Starlite Festival – Europe’s best boutique music festival – brings a stellar line-up of diverse talent to Marbella this summer. Giles Brown, BRIGHT’s man with the backstage pass, selects his pick of the artists appearing this summer.
It is 10 years since Starlite first opened its doors in the abandoned quarry in the side of La Concha mountain overlooking Marbella. Although the grandly named ‘Auditorio de Marbella’ had hosted a classical concert in 1983, featuring tenors Jose Careras and Placido Domingo, since then the site had fallen into disrepair.
Starlite, or to give it its full title – the Starlite Catalana Occidente – revitalised the venue and was an immediate success, widely recognised as one of the most important tourism events on the Costa del Sol. Since then, it has welcomed a series of legendary performers including George Benson (who played the first night), Julio and Enrique Iglesias, Carlos Santana, Lenny Kravitz and Paco de Lucia, in one of his last performances.
A decade later, the Starlite continues to bring in the big names. Highlights this summer include…
Diana Ross – July 6
The term ‘icon’ is used too frequently, but aptly describes Diana Ross. Since she burst onto the Motown Music scene with The Supremes in the 60s, Diana Ross has enjoyed a spectacular career over the subsequent decades. Hits including ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’, ‘Touch me in the morning’ and ‘Endless love’ are perennial favourites, with styles including Pop, R&B, Disco and Soul.
Her latest album ‘Thank You’ is her first album of unreleased songs in two decades and the 25th of an incredible career. Expect a Marbella musical masterclass as Diana rolls back the years!
Nile Rodgers & CHIC – July 19
Playing Starlite for the first time this year, Nile Rodgers needs no introduction. A multiple GRAMMY-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist, as the co-founder of CHIC, Rodgers was behind chart-topping hits like “Le Freak”, and “Good Times”, as well as writing and producing albums for David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Madonna. Not content to rest on his laurels, Nile continues to wow crowds with his live shows as well as contribute to innovative, trendsetting collaborations with artists including Daft Punk, Avicii, and Sam Smith.
Maluma – July 20
Colombian superstar Maluma has dominated the Latin urban music scene since his debut album ‘Magia’ in 2011. With countless awards in the music industry, his last album “Papi Juancho”, had a huge impact with songs like “Hawaii”, “Parce” or “Madrid”. Show casing his latest project, “The Love & Sex Tape”, look out for a sultry and sensuous set from the hottest star this summer!
Jessie J – July 22
British power pop returns to the festival on July 22 when Jessie J takes to the stage. Massive hits such as ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Price Tag’, are always crowd favourites, with the later reaching No 1 in 18 countries and going quadruple platinum. 2018’s ‘ROSE’ album marked a change of direction that was welcomed by her loyal fans and this year saw the release of the first single, ‘I Want Love’, from her new project, produced by Ryan Tedder. Expect a lot of girl power attitude and a powerful performance!
Christina Aguilera – July 25
The American singer and songwriter returns to Spain after an 18-year absence. With sales of more than 43 million worldwide, the Marbella show will see Christina exploring her Latin roots with material taken from her latest album, ‘La Fuerza’, sung entirely in Spanish.
Known for her powerful voice and hit songs, Aguilera has scored five No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her only the fourth female artist to reach the top spot in three consecutive decades (’90s, ’00s and ’10s). Christina has also won six Grammy Awards, including a Latin Grammy, making her the first American to win the award, due to her Ecuadorian ancestry.
Plácido Domingo – August 11
Singer and conductor, tenor and baritone, multifaceted artist with more than 150 roles, acclaimed by the public on stages all over the world, living legend Plácido Domingo returns to Starlite. In one of the most eagerly awaited performances of the festival, Domingo will be joined by renowned soprano Ainhoa Arteta. As one of the Three Tenors, along with Carreras and Pavarotti, Domingo brought opera to a worldwide audience, and he continues to enjoy his status as World Ambassador of Spanish culture.
Andrea Bocelli – August 15
Céline Dion once said, “If God could sing, he would sound like Andrea Bocelli”, and the superstar Italian tenor returns to Starlite in August. Perhaps the best-known classical singer in the world, Bocelli is set to perform some of his most famous global hits along with classic operatic arias. Previous appearances at Starlite were memorable for Bocelli’s astonishing voice, which worked in perfect harmony with the acoustics of the venue. Beg, borrow, or sell a major organ to get a ticket for this one!
Sara Baras – August 16
Spanish dance star Sara Baras returns to Starlite to present her flamenco show ‘Alma’. Combining flamenco and bolero through contemporary and traditional music, ‘Alma’ has been described as a different and singular creation that explores traditional sounds from a completely new perspective.
Internationally recognised as one of the most important and influential dancers, directors, and choreographers in Spain, Sara Baras’s performance on an August Andalusian evening is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer.
For a full list of performers at this year’s festival, visit the Starlite website.