Don't wear your best shoes and have your mobile phone light or a torch ready, as you'll need them when you return to the unlit car park. Here is the location map of the car park that you have to drive to.

After parking the car, walk back (gently uphill) to the astroturf corridor entrance where a fleet of minibuses ferry the visitors one mile up the steep hill to about 50 steps which you have to climb to reach the Starlight entrance. There is a VIP car park near the venue and this is only available to those reserving a bubble box for the concerts or a table in the restaurant or lounge.  The entrance area is much enlarged and improved since the early years.  After midnight (Starlite Night guests), valet parking is available for 10€ which saves you getting the bus. Pay cash, card or online.

BUS SERVICE


From 13 July to 26 August 2017  starlite organised a bus service. In 2016 the bus service was from San Pedro Boulevard and Bus stop at entrance to Puerto Banus to Starlite festival, and another from Farmacia Berdaguer in central Marbella and Edificio Portillo and Piruli to starlite.   

All this sounds complicated to first-timers, but once in the venue you will see it was worth the effort. 

 

 

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